Ethnic variation in the phonology of Namibian English
A first approach to Baster English
Studies on the pronunciation of Namibian English (NamE) have shown strong evidence for ethnically conditioned variation within the NamE vowel system. Thus, NamE should not be seen as a monolithic entity but rather as a group of ethnically and/or socially conditioned varieties. In this paper, we undertake a first approach to Baster English, a potential ethnic variety of NamE. The Rehoboth Basters constitute a unique ethnically mixed Afrikaans-speaking group from South Africa, who settled in Namibia in the 19th century and are known for their strong sense of a separate local and ethnic identity. Triangulating the results of a quantitative questionnaire on language attitudes and acoustic analyses of vocalic features in informants’ pronunciation, we demonstrate how the Basters’ unique identity translates into linguistic practice in a multi-ethnic and multilingual environment.
Keywords: World Englishes, Southern African Englishes, English in Namibia, Namibian English, ethnic variation, Baster English, Rehoboth Basters, phonetics, phonology, acoustic phonetics
Published online: 09 June 2020
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