Changing Language Attitudes
The Stigmatisation of Khoekhoegowap in Namibia
Language attitudes are long-term phenomena that tend to become more specific over generations. The stigmatization of Khoekhoegowap in Namibia shows how negative images of minority languages are generated by external forces, but also how these forces may also be reinforced by corresponding internal forces. The case of Khoekhoegowap is examined on three levels: (1) the external level (how political doctrine may influence the observations of language planners), (2) the theoretical level (how language stigmatization and similar problems result from a wide variety of factors), and (3) the empirical level (how members of a speech community can intentionally create negative stereotypes of another language to destabilize the development of that language and reduce the status of its speakers in society, and how this, in turn, can become internalized and lead to language decline).
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