Chapter published in:The Dynamics of English in Namibia: Perspectives on an emerging variety
Edited by Anne Schröder
[Varieties of English Around the World G65] 2021
► pp. 21–42
Chapter 2English in Namibia
A socio-historical account
This chapter provides a socio-historical account of the English language in Namibia from early colonial times to the present. Although its current dominant status in Namibia may at first sight appear historically incongruous, English was locally acknowledged as a prestige language along with Afrikaans and German from the earliest stages of the South African occupation (1915–1990), one with which SWAPO, the dominant liberation movement, as well as its populous northern support base, strongly identified. This chapter pays attention to the considerations that led to English becoming Namibia’s only official language upon independence. Furthermore, this chapter reviews indications that – despite the challenges besetting its implementation as medium of instruction – English is developing distinctively local spoken varieties.
Keywords: Namibian English, colonial language policy, language policy, multilingualism, nativization
- 2.Namibia’s sociolinguistic landscape from early colonial times to the transition period (1978): Early presence of English
- 3.The transition period and Namibia’s new English-only language policy
- 4.English in Namibia today
Published online: 10 September 2021
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