English in Namibia: A socio-historical account

Gerald Stell

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Dynamics of English in Namibia. Perspectives on an emerging variety
EditorsAnne Schroder
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789027259677
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Publication series

NameVarieties of English Around the World
ISSN (Print)0172-7362


  • Colonial language policy
  • Language policy
  • Multilingualism
  • Namibian English
  • Nativization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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