The founder principle and Namibian English

Gerald Stell

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


It is not clear which population group most qualifies as the ‘founders’ of Namibian English. While Namibia's historical Afrikaans-speaking settler population has a tradition of Afrikaans-English bilingualism, English as a lingua franca was first introduced after independence by returning Black Namibian exiles with mostly Oshiwambo as a first language. This study seeks to determine which ethnolinguistic group plays the largest part in shaping contemporary Namibian English. Based on phonetic and ethnographic data, the findings suggest a loosening continuum between a White variety aligned with South African models and more locally rooted varieties. This partly reflects local language ideologies, which among the Blacks involve the pursuit of a Namibian urban identity set against both Namibian Whiteness and traditional Namibian ethnicities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Englishes
Early online dateMay 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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