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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Trends in linguistic diversity in post-independence Windhoek: a qualitative appraisal
Author:Stell, GeraldISNI
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa (ISSN 1753-5395)
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:language usage
Afrikaans language
indigenous languages
English language
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10228195.2016.1229360
Abstract:This article provides a qualitative description of current patterns of linguistic diversity in Namibia's capital city, Windhoek, using as its main source of data perceptions elicited from an ethnically representative sample of Windhoek residents on language-related themes. The data suggest that the pre-independence diglossic pattern which involved Afrikaans as high-status language and ethnic indigenous languages as low-status languages is giving way to a triglossic pattern dominated by English - the country's only official language since 1990. Indigenous ethnic languages are still hardly used for inter-ethnic communication, which seems to be a correlate of 'hard' inter-ethnic boundaries inherited from apartheid. Instead, the dominant linguistic patterns of informal inter-ethnic communication in Windhoek rely either mostly on English, or on mixed linguistic repertoires combining 'Coloured Afrikaans' and English. Which of the two linguistic options dominates depends on the interactants' race, ethnicity, length of stay in Windhoek, and social networks. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]