n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Language use and attitudes in Namibia -how do they contribute to identity-formation?

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



Since the implementation of English as the sole official language, a number of language attitude and usage studies have been conducted in Namibia. In the 1990s, Pütz revealed positive attitudes towards the English language; Afrikaans L1 speakers, however, mostly preferred their mother tongue, regarding it as more prestigious. All participants typically used English in formal and their home languages in informal situations. My empirical pilot studies (2010, 2013, 2015) showed nearly the same results as the pilot study by Buschfeld and Kautzsch (2014). They added an identity investigation, stating that most participants identify linguistically and culturally with their L1, not with English. The term 'identity' and its link to language will be analysed. Then, the contrasting notions of the German-speaking and the Afrikaans-speaking group will be examined. Moreover, the possibility of nation-building in a multilingual society, i.e. "unity in diversity", and the coexistence of multiple identities will be discussed.

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