Article

Sprachliche Charakteristika des Deutschen in Namibia – ein korpusbasierter Überblick

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In diesem Beitrag wird der Sprachgebrauch der deutschsprachigen Minderheit in Namibia, die heute etwa 20.000 Personen umfasst und im Wesentlichen auf Migration im Zuge der Kolonialisierung des Gebietes (Deutsch-Südwestafrika; 1884 −1915) zurückgeht, mithilfe eines systematisch zusammengestellten Korpus beschrieben und analysiert. Neben einem breit angelegten Überblick über Charakteristika in Phonetik/Phonologie, Morphologie, Syntax, Lexik und (lexikalischer) Semantik, der auch Informationen zur Verwendungshäufigkeit der untersuchten Varianten enthält, werden ausgewählte Phänomene etwas ausführlicher behandelt, um allgemeine Zusammenhänge offenzulegen. Dabei kommen unter anderem die folgenden Bereiche zur Sprache, die als prägend für das Deutsche in Namibia angesehen werden können: Entlehnungen und Sprachkontakt (vor allem mit Afrikaans und Englisch), der im multilingualen Setting verstärkte Ausbau binnenstrukturell angelegter Tendenzen sowie importierte sprachliche Merkmale und damit einhergehender Varietätenkontakt innerhalb der deutschsprachigen Community.

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This paper provides an overview of the history and sociolinguistic setting of Germans and German in Namibia, which serves as a backdrop for our discussion on selected structural features of Namibian German. German has been actively spoken and used in Namibia since the 1880s, having been brought to the country through colonisation, and it remains till today to be linguistically vital. In this paper, we investigate two grammatical innovations in Namibian German via a questionnaire study, namely the expanded use of a) linking elements and b) gehen as a future auxiliary, and explore various factors which could have contributed to their emergence to better understand the dynamics of German in multilingual Namibia.
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In this paper, I analyze the role of multilingual slang within mixed-mode groups through the example of the German-Namibian diaspora. Unlike digital single-mode groups, which only exist in computer-mediated communication (CMC), mixed-mode groups are involved in both CMC and face-to-face communication (FTF). This article focuses on the latter type of groups and addresses the question as to how contact-induced vernacular items are resemiotized from FTF to public and from spoken to written mode within these groups. It is hypothesized that the usage of multilingual slang in FTF mode and its corresponding group cohesion contribute to the frequency of slang within CMC. Furthermore, this study compares a mixed-mode group with a digital single-mode group to investigate the effects that the missing social contact within the latter group has on the tendency of its members to use multilingual slang in CMC. The German-Namibian diaspora and their language practices are particularly well suited to address this topic as they draw on multiple linguistic resources in their FTF and CMC networks with Afrikaans, German, and English being the main sources. The resulting, multilingual practices are highly ingroup specific. The study includes a mixed-method approach combining traditional FTF participant observation and modern correlation analysis of CMC data. The aim of this study is not only to shed light on the role of multilingual speech within mixed-mode groups, but also to contribute to the understanding of the complex dynamics that occur within diasporic settings. While recognizing the need for multiparadigmaticity in sociological and linguistic theory, this study stresses the importance of holistic approaches to analyze and understand language in social contexts.
Conference Paper
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Der Beitrag bespricht die Rolle computervermittelter Kommunikation (CVK) zur Analyse kontaktsprachlich bedingter Phänomene im Namdeutschen. Im Rahmen der interaktionalen Soziolinguistik untersucht der Beitrag die durch vernetzte Mehrsprachigkeit entstandenen Schreibmuster der deutsch-namibischen Diaspora und ihrer Onlinecommunity, wozu u.a. inter- und intrasententielles Code-Switching, typische Entlehnungen im namibischen Deutsch und Lehnübersetzungen aus dem Englischen und Afrikaans gehören. Diese Sprachkontaktphänomene werden sowohl aus einer funktionalen als auch aus einer grammatisch-formalen Perspektive beleuchtet, wodurch die Struktur mehrsprachiger Schreibmuster sowie ihre Rolle innerhalb des Diskurses verdeutlicht werden. Mithilfe einer soziographischen Metadatenanalyse wird die Bedeutung von CVK als Organisations- und Kommunikationsplattform dargelegt und ihr Beitrag für die Gruppenkohäsion der deutsch-namibischen Diaspora besprochen.
Article
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This study analyses the role of Namdeutsch – a German-based non-standard variety spoken in Namibia which includes loanwords from Afrikaans, English and indigenous languages – in computer-mediated communication (CMC). Research on Namdeutsch has so far taken mainly the historical perspective, and data on contemporary Namdeutsch are still rare. The present article bridges this gap by analyzing a cmc-based corpus consisting of 33,000 running words. The data are taken from the online edition of the Allgemeine Zeitung, Namibia’s only daily newspaper published entirely in German. Stylistic features of Namdeutsch usage such as compounds, identifiers and pejoratives are documented, and metalinguistic statements by authors and readers of the newspaper are analysed. The data show that Namdeutsch fulfills a double function within Namibian cmc, serving both as an in-group identifier for Namibian(-German) culture and as a bridge to German-speaking communities in Europe.
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Mainstream grammatical theory and traditional grammaticography concentrate on single languages or varieties, which are conceptualised as pre-existing, distinct entities and analysed in terms of coherent, static, ideally variation-free language systems. This is in stark contrast to actual language usage, where various kinds of structural contact phenomena are the rule rather than the exception. In line with recent insights from contact linguistics, Diasystematic Construction Grammar assumes that multilingual speakers and communities organise their grammatical knowledge on the basis of the available input via processes of interlingual identification, abstraction, generalisation, and categorisation, regardless of language boundaries. This results in a community-specific multilingual constructicon, comprising both language-specific constructions (restricted to certain communicative contexts associated with a particular language) and constructions unspecified for language.
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Language Island Research: The Traditional Framework and Some Sociolinguistic Questions The metaphor of a ‘language island’ was coined with reference to the ‘colonies’ of German-speaking settlers in Eastern, Central, and South Eastern Europe, which were mostly founded in the late Middle Ages (‘old language islands’) and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (‘new language islands’), and which for a long time preserved their ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, administrative, and sometimes religious distinctness from the surrounding society. Brought in by the state authorities or private colonisers, the settlers cultivated the land, introducing new methods of agriculture, trade, crafts, and mining, stabilising political borders, and increasing the proportion of educated, skilled (and sometimes ‘white’) population; however, for a long time they did not mingle with the surrounding population. Since these linguistic communities were founded by settlers speaking different dialects – but lacking the German standard language – they have been subject to dialect convergence from the first days of their existence. The dialects of these language islands are therefore more or less mixed or levelled dialects, as was noted by the Russian dialectologist Victor Schirmunski (1930). For him, the ‘language islands’ were a ‘linguistic laboratory’ bringing about the same linguistic processes in short time which over centuries have shaped our contemporary standard languages. Only in the twentieth century did the language islands open to outside linguistic influence from the surrounding language(s).
Article
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L'A. tente d'identifier les criteres lexicaux, pragmatiques et syntaxiques conditionnant l'utilisation de propositions principales independantes en allemand. Il examine ainsi l'hypothese selon laquelle l'utilisation de propositions principales independantes releverait principalement de la langue parlee, et propose une classification adequate de ces formes syntaxiques intermediaires entre la parataxe et l'hypotaxe
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In this article I explore a particular set of contact varieties that emerged in Namibia, a former German colony. Historical evidence comes from the genre of autobiographic narratives that were written by German settler women. These texts provide – ideologically filtered – descriptions of domestic life in the colony and contain observations about everyday communication practices. In interpreting the data I draw on the idea of ‘jargon’ as developed within creolistics as well as on Chabani Manganyi’s (1970) comments on the ‘master-servant communication complex’, and Beatriz Lorente’s (2017) work on ‘scripts of servitude’. I suggest that to interpret the historical record is a complex hermeneutic endeavour: on the one hand, the examples given are likely to tell us ‘something’ about communication in the colony; on the other hand, the very description of communicative interactions is rooted in what I call a ‘script of supremacy’, which is quite unlike the ‘atonement politics’ (McIntosh 2014) of postcolonial language learning.
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There has been considerable interest in the linguistic emergence of “pan-ethnicities” in urban Europe. Much less attention has been paid to the emergence of such identities in post-colonial contexts, where it could be used as an indicator of nation-building processes. The case study I propose is Namibia, a country with a legacy of ethnolinguistic segregation. Relying on a corpus of interethnic interactions, I investigate patterns of linguistic convergence and divergence/maintenance across ethnic combinations of participants. Based on an analysis of lexical and morphosyntactic variation, as well as of code-switching patterns involving up to three languages simultaneously (i.e. Afrikaans, English and one among the various Namibian ingroup languages), I first identify evidence of a general dichotomy between Whites and Non-whites. I further identify evidence of a Non-white pan-ethnicity, which, upon closer inspection, reveals signs of a socio-historical fault line between northern and southern ethnicities. Finally, I demonstrate the relevance of “multiethnolectal studies” to describing nation-building processes by situating the findings of this study in a broad post-colonial context.
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An advantage of Namibia's late attainment of independence is that it can benefit from the experience of other African countries that achieved independence some thirty years earlier. Hence Namibia is unique in that it is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa that at the time of attaining independence already provided for constitutional rights for its local languages. The major policy document of the then liberation movement SWAPO, Toward a language policy for an independent Namibia (United Nations Institute for Namibia 1981), which was published in Lusaka by the institute (UNIN) as proceedings of a seminar held in 1980, essentially set the trend for the policies pursued since independence in 1990.
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