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The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: Namibian Kiche Duits: The Making (and Decline) of a Neo-African Language
Author: Ana Deumert
Institution: University of Cape Town
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This paper provides the first overview of the history, sociolinguistics, and structures of Namibian Kiche Duits (lit. “kitchen German”), which is today a dying contact variety. The analysis draws on archival records, colonial publications, and memoirs, as well as over 120 sociolinguistic interviews conducted in 2000. Early varieties of Namibian Kiche Duits emerged from 1900 under German colonial rule. The language was used primarily for inter-ethnic communication within the work context. However, speakers also “crossed” playfully into Kiche Duits in a number of within-group speech genres (competition games, scolding, banter, etc.), thus appropriating the colonial language—alongside cultural borrowings (Truppenspieler, “traditional” dress)—for new in-group practices. These within-group uses contributed to the linguistic stabilization of the language as well as the formation of new (post-)colonial (neo-African) identities.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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