Languages of Namibia

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Languages of Namibia

Post  chickengold92 on Sun 28 Nov 2010 - 6:16

The official language is English. Until 1990, German and Afrikaans were also official languages. Long before Namibia's independence from South Africa, SWAPO had decided that the country should become officially monolingual, consciously choosing this approach in contrast to that of its neighbour, which was regarded as "a deliberate policy of ethnolinguistic fragmentation."[40] Consequently, English became the sole official language of Namibia. Some other languages have received semi-official recognition by being allowed as medium of instruction in primary schools.

Half of all Namibians speak Oshiwambo as their first language, whereas the most widely understood language is Afrikaans. Among the younger generation, the most widely understood language is English. Both Afrikaans and English are used primarily as a second language reserved for public communication, but small first-language groups exist throughout the country.

While the official language is English, most of the white population speaks either German or Afrikaans. Even today, 90 years after the end of the German colonial era, the German language plays a leading role as a commercial language. Afrikaans is spoken by 60% of the white community, German is spoken by 32%, English is spoken by 7% and Portuguese by 1%.[1] Geographical proximity to Portuguese-speaking Angola explains the relatively high number of lusophones.


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