‘Namlish’ Goes Wiki



The English language in Namibia, often referred to as Namlish has been listed on a web-based, free-content encyclopedia, Wikipedia, since the year 2006.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namlish, the language has been defined as: “A form of English spoken in Namibia. Because it is the second or third language for the majority of the Namibians, local usage can vary significantly from usage elsewhere in the English-speaking world.”

Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references or citations, as long as they do so within Wikipedia’s editing policies and to an appropriate standard.

The site said all of Namlish comes from literal translations, mostly from Oshiwambo, but occasionally from Afrikaans, Damara, Herero or other tribal languages.

Examples include among others: ‘Howsit? Whatsup? Is it? I’m coming now now; my collegue here (used a lot in meetings and workshops); so. otherwise; and so-so’.

Wikipedia explained that Namlish speakers often use only the present continuous, or present progressive, aspect of a verb at times when native English speakers would employ the present simple.

This is due, in part, to direct translation from Oshiwambo to English. In Oshiwambo, the verb form remains the same in either case.

Whenever someone wants to indicate possession of anything, he or she “is having” that particular object.

The same goes for use of the past continuous tense in the place of the simple past.

It said many Namibians repeat single-word responses twice, for example: “Hi, hi; fine, fine; and sharp, sharp”‘, are all common responses in casual conversation.

Upon asking, how are you? Namlish speakers would greet you with Yes! or yebo! yebo, (a Zulu word).

It noted that directions can be very vague – “that side” is usually the answer.
This one and that one are frequently used to talk about children and elderly people.

Three repetitions of the word are generally the most you will hear, and usually means a minute or less before the activity in question begins, according to the site.

It stressed that the word “somehow” is used to describe an event that was all-right, average, or unexceptional.

When asked about a day, weekend, or holiday, Namibians often respond by saying it was “somehow”.

Namibians frequently use, as in this instance, an adverb in place of an adjective.

Whenever asking: How are you? 99 percent of the time the answer is “fine”.
As Namlish is its own dialect of English, it has its own pronunciation of English words.

For instance, the word “clothes” is almost always pronounced with two syllables, it said.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who used Namlish according to an article published in a local English daily, The Namibian in 2002, using the word “fundaraising” also appeared on the site. – Nampa.


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