Crossing-Border Languages

Published Date:
Namibia Publishing House 
N$ 53.00
The present publication originates from the papers and documents which were delivered at the Intern Workshop "Cross-Border Languages". This workshop was held at the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) in Okahandja (Namibia) from 23 to 27 September 1996. The meeting was another result of the co-operation between NIED and the German Foundation for Intern Development which funded the workshop preparations and familiarisation tours, as well as contributed largely towards the cost of the workshop.
The workshop brought together Namibian specialists in African languages and rep­ rese from Southern African countries which share with Namibia a common linguistic heritage. This heritage results, among other things, in the existence and use of languages like Oshikwanyama, Setswana and Silozi which enjoy the status of an important medium of communication at the cross-border level. In fact, as these three languages are widely spoken in the region, a vary degree of official recognition is found both in Namibia and among our neighbours. Thus, as a consequence, these three languages are not only substantial in non-fom1al domains, but also in formal domains such as being the medium of instruction in lower primary grades in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, being taught as a subject in the higher grades, and being used as the medium of instruction in adult literacy classes. In addition, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) broadcasts programmes in Oshikwanyama and Silozi, which address national and regional issues thus making these issues available to local communities with little knowledge of the off language English. Furthermore, print media like New Era or The Namibian occasionally publish articles in national languages including Oshikwanyama and Silozi. The role, status and development of Oshikwanyama, Setswana and Silozi in Namibia present a challenge for neighbouring countries as well as an interesting point of comparison. In the past and mainly since independence much has been achieved in particular in education, where Namibia offers solid progress in her endeavour to implement the language policy for schools with respect to national languages. But, as other countries are working along similar lines and sometimes have more experience in this field, the idea was born to invite representatives to a regional meeting where views on regional co-operation could be exchanged.