Towards the Stabilisation of Zimbabwean English: Progress and Prospects
The systematic description of African Englishes, including Zimbabwean English (ZE) is gradually increasing in the continent’s ongoing sociolinguistic research. The purpose of this contribution is to investigate the progress currently made in stabilising the Zimbabwean variety of English since its emergence in the 1980s using Schneider’s (2007) Dynamic framework for stabilisation of “New Englishes”. ZE is perceived to be at the nativisation stage, encompassing indigenisation of Standard English before a full adoption into a new socio-cultural context. Evidence of nativisation includes phonological innovations and structural indigenisation of English. It is noted that complete nativisation would follow after full adoption and functionalisation by the speech community. Furthermore, the study establishes that the task at hand is to carry out in-depth research that probes deeper into ZE’s evolution process; explaining its key structural features and its sociolinguistic traits. This will uncover its general linguistic behaviour, functional role and possibly strengthen its visibility, use and eventual growth. One major limitation of the study is that its focus is restricted to the Zimbabwean variety of English. Recommended future studies should include comparative studies of the development of “New Englishes” in other outer circle regions, so as to methodologically inform the stabilisation process of ZE.
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