NAM-Släng. Young people’s multilingualism and multimodal communicative practices within the Namibian variety of German used in Social Networks

Silvia Verdiani | Università di Torino

In mediatised cultures, people are engaged in increasingly complex networks of digital and analogue media practices through which they construct, experience, and share their lifeworlds. Conversation through social networks, in fact, allows actions that are not necessarily present in the vis-a-vis verbal exchange, but which are instead specific to social networks: the sharing of various multimedia material, the option to retrieve messages related to a specific topic and the possibility to gloss it, the multimodality, and especially the spontaneous multilingualism (Verdiani 2020). Namdeutsch or NAM-Släng is a German-based non-standard variety currently widely spoken online by Namibian German-speaking youth communities, which includes loanwords from Afrikaans, English and indigenous languages (Radke 2020), its routes are to be found the South West Africa German colony settled from 1883 to 1915 in Namibia. Focussing on the social media interaction, video production and Namsläng-dictionary of the musician EES (Eric Sell), my contribution will analyse young people’s communicative and media practices within the Namibian variety of German used in Social Networks, with the aim of understanding how identities are (co-)constructed in NAM-Släng in and through social media. The research will be conducted based on the corpus Deutsch in Namibia (DNam, ‘German in Namibia’) – a new digital resource that comprehensively and systematically documents the language use of the German-speaking minority in Namibia. The corpus Deutsch in Namibia is part of The Archive for Spoken German (Archiv für Gesprochenes Deutsch, AGD) a research data centre for corpora of spoken German of the Leibniz Institute for the German language (IDS-Mannheim) (Zimmer et al. 2020).