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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

English in East Africa is a well-developed usage variety (or a cluster of usage varieties), although it is not as indigenized as in West Africa, for instance, because many functions in the language repertoire are still taken over by Kiswahili and other African languages. The debate on developing an independent norm is not prominent, although at least English in Kenya could be classified as an outer circle variety. Theoretically, innovations, including borrowings from the national language Kiswahili, are less prominent than expansions of usages well-known from other New Englishes. Few features are really pervasive (like phoneme mergers) and accepted, so that an independent system cannot be identified easily. The socio-cognitive awareness of variation is not very pronounced, although English users are aware of national and even subnational features, especially in pronunciation, lexis, and idiomaticity. Today new internet research opportunities can complement the 20 year old data from the International Corpus of English (ICE).

Keywords: phoneme mergers, innovation, expansion, borrowing, national language, New Englishes, Internet, ICE-EA

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