Language policy in a multilingual school: the case of Windhoek International School in Namibia

Henry Amo Mensah, Christine Anthonissen


The study presented in this paper examined language-in- education policy in a multilingual international school in Namibia. The central concern of this paper was to find out how language policy addresses possible language conflicts in this school in light of the fact that in studies of language structure, there is a presumption that all languages are equal and in sociolinguistic terms, there is an ecological perception which holds that all languages should be allowed to flourish (Hymes 1992). The conclusion drawn from the study is that in multilingual educational environments such as Windhoek International School (WIS), the choice of language as Medium of Instruction (MoI) is highly determined by the linguistic habitus. On the hand, the language(s) used outside of the classroom is/are influenced by the nature of the linguistic space. In this school, the language-in-education policy comprises a written language policy, that is, the overt policy which is monolingual and a covert policy that is found implicitly in the daily practices of learners and teachers. The covert policy may be described as multilingual and multi-voiced.  


multilingual, Language-in-education policy, linguistic markets, linguistic habitus, Windhoek International School.

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