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Picture of Stell, Gerald (Dr)
Stell, Gerald (Dr)
Assistant Professor

MA in Linguistics, Paris IV-Sorbonne (2004)
PhD in Linguistics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2008)

Room No.AG406
Tel2766 7461
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Research Overview

The focus of my research is language attitudes, language variation/change, and intergroup relations, with a specific emphasis on ethnolinguistically diverse settings in Africa and in the Caribbean. The general goal of my research is to describe the relationship between social distinctions and linguistic dynamics, either synchronically or diachronically. The type of social distinction that I specialize in is derived from ethnolinguistic constructs intersecting with social variables such as class and gender. One type of data that I work with involves linguistic features, such as phonetic features, grammatical features, and code-switching patterns, elicited in intergroup communication settings. Another type of data that I work with involves sociolinguistic perceptions in the form of, among other things, stereotypes. Recent work includes an edited book on code-switching, an article on the phonetic features of Namibian English, and an article on sociolinguistic perceptions in the Caribbean island of Trinidad. I am currently involved in research projects on variation in and contact between English and other languages in Namibia.

Teaching Areas

Languages in Contemporary Societies
English as a Global Lingua Franca
Freshman Seminar in Language, Culture and Communication
Language and Society in Europe
Language and Conflict in the Contemporary World
Languages in a Globalising World
Exploring Language in Social Life

Research Interests

Language variation (lexical, grammatical, phonological)
Intergroup communication, intergroup processes
World Englishes
Multilingualism/language contact
Creole languages

Research Output


Stell, G. 2011. Ethnicity and Language Variation: Grammar and Code-Switching in the Afrikaans Speech Community. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.  

Journal Articles

Stell, G. (accepted). The Founder Principle and Namibian English. Journal of World Englishes. 

Stell, G. (accepted). Indigenization in a downgraded continuum: Ideologies of phonetic variation in Namibian Afrikaans. International Journal of the Sociology of Language.

Stell, G. 2019. Indexicalities in code-switching across Namibian ethnicities. Language Matters 50(2): 3-28.

Stell, G. 2019. Dimensions of sociolinguistic distinction in postcolonial ethnic diversity: Folk perceptions of language across Namibia’s rural/urban divide. Lingua 226: 53-68.

Stell, G. & R. Fuchs. 2019. Intergroup dynamics and variation in postcolonial ESL varieties: A preliminary view of Namibian English vowel systems. English World-Wide 40 (2): 144-169.   

Stell, G. 2019. Tracing emergent multilectal styles. Forms and functions of code-switching among Ovambos in urban Namibia. Pragmatics 29(3): 436-462.

Stell, G. 2018. Sociolinguistic indexicalities in ethnic diversity. Perceptions of ethnicity and language in Suriname. New West Indian Guide 92: 35-61.

Stell, G. 2018. Stell, G. 2018. Representing variation in creole continua: A folk linguistic view of language variation in Trinidad. Journal of English Linguistics 46(2): 113-139.

Stell, G. 2017. Social mobility and restructuring: Black Cape Dutch in perspective. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 32(1): 104-137.

Stell, G. & M. Dragojevic. 2017. Multilingual Accommodation in Namibia: An Examination of Six Ethnolinguistic Groups‘ Language Use in Intra- and Intergroup Interactions. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 36(2): 167-187.

Stell, G. 2016. Current trends in linguistic diversity in post-apartheid Windhoek: A qualitative appraisal. Language matters 47(3): 326-348.  

Stell G. & G. Groenewald. 2016. Perceptions of Afrikaans in Namibia: Between lingua franca and socially exclusive language. Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe 56(4-2): 1128-1148.

Stell, G. & T. Fox. 2015. Ethnicity in discourse: The interactional negotiation of ethnic boundaries in post-apartheid Namibia. Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies 38(6): 976-992.

Stell, G. 2015. Négociation linguistique des relations de pouvoir: L'explication et la prédiction des choix linguistiques en tant que fonction de rapports interethniques à Windhoek, Namibie [Linguistic negotiation of power relations: Explaining and predicting language choices as a function of inter-ethnic relations in Windhoek, Namibia]. Cahiers Internationaux de Sociolinguistique 41(1): 25-56.

Stell, G. 2014. Uses and functions of English in Namibia’s multi-ethnic settings. Journal of World Englishes 33(2): 223-241.

Stell, G. 2014. Social identities in post-apartheid intergroup communication patterns: Linguistic evidence of an emergent non-white pan-ethnicity in Namibia? International Journal of the Sociology of Language 230: 223-241.

Stell, G. 2013. Cape Malay Dutch: The missing link between Cape Dutch Pidgin and Afrikaans? In: G. Stell (ed.), Dutch and Colonial Expansion: Different contact settings, different outcomes. Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire 90: 1305-1328.

Stell G. 2012. Comparability of the Black/White divide in the American speech community and the Coloured/White divide in the Afrikaans speech community. American Speech 87(3): 294-335.

Stell, G. 2012. Ethnicity and Codeswitching: Ethnic differences in grammatical and pragmatic patterns of codeswitching in the Free State. Pragmatics 22(3): 477-499.

Stell, G., & C. Parafita Couto. 2012. Code-switching practices in Luxembourg’s Portuguese-speaking minority: A pilot study on the distinctive characteristics of an immigrant community’s code-switching practices within a trilingual majority. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 31(11): 153-185.

Stell, G. 2010. Ethnicity in linguistic variation: White and coloured identities in Afrikaans-English code-switching. Pragmatics 20(3): 425-447.

Stell, G. 2010. Afrikaans speech norms and prescriptive Afrikaans norms: Is there enough scope for grammatical diversity in Standard Afrikaans? Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe 50(3): 418-443.

Stell, G. 2009. Codeswitching and ethnicity: Grammatical types of codeswitching in the Afrikaans speech community. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 199: 103–128.

Stell G., Luffin, X. & M. Rakiep. 2007. Cape Malay Afrikaans: The literary varieties used by Shaykh Hanif Edwards (1906-1958). Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 163: 319-353. 

Book Chapters

Stell, G. (accepted). English in Namibia: A socio-historical approach. In Anne Schroeder (ed.), The Dynamics of English in Namibia. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Stell, G. 2019. Codeswitching. In J. Darquennes, J. Salmons and W. Vandenbussche (eds.), Handbuch zur Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikation. Volume 1. Language Contact. 157-170. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.

Stell, G. & K. Yakpo. 2015. Elusive or self-evident? Looking for the common ground in approaches to code-switching. In G. Stell and K. Yakpo (eds.), Code-Switching at the Crossroads Between Structural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. 1-18. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  

Stell, G. 2015. Towards an integrated approach to structural and conversational aspects of code-switching through macrosociolinguistic predictors. In G. Stell and K. Yakpo (eds.), Code-Switching at the Crossroads Between Structural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. 117-138. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  

Stell, G. 2014. Language alternation and ethnicity in a post-colonial context: Code-switching as a ‘non-White’ register in South Africa. In A. Koll-Stobbe and S. Knospe (eds.), Language in Times of Change and Globalization. 175-190. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Stell, G. 2013. Metropolitan standards and post-colonial standards: A future for the Dutch connection of Afrikaans? In: C.A. Negre, R. Muhr, C. Fernandez Juncal, K. Zimmermann, E. Prieto, N. Hernandez (eds.), Exploring linguistic standards in non-dominant varieties of pluricentric languages. 115-130. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Stell, G. 2012. Ethnicity as an independent factor of language variation across space: Trends in morphosyntactic patterns in spoken Afrikaans. In A. van Kemenade and N. Haas (eds.), Historical Linguistics 2009: selected papers from the 19th International Conference on Historical Linguistics. 231-252. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Stell, G. 2010. Grammaticale variatie in het informele gesproken Afrikaans: standaardisatie ‘from above’ en standaardisatie ‘from below’ [Grammatical variation in informal spoken Afrikaans: Standardization ‘from above’ and standardization ‘from below’]. In E. Francken and M. Van der Wal (eds.), Standaardtalen in Beweging. 109-34. Münster: Nodus.

Stell, G. 2010. Afrikaans norms of spoken usage and the desirability of re-standardizing Standard Afrikaans along ethnic lines. In P. Cuvelier, T. du Plessis, M. Meeuwis, R. Vandekerckhove & V. Webb (eds.), Multilingualism from Below. 197-221. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Stell, G. 2007. Batavisation, Verdeutschung en Luxemburgs taalnationalisme: De toepassing en neerslag van Willems taalbeleid in het Groot-Hertogdom [Batavisation, Verdeutschung and Luxembourgish language nationalism: The implementation and impact of Willem’s language policy in the Grand Duchy]. In: W. Vandenbussche and G. Janssens (eds.), Taalpolitiek, taalplanning en taalgebruik in het Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden. 119-128. Gent: KANTL.

Other Outputs

Edited volumes

Stell, G. & K. Yakpo. 2015. Code-Switching: Between Structural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  

Stell, G. 2014. Dutch creoles.  Journal of Germanic Linguistics 26(3).

G. Stell. 2013. Dutch and Colonial Expansion: Different contact settings, different outcomes. Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire 90.

Research Projects (funded projects – both internal and external)

Intergroup dynamics and their reflection in Outer Circle ESL varieties: A preliminary view of phonetic variation in Namibian English. Dean’s Reserve for Research Grant. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Identity negotiation in an ethnolinguistically diverse environment: Language variation and language strategies in Paramaribo, Suriname. The University of the West Indies.

Language and the negotiation of ethnic and urban identities in an African context: Urban registers and their variability in Windhoek, Namibia. Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), South African Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Identity and change in the post-apartheid city: Old and new reconstructions of class, space, ethnicity and language in Windhoek, Namibia. The French Institute of South Africa.

Language-in-Education practices and their impact on informal language use in an African context: Differences in use of the LoLT and L1 at Namibian primary schools and their implications for learners´code-switching patterns. Radboud Universiteit’s Language in Contact Group.

Mapping communication across colour divides: Black Afrikaans in Central South Africa. Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO).

Code-switching among Luxembourg’s Portuguese speaking population: Forms and Functions.
ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism in theory and Practice.