In a context where new English varieties from the Outer Circle have been receiving
increasing attention, I propose to outline a descriptive approach to their uses and functions on the basis of
their patterns of co-occurrence with local languages across intra and inter-ethnic boundaries. The case study
I offer is Namibia, a multiethnic and multilingual African country where English has been the sole official
language since 1990 without having had much local history prior to that date. The general question that I
pose is to what extent and how English is used in informal interactions in Namibia. Considering Namibia’s
ethnolinguistic diversity as well as the locally widespread practice of code-switching, the questions I more
specifically ask are: What are the patterns of code-switching with which English finds itself associated
both within and across Namibia’s inter-ethnic boundaries, and how can they be characterized in terms
of social function? On the basis of a corpus of intra- and inter-ethnic interactions involving a range of
Namibian ethnicities, I show evidence of a continuum of linguistic usage ranging from different patterns
of code-switching involving English and local languages to more or less monolingual English varieties.
I finally place that evidence within the perspective of new Englishes theory, emphasizing the possible
relevance of code-switching patterns to the emergence of indigenized English varieties in general, and of
an indigenized Namibian variety in particular.