Namibian Black German

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Namibian Black German
Native to Namibia
Native speakers
German-based pidgin
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

Namibian Black German, also NBG, (German: Küchendeutsch, "kitchen German") is a pidgin language of Namibia that derives from standard German.[1] It is nearly extinct.[citation needed] It was spoken mostly by Namibians who did not learn standard German during the period of German rule. It was never a first language. It is currently spoken as a second language by people over 50 years old,[when?] who today usually also speak German, Afrikaans, or English.[citation needed]


Colonial acquisition of German in Namibia often took place outside of formal education and was primarily self-taught. Like many pidgin languages, Namibian Black German developed through limited access to the standard language and was restricted to the work environment.

Currently several hundred thousand Namibians speak German as a second language, and while Namibian German often does not adhere to standard German, it is not pidgin.[citation needed]


English and Afrikaans have left an influence on the development of NBG, leading to three primary prepositional patterns:[citation needed]

  • adding a preposition where Standard German would use the accusative
  • dropping prepositions which are usually present in Standard German
  • changing the preposition that is required by the verb


Examples of phrases with Standard German equivalents:

  • Lange nicht sehen - long no see ("Lange nicht gesehen")
  • Was Banane kosten? - How much does the banana cost? ("Was kostet die/eine Banane?")
  • spät Uhr - 'late hour', meaning 'it's late' ("es ist spät")
  • Herr fahren Jagd, nicht Haus - "Master went hunting and he's not at home" ("Der Herr ist zur Jagd gefahren und ist nicht zu Hause")


  1. ^ Deumert, Ama (2003). Markedness and salience in language contact and second-language acquisition: evidence from a non-canonical contact language. Language Sciences. 25. Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/S0388-0001(03)00033-0.

Further reading

  • Deumert, A. (2010). Historical Sociolinguistics in a Colonial World, Methodological Considerations [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from
  • Deumert, A (2003). "Markedness and salience in language contact and second-language acquisition: evidence from a non-canonical contact language". Language Sciences. 25 (6): 561–613. doi:10.1016/S0388-0001(03)00033-0.
  • Deumert, A (2009). "Namibian Kiche Duits: The Making (and Decline) of Neo-African Language". Journal of Germanic Linguistics. 21 (4): 349–417. doi:10.1017/s1470542709990122.
  • Langer, N., McLelland, N. (2011). German Studies: Language and Linguistics. The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies, 71, 564-594. JSTOR 10.5699/yearworkmodlang.71.2009.0564
  • Shah, Sheena (2007). "German in a contact situation: The case of Namibian German" (PDF). eDUSA. 2 (2): 20–44. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-13.
  • Stolberg, D. (2012). When a standard language goes colonial: Language attitudes, language planning, and destandardization during German colonialism. 25th Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics, Workshop 2: Foundations of Language Standardization. Retrieved from

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