White Zimbabwean English

Although spoken by just 5% of the population, English has status dominance and is the official language in Zimbabwe. It thrives in a complex set of multilingual and multiethnic environments: the numerically dominant language is Shona (75% of the population), followed by a number of minority languages. WhZmE is the L1 variety spoken mainly by descendants of European, principally British and British South African settlers in Zimbabwe. It is grouped with the other southern hemisphere L1 varieties of English descended from British input dialects transported in the course of the 19th century. Since independence in 1980, it has become an expression of national and ideological identity – especially for the 5 million members of the expatriate community – and is today a productive and changing variety.

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