Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Fellows Dr. Gerald Stell

Dr. Gerald Stell

Free University of Brussels VUB
Affiliated Junior Fellow
Jan. 2012 - Juni 2012

Vergangene FRIAS Aufenthalte

  • Jan. 2012 - Juni 2012



After studying Dutch and German literature and linguistics in France and in the Netherlands, I did my Phd from 2004 to 2008 on the topic of ethnicity and language variation in the Afrikaans speech community at the Free University of Brussels (V.U.B.). From 2008 onwards I have been a Research Fellow at the Free University of Brussels (V.U.B.) where I worked on topics related to language contact, and more specifically codeswitching, in a South African context involving Afrikaans, English and Bantu languages. As a visiting researcher at the ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism in Theory and Practice I also participated in a project dealing with language contact among immigrant communities in Luxembourg. With funding from the Research Foundation Flanders (F.W.O.) and the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences, I am currently embarking on a project dealing with identity negotiation and language in African urban contexts, as illustrated by Windhoek, Namibia.      


Selected Publications

Books and Editions

  • Stell, G. (forthcoming). Ethnicity and Language Variation: Grammar and Code-Switching in the Afrikaans Speech Community. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang. 
  • Stell G. 2006. Luxembourgish standardization: context, ideology and comparability with the case of West Frisian. Louvain: Peeters.


  • Stell G. 2007. Batavisation, Verdeutschung en Luxemburgs taalnationalisme: De toepassing en neerslag van Willems taalbeleid in het Groot-Hertogdom. Verslagen van de KANTL 117, 1: 119-128.
  • Stell, G. 2006. Feature selection and variation in Standard-Afrikaans: From White and Eurocentric to African and multiethnic, TRANSNET 16.


  • Stell, G. (under review). Ethnicity and Codeswitching: Ethnically-based differences in grammatical and pragmatic patterns of codeswitching in the Free State. International Journal of the Sociology of Language.
  • Stell, G., & C. Parafita Couto (forthcoming) 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. Submitted to the Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft.
  • Stell G. (2011) 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. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Stell, G. 2010. Grammaticale variatie in het informele gesproken Afrikaans: standaardisatie ‘from above’ en standaardisatie ‘from below’. In E. Francken and M. Van der Wal (eds.) Standaardtalen in Beweging. Münster: Nodus. 109-34.
  • 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. Pretoria: Van Schaik. 197-221.
  • 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. 2009. Recent Trends In Grammatical Variation In Afrikaans Varieties Within And Across Namibia’s Borders. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics SPIL Plus 39. 85-105.
  • Stell G. 2007. From Kitaab-Hollandsch to Kitaab-Afrikaans: The evolution of a non-white literary variety at the Cape (1856-1940). Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics 37. 89-127.
  • Stell G., Luffin X., Rakiep M. 2007. Cape Malay Afrikaans: The literary varieties used by Shaykh Hanif Edwards (1906-1958). Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 163. 319-353.
  • Stell G. & I. Feinauer 2005. Die verhouding tussen (in)formele en (Nie)Standaardgespreksafrikaans: die populêre stereotipe van registermarkering soos weergegee in die geïdealiseerde spraak  van 7de Laan. Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans 12(1). 108-121.
  • Stell G. 2005. Afrikaans en Nederlands: het spanningsveld tussen ‘Taaleie’ en ‘Suiwerheidsideaal’. Verhandelingen der Zuid-Nederlandse Maatschappij LIX. 119-129. 


FRIAS Research Project

Language and the negotiation of ethnic and urban identities in an African context: Urban registers and their variability in Windhoek, Namibia

It is acknowledged that mass-urbanization in Africa has had a deep impact on the construction of social identities. Where language has been used as one of the indicators of social identity construction in the post-apartheid context, it has rather been from the perspective of narratives or questionnaire surveys rather than from the perspective of language variation. It is the ambition of this research project to demonstrate the potential of a qualitative and quantitative study of language variation as a privileged perspective on the construction and diffusion of urban identities in multiethnic post-apartheid settings. To that end, anthropological methodologies will be used to reconstruct the range of sociolinguistic identities which are salient in the context of Windhoek, capital of Namibia, while the linguistic behaviour of members of the various ethnic groups locally represented will be observed and compared across both intraethnic and interethnic contexts of communication. After being quantitatively established, intra- and interethnic norms of communication will provide the empirical background against which individual strategies of identity negotiation will be described in reference to those sociolinguistic identities previously identified as salient. The findings of this study will be presented as relevant to research on both urban social dynamics and African nation-building.