The strength of the English language and its status as lingua franca all over the world can bring about some changes which affect the survival of local languages. This is the case of Silozi, a language spoken in Namibia which formerly served as lingua franca itself around the Caprivi Region, acting as a unifying form within an area of varied linguistic backgrounds. Silozi was chosen as the language of teaching in schools, emphasizing its linguistic and cultural weight, but has been has been downgraded from this position in recent years.
The English language seems to be increasingly filling the position of lingua franca in the Caprivi Region, a tendency which can be seen in speakers’ readiness to incorporate several vocabulary items from the English language into daily speech, or in the speakers’ inability to express concepts and ideas without resorting to the English language at some point.
English is clearly important in today’s world, where English speaking countries such as the United States have considerable weight in areas such as economics, politics and culture. This explains Silozi’s downgrading and replacement to a great extent. Supporters of language diversity worry about the consequences of the English language’s growing importance and call for measures to ensure the survival of other languages, such as Silozi, and all the cultural and historic background they carry.