Namibian Black German

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. 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, who these days usually also speak German, Afrikaans, or English.


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.


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

  • 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

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