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Doctoral Degrees (Languages, Linguistics and Academic Literacy)

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    Learning English in an Arabic context: a study of first-year Libyan university students' challenges in the learning of English.
    (2022) Aljoundi, Entisar Khalifa.; Sheik, Ayub
    This study sought to identify the challenges that lecturers and students faced in developing English language communicative competence for academic purposes at a university within the College of Humanities situated in Zliten city in the north of Libya. This research canvassed students’ and lecturers’ experiences and perceptions in the teaching and learning of academic English in a foreign language context. Within a case study approach, a convergent mixed methods research design was used. Data was collected through qualitative and quantitative methods in an interpretative paradigm. The study employed three data generation methods, a semi-structured interview, focus group discussion, and questionnaires. The findings suggest that the qualitative and quantitative findings in this study can be classified into four categories of EFL Libyan learning challenges namely: linguistic, cultural, institutional, and structural challenges. Linguistic challenges are those related to language issues confronted by both lecturers and students. Most participants (lecturers and students) agreed that Arabic and English are linguistically dissimilar. They are unable to comprehend academic literature in the English language because of the phonological differences between Arabic and English. It is considered the most common linguistic challenge with respect to student anxiety and inadequacy regarding the attainment of academic English proficiency. The cultural challenge manifests as a dissonance between students’ cultural predilections and the decoding required for meaning making in English as a foreign language. A cultural insistence and expectation for Arabic hegemonic communication exacerbates the development of communicative competence in the target language. Institutional challenges are described as the general position of higher education in Libya, and the problems students encounter when joining this education system. The effect of insular politics also negatively impacts effective institutional operations. Finally, structural challenges were related to the overall teaching program coherence. This included the lack of appropriate curriculum design standards and poorly designed policies of English language teaching and learning. The study concludes by making suggestions to improve communicative competence in the target language at the research site.
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    Linguistic strategies for managing online reputation in the era of political trolling: the case of Twitter-discourse between Zimbabwean political actors.
    (2023) Tshetu, Peter Junior.; Tappe, Heike Magdalena Elfried.
    The issue of personal attacks is pronounced in political contexts, with the discourse being instrumentalised for reputational warfare and reputational capital. In many cases, the victims of such discourse are character assassinated, defamed, humiliated, and demeaned. Thus, currently, there is an existing risk of losing a network of relationships which enables the political society to function effectively, as expected in a democracy such as Zimbabwe. The study aims at establishing strategies for linguistically managing online reputation within political discourses. It has the following main objectives: (1) To identify the non-politic linguistic strategies utilised in political trolling by Zimbabwean political actors on Twitter (now X). (2) To establish the component of face predominantly targeted in personal attacks on Twitter by Zimbabwean political trolls and (3) To establish linguistic strategies which can be utilised to redress face-threatening acts on digital platforms such as Twitter. The study takes a qualitative paradigm which informs the data collection and analysis, with the selection of data based on purposive sampling. Three theories underlie this study, namely: the Face Constituting Theory (FCT) (Arundale, 2010), the Politeness Theory (PT) (Brown & Levinson, 1987) and the Public Sphere Theory (PST) (Habermas, 1964) plus Culpeper (2011)’s four key aspects of impoliteness and Culpeper (2005)’s super-strategies for obtaining impoliteness. The research also takes a two-tier approach differentiating between a first- and a second-order level of analysis. The findings of this study are threefold. Firstly, there are six non-politic linguistic strategies commonly employed in political trolling within the Zimbabwean Twittersphere; these include: insults, pointed criticisms, unpalatable questions, condescensions, dismissals, and threats. Secondly, the study reveals that the positive face is the predominantly targeted face in personal attacks on Twitter. Thirdly, the study establishes three face-saving strategies. These are, claiming common ground, conveying that speaker and addressee are co-operators and fulfilling the addressee’s want.
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    Cognitive, affective, and behavioural aspects of attitude in isiZulu L1 tertiary students towards discipline-specific terminology in isiZulu and isiZulu as an academic language.
    (2022) Sibisi, Muhle Praiseworth.; Tappe, Heike Magdalena Elfried.
    The study uses the tripartite model of attitude to interrogate students’ attitudes towards isiZulu and the influence that the existence of discipline-specific terminology in isiZulu has on their attitudes towards isiZulu as an academic language. The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), in response to the constitutional directive of elevating indigenous African languages in South Africa, has developed discipline-specific terminology in isiZulu for Administration, Architecture, Anatomy, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Law, Physics, Psychology and Nursing. The attitudes of students toward the availability of terminology have not been explored. This study explores the perception of isiZulu home language (L1) students on the availability of the terminology in the disciplines of Anatomy, Architecture, Law, and Physics, as well as the lack of the terminology in the disciplines of Community Development, Management, Chemistry, and Physiology. It distinguishes between the uses of isiZulu as a form of mother tongue-based education (MTBE), that applies in the entire learning experience of students, and the use of isiZulu alongside English with discipline-specific terminology as an academic resource for isiZulu L1 students. Applying a mixed methods research methodology, data is sourced using a questionnaire survey and focus group interviews from 149 isiZulu L1 students enrolled in the eight disciplines across the four colleges of UKZN. The results indicate that the attitudes of L1 students are directly impacted by two distinct language learning experiences; those with increased exposure to L1 hold positive attitudes, while those with diminished exposure to L1 hold negative attitudes. The study discovers that the L1 students were not aware of the availability of the discipline-specific terminology in isiZulu at UKZN and that they find the terminology difficult to decipher, irrespective of their language learning experiences. For this reason, there is a preference for loanwords in addition to the terminology in proper isiZulu. The results also indicate that the attitudinal responses on the three aspects of attitude are not consistently aligned towards the attitude objects. This study postulates that discipline-specific terminology in isiZulu should be used consistently throughout the schooling years of the students. The terminology lists need to include loanwords that are accessible to students. In this way, isiZulu, and other African languages, will be activated in academic contexts, the heterogeneity of L1 students will be catered for, and the students’ multilingualism will be a resource that enhances their academic performance. For language attitude studies, this study advocates for the investigation of the three aspects of attitudes individually, conducted both in the absence as well as the presence of the attitudinal objects, in order to obtain comprehensive insight into the attitude construct.
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    The investigation of conjunctive writing adoption and other changes in Sesotho orthography in the three selected high schools at Thaba-Tseka District in Lesotho.
    (2022) Makoa, Malisema Francina.; Makhubu_Badenhorst, Rosethal Loli.
    This study investigates how conjunctive writing and other changes have been adopted by students. Students conjunct, omit, substitute and disconjunct substantives, qualificatives, verbs, adverbs and conjunctions. These changes violate the rules of Sesotho orthography in Lesotho. Viewed from the morphological theory, some parts of speech lose their meaning because of conjunctive and disjunctive writing, which in some cases become very difficult to locate in a sentence. This study adopts or uses morphological theory, semantic theory and minimalist program to analyse or to build an argument on the data collected. It also uses a qualitative approach in order to attain holistic results. Data is collected from students’ documents (examination scripts) which later is analysed. Document analysis is appropriate in this study because it allows the researcher to pick up how the students adopt the new style of writing Sesotho. The findings of the study could benefit teachers, students and NCDC. The study recommends that there should be regular workshops for teachers to equip them with technigues on how to teach Sesotho. It also recommends that ECOL revisits the assessment for grade 11, especially the marks awarded for sebopeho-puo ‘grammar’.
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    What about speech acts? A comparative analysis of speech acts in isiZulu and English for the development of business writing skills in English second language learners.
    (2021) Nyangiwe, Bulelwa Lynette.; Tappe, Heike Magdalena Elfriede.
    The current study investigates students' awareness and challenges with using speech acts and politeness in written business correspondence. The research is motivated by the researcher's observations and experience as an English Communication Skills practitioner at the tertiary level. She found that most first-year English second language (L2) students battle with using appropriate speech acts and politeness strategies when writing business correspondence. Furthermore, students struggle with understanding both transactional and interactional functions of business letters. Yet, university graduates must develop and possess effective business writing skills to meet global communication needs because future employers expect their employees to communicate successfully internally, nationally, and internationally with people of various cultures through business correspondence. In addressing these challenges, the study explores to what extent an understanding of isiZulu speech acts and politeness strategies can be used in developing practical written business communication skills for English business communication. Data was collected by a mixed-method approach, using a student questionnaire, a politeness scoring task, focus group interviews and business letters on the speech acts of COMPLAINT and REQUEST in English and isiZulu. A total of 150 first-year tertiary students, who are isiZulu first language and English second-language speakers, participated in the study. The study's findings show that while the students recognize the importance of politeness in business writing and have an awareness of the pragmatic function of speech acts in English and isiZulu, they experience difficulties in choosing the appropriate words that show politeness and achieve the intended meaning in English. The students understand both the transactional and interactional intentions of writing business letters in isiZulu. However, they struggle with performing these language functions when writing the same letters in their L2. The study found that the L1 can be used to enhance pragmatic competence in English business correspondence and intercultural communication. Hence, in the teaching of business communication at the tertiary level, the acknowledgment of the students’ existing competencies in their L1 seems to be crucial in addressing challenges with intercultural communication.
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    Issues in Zimbabwean Ndebele relatives and relativisation.
    (2021) Dube, Progress.; Zeller, Jochen Klaus.; Khumalo, Langa.
    This study discusses issues in relatives and relativisation in Ndebele, a Nguni language that is mainly spoken in western parts of Zimbabwe. The study focuses on four major issues: (1) the status and the position of the prefix a- that occurs in Ndebele relative clauses, (2) the relation between the relative operator/head noun and the resumptive pronoun inside the relative clause, (3) the morphosyntax of predicative adjectives, and (4) the derivation of attributive adjectives in Ndebele. These issues are examined within the parameters of the Distributed Morphology framework (Halle, 1990; Halle & Marantz, 1993; Marantz, 1995; Embick & Noyer, 2007; Embick, 2010; 2012 and others). My main submissions in this thesis are the following: (1) the a- prefix that occurs in Ndebele relative clauses is a complementiser marker. I argue that there is Complementiser-to-Tense head movement that lowers the complementiser head after syntax in the formation of strategy 1 relatives. The lowering of the complementiser head to the Tense head results in the complementiser appearing in an unexpected position in strategy 1 relatives. (2) The relative operator merges as a complement of a resumptive pronoun in an n*P. The relative operator is then extracted and copied to spec C leaving the resumptive pronoun stranded in the relativisation site. I maintain that resumptive pronouns are realisations of the n* layer that selects DPs and that the n* head can be realised as pro, as a resumptive clitic or as a full resumptive pronoun. (3) The subject of the adjective is merged as the argument of the root, and then moves to its surface position. (4) There are three types of adjectives, and all the three types of adjectives are complements of copular verbs. I maintain that the attributive function of adjectives is fulfilled by a relative clause construction rather than by an attributive word mainly because Ndebele does not have an attributive adjective word group.
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    Two types of phrasal compound in cinyanja.
    (2020) Njobvu, Naomi.; Zeller, Jochen Klaus.
    Phrasal compounds such as two-for-the-price-of-one sales pose problems for linguistic theories because they behave like words, but clearly include syntactic phrases. The main aim of this thesis is to analyse two types of phrasal compounds in Cinyanja, the verb-noun (VN)-compounds such as cigona-mubawa, 'drunk' (lit. 'it sleeps-in-bar') and associative (Assc)-compounds such as njinga ya moto, 'motorbike' (lit. 'bicycle of fire'). I argue that these two types of compounds differ in whether or not the phrasal parts inside the compounds are accessible to syntactic rules, i.e. whether or not they are subject to the Lexical Integrity Hypothesis. I show that the phrasal part of VN-compounds obeys Lexical Integrity and is not accessible to syntactic rules such as modification, extraction, or gapping. From this, I conclude that VN-compounds are formed by a process called reification (Harley, 2009), where a phrasal structure is reanalysed as a simple root. In contrast, the phrasal parts inside Assccompounds are accessible to syntactic rules such as pronominalisation, modification and gapping, in violation of Lexical Integrity. I, therefore, analyse the Assc-compounds as (partly transparent) phrasal idioms. My analysis is based on previous work by Carstens (1991, 2008, 2018) on the syntax of Bantu noun phrases, Harley’s (2009) analysis of phrasal compounds in the Distributed Morphology framework, and Jackendoff’s (1997) theory of lexical licensing, as applied to phrasal idioms. My results inform our understanding of the processes of compound formation as well as the analysis and lexical representation of phrasal idioms.
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    Multilingual writing pedagogy for African languages in the monolingual education setting: literacy development for multilingual children in Rwanda (Grades 1-3)
    Amini Ngabonziza, Jean De Dieu.; Heike, Tappe Magdalena Elfriede.
    This study investigates multilingual literacy practices in Rwanda. It first assesses selected writings produced by young children whose L1 is Oluchiga while learning writing skills in Kinyarwanda (L2) in Grade 1 to Grade 3. This assessment of writing specimens aimed at identifying morphosyntactic intrusion from the L1 to the L2. Secondly, the study examined the local teachers‘ literacy pedagogy practices while teaching writing in Kinyarwanda to native speakers of Oluchiga in lower primary (Grades 1-3). This consisted of the analysis of teaching practices and attitudes towards L2 and L1. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, classroom observations and a corpus of the learners‘ writing. The data collection and analysis was informed by the mixed method of combining qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative data collection consisted of compiling a corpus of 109 texts of learners‘ past writing exercises. This helped to determine the L1 influence on L2 writing through morphosyntactic analysis. The qualitative data were collected using both semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. The semi-structured interviews were conducted with grades 1-3 learners and their literacy teachers to understand their attitudes towards Oluchiga (L1) and Kinyarwanda (L2). The interviews with teachers helped also to explore the teachers‘ own views on how they use literacy pedagogy strategies to cope with the disparity between the multilingual realities on the ground and the monolingual educational policy in Rwanda (grades 1 to 3). The findings of this study show that local literacy teachers adopted multilingual approaches to teaching writing in Kinyarwanda (L2) to learners speaking Oluchiga (L1), regardless of the national policy of a monolingual teaching approach. The findings of this study are twofold: on the one hand, the results of the theoretical linguistic findings revealed the types of transfer errors from L1 to L2 and consequently the L1 influence on the L2, both negative and positive. The types of transfer errors identified in this study are (1) concordial agreement errors (affixes, noun class markers, adjectives and demonstrative markers); (2) errors in the agglutinative structure of words (augment and phonological transfer errors); and (3) lexical transfer errors. The analysis of the findings revealed the influence of the L1 on L2 writing in terms of concordial agreement of sentences and agglutinative structure of words. The concordial agreement patterns are violations of the subject-verb-object agreement and transfer errors of tense markers (affixes determining future and present tense). It was found that learners, by retaining L1 structure (in some instances) and by substitution of consonants /k/ for /c/ and /s/ for /ʃ/, violated the Kinyarwanda agglutinative structure of words as a result of L1 influence on L2. These results were discussed in the light of cross-linguistic influence and supported the prediction of the Typological Primacy Model (TPM). The results of this study showed positive and negative transfer errors as predicted by TPM. The occurrence of negative and positive transfer was explained as the result of the linguistic closeness of L1 and L2 (in this study, similar morphosyntactic or lexical structures between L1 and L2). The findings of this study do not support the CEM prediction that there are only positive transfer errors from L1 to L2. The findings on the influence of Oluchiga (L1) on Kinyarwanda writing (L2) were discussed in terms of the possibility that language acquisition is not cumulative as predicted by CEM. It is possible that languages in contact are in continuum and influence each other during learning and actual communication. This was also argued in the applied linguistics findings of this study. On the other hand, the applied linguistics findings showed that local literacy teachers explored the influence of L1 on L2 writing as a language teaching approach that bridges the transition between home language and school language. That approach was termed the multilingual proximity teaching method in this study and it consists of teaching L2 by explaining to learners the similarities and differences between L1 and L2. This approach was argued to be multilingual because it allows the use of two languages in the classroom. In addition, the local literacy teachers who were observed reported using translanguaging approaches such as multimodality, even though they reported that they are not confident that they are doing the right thing. The study concludes with advocacy for multilingualism in education in Rwanda.
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    A critical discourse analysis, through deconstruction and reconstruction of Grade 8 English language textbooks in light of the Hizmet humanistic philosophy for the purpose of character education.
    (2019) Duymun-Demirtaş, Naailah.; Wildsmith-Cromarty, Rosemary.
    The English language textbook as a vehicle of linguistic and general knowledge can at times contain topics which may not be appropriate for the diverse learners in a South African Grade 8 classroom. The focus of this research is on the deconstruction before the subsequent reconstruction of texts from selected Grade 8 English language textbooks to uncover hidden ideologies1 as well as power relations and naturalized subject constructions and assumptions which could impact on learners. The samples are of multimodal texts on topics such as teenage love and dating. The concept of metadiscourse as the voice of the author is also explored in terms of its influence on learners. Through the presentation of these topics and the assumption of authors, learners are all positioned as promiscuous sensual beings ready for romance. The theoretical and methodological frameworks comprise critical discourse analysis and eclectic theories and methods such as systemic functional grammar, appraisal theory, multimodality, and Thompson’s modes of operation of ideology. These are also used as analytical deconstruction and reconstruction tools. Textual fragments are reconstructed in light of character education and humanism, and subjects are re- imagined and re-presented to allow access to learners from multiple habitus. The aim of the reconstruction is to orient learners humanistically through the Hizmet2 /service philosophy towards universal values and ethics, with the hope of bringing up social capital in terms of a future of Golden Generation of quality individuals who will serve humanity with good morals.
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    Towards an emerging "coconut tree missiological imagination" : an enquiry into climate change and its relevance for ministerial formation at Tangintebu Theological College
    (2018) Timon, Tioti.; Hewitt, Roderick Raphael.
    This study examines the ways in which the phenomenon of climate change is affecting the people, indigenous culture, and environment of the Micronesian island nation of Kiribati, in the South Pacific. Even though climate change impact is a global issue, this study focusses on the mission of the Kiribati Uniting Church in Kiribati in the context of global warming and sea level rise. It utilised the emerging indigenous missional concept of coconut tree theology to interface with the realities of climate change within the context of Kiribati. A missiological lens is therefore employed to interrogate the relevance of the ministerial formation curriculum at Tangintebu Theological College that is used to equip local ministerial students of the Kiribati Uniting Church and how they can respond to the life-threatening challenges of climate change. The study argues that when the church fails in its mission in developing a proactive and indigenously-informed approach to addressing environmental issues, then the fullness of life that is embedded within its missio-ecclesial identity and vocation that is bequeath by Jesus (John 10:10) will not be realised. In the context of climate change where people’s future on this planet is being negatively compromised, Christians, especially within the vast Pacific Region,1 must focus more on developing a theology of creation to respond to the contemporary environment threats to life rather than giving a very narrow evangelising focus to classical theological themes such as sin, redemption and judgment. Serious attention must therefore be given to addressing the wider environmental concerns, and to developing a vision of justice and human equality that needs to be embedded, in the wider theological educational curriculum (Conradie, 2009:42-43). The significance of this study is that it brings into conversation indigenous knowledge perspectives that have evolved through an emerging coconut tree missional and the 1 Pacific is a foreign prescribed name and not one given by the local people. According to the National Oceanic Service, the term Pacific was coined by Portuguese navigator Ferdinan Magellan who in 1519 on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean seeking a western route to the Spice Island via South America came across the ocean and its calm and peaceful nature, leading him to designate the name (National Ocean Service 2017). viii local narratives of the Kiribati people through a qualitative study which included questionnaires, in-depth interviews, observation and a collection of songs in which indigenous express their eco-relationality and interpretation of the environmental challenges of climate change. This study therefore necessitated an in-depth examination of the role that the church and the Tangintebu Theological College plays in equipping clergy leadership to respond to environmental and human challenges of climate change, and the extent to which the environmental and ecological issues are integrated into the development of the overall theological curriculum (PCC Report, 2007:107-108).
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    Church and poverty : towards a prophetic solidarity model for the United Church of Zambia's participation in poverty eradication in Zambia.
    (2018) Simukonda, Joseph Darius.; Le Bruyns, Clint Charles.
    Religion is one of the forces that is strategically positioned in society to contribute to the socioeconomic development. Both secular and religious organisations are unanimous that religion should be a critical partner in the development agenda. This study systematically explores how prophetic solidarity model could help the UCZ to move from merely participating in poverty eradication to become the church of the margins in search for a poverty free society. The study argues that, prophetic solidarity model may help the UCZ to understand that poverty eradication is an aspect of the mission of God in the world and any Church that claim to be an agent of mission can only do so in solidarity with the margins. This means that the UCZ should move beyond bandage approach to poverty to understanding the key underlying causes of poverty through social analysis and critical policy engagement. This demands that the UCZ should reconceptualise God’s mission in terms of transforming political structures and policy transformation in solidarity with the poor. This will mean that the UCZ will no longer claim to be listening to the voices of the margins, since she will now function as the church of the marginalised in struggle and in solidarity with the margins against socioeconomic and political oppression and exploitation in the Zambian context. In order to enhance the prophetic solidarity engagement of the UCZ in the context of socioeconomic and political uncertainty, this study delved into David Korten’s theory of development that seeks to address poverty by dealing with the root cause of poverty; liberation theology that calls the church to be involved in political and civic affairs of society by exposing any form of exploitation and injustices; the theory of mission from the margins that seeks to empower the poor so that they can become agents of transformation; public theology that seeks the presence of the church in public space to engage in policy formulation and many others issues that boarder on the well-being of God’s people; and lastly, in chapter seven, the study reflected on Jesus as a model for prophetic engagement where it has been revealed that, Jesus stands out as an example for the church’s prophetic engagement with poverty, for he was not just a religious leader but also a political activist who confronted structures, institutions, authorities and systems that oppressed the poor.
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    Semantic disparities and discrepancies in translations of the Holy Qur’an into English.
    (2016) Muhammad, Muhammad Sulieman Adam.; Ebrahim, Abul Fadl Mohsin.; Olivier, Stephen.
    This is a comparative analysis of selected verses from a number of Sûrahs (or Chapters) in six English translations of the Holy Qur‟ân, at a sentence, clause, phrase, word and, where useful, the morpheme level, using the original Arabic version as the Source Text. The translated version of the Holy Qur‟ân of the Complex of Madinah Munawarrah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be used as a Control Text in order to determine the significant semantic disparities and discrepancies between the translations, as well as to identify the possible reasons for differences. It was important, further, to ensure that the translators chosen for this study have different educational, cultural and social backgrounds in order to establish, for instance, the consequences when Arabic is the native language of a translator in comparison to the other extreme where a translator is a native-speaker of neither Arabic nor English. Special attention is paid to the way in which the translations reflect the poetic prosody of the original source text as well as to the influences of the aims, the approaches, the techniques, the styles and the common problems of translation in general, such as the incongruities of languages, the cultural barriers between the communities, the concepts of accuracy, loyalty and fidelity to the original text.
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    A critical analysis of the relationship between literacy and disadvantage: a case study of grade 11 literacy practices in a township school.
    (2016) Haricharan, Dhanwanthie.; Manik, Sadhana.
    South Africa is currently in an educational crisis as evidenced by the performance of learners in a myriad of high stakes tests that they are exposed to. It has been established that this state of crisis is strongly correlated with the literacy levels of learners. The performance on the aforementioned tests are aligned with those who hail from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, performing overwhelmingly worse than those who do not. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between literacy and disadvantage. The objectives of the study were to interrogate the literacy practices in school and to identify the ways in which disadvantage manifested itself within these literacy practices. In order to investigate these critical issues, a case study was conducted. One grade 11 class located in a township school formed the case of study. Data was gathered using classroom observations, post observation interviews, focus group interviews with the learners and with the teachers, a semi-structured interview with the principal and a questionnaire for the learners. Reading, writing, speaking and practical literacy practices were observed in the classroom. It was found that there was the general lack of a culture of reading amongst the learners and so the learners’ level of reading was below grade level. Writing was emphasized in class or given as homework with much of the writing centering on note-taking. Learners had to work in an environment where there was a chronic lack of resources (such as textbooks) which impacted on their literacy practices. The teaching and learning environment in which the literacies were embedded was characterized by a lack of suitable reading and writing instruction (in all of their subjects), feedback and practical science literacy. There were however, instances where teachers successfully and practically demonstrated particular tasks. The interactions in the classroom were dominated by the teacher-talk. There was language fluidity in these interactions as teachers used multilingual resources such as code-switching and transliteration to facilitate learning. Teachers also employed innovative teaching strategies. Further analysis of the data showed that disadvantage manifested in literacy practices in both obvious (such as lack of resources) and subtle ways (such as attitudes and social behaviours). The ways in which disadvantage manifested in the literacy practices also differed amongst the different literacy practices. An ecological theory for literacy development was used in order to understand the extent to which literacy development is context dependent and thus more susceptible to influence from situational factors of disadvantage such as poverty, ideology, pedagogy etc. This perspective revealed a nuanced relationship between literacy and disadvantage and concluded that literacy is the product of the individual and his/her environment (which comprises the micro, meso, exo and macro systems)
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    Language attitudes as a change agent for language vitality : a case study of two Khoesan languages in Platfontein (RSA).
    (2017) Jones, Kerry Lee.; Tappe, Heike Magdalena Elfriede.
    Khoesan languages are considered an endangered language family. This study investigates how language attitudes influence language vitality intergenerationally in a case study of two Khoesan languages, namely !Xun and Khwedam. The case study investigates two extended families, one of !Xun, one of Khwedam speakers, respectively, in Platfontein, South Africa. Language attitudes are defined according to the tripartite model first suggested by Baker (1992:15) consisting of (1) knowledge (contextual knowledge), (2) emotion (emotional reactions) and (3) behaviour (behavioural predispositions). Language attitudes were determined through an ethnographic approach that included interviews and observations over a period of two years. Moreover, extra-linguistic factors were considered in the assessment of language attitudes in this study. Results reveal that both the !Xun and the Khwe family expressed indepth knowledge of the social, political, historical and economical significance of their mother tongues. Emotional reactions towards their mother tongues were strongly positive for both speech communities. However, among the !Xun the ancestral language was especially revered. This difference in attitudes may reflect differences in the family trees of the two extended families investigated: The !Xun family consists of five generations with a number of family members who are older than 60 years residing in Platfontein. In contrast, this older generation is absent in the Khwe family. Perceived language use as accounted for by participants and as observed in the field, revealed that speakers of both languages predominately used their mother tongue in and around the home. A change in lifestyle from nomadic hunter gatherers to a ‘westernised’ sedentary life resulted in the loss of cultural practices, such as traditional wedding ceremonies and traditional trance dance healing practices. Lifestyle changes, furthermore introduced ‘new’ language settings, such as formal education, formal employment, government services, church, media and technology, which are largely inaccessible in Khoesan languages. Hence, strong positive language attitudes towards their mother tongue may not suffice to secure the vitality of !Xun and the Khwedam spoken by these families. Without intervention, a language shift to Afrikaans, the socially and politically dominant language in the area, is likely to occur in these families.
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    Le marronnage paradigmatique dans la littérature africaine francophone contemporaine : d' Ahmadou Kourouma à Kossi Efoui.
    (2016) Awezaye, Mwilarhe Philip Ciza.; De Meyer, Bernard Albert Marcel Sylvain.
    This research considers two authors Ahamdou Kourouma and Kossi Efoui in a context of paradigm shift to query the contemporary Francophone African literature discourse. The assumption about contemporary African Francophone literature is that a literary discourse should not be parochial to a culture, to a nation or to a continent. Such discourse in being confronted to different geographical space and time, challenges the idealisation of historical literary paradigms especially when they are used for the mere sake of past and present victimisation and identity claims. In challenging confined ideologies and paradigms in space and time, a writer aims at universal readership and recognition. The literary texts in Africa, seen through the length of colonialism and slavery, prone the writer to a rough and brutal spectrum of imaginary. Hence parochial and militant paradigms such as Negritude and Bantu ethnology dominated literary production before and after the independence of African countries. These paradigms idealised the black race and were obsessed with retrieving the history of the continent before colonialism; with the intention of exorcising the inferiority complex inflicted not only by colonialism but also by slavery. For this research, such paradigms are considered as "masters" with cannon status for the sake of our corpus (Kossi Efoui’s novels) conceptual analysis. In order to analyse Kossi Efoui’s novels, the choice of the concept marronnage is important as it sets the operational space for a writer who wants to free himself or herself from literary parochial and canonical paradigms’ influences. Hence, the aim of the research is to show that in moving away from aspects of social constructs, philosophical particularities and political fiascos with regard to the evolution of African literature, Kossi Efoui has managed to break the myth of ontological and social isolation of the African continent. The analysis of cultural and identity aspects in Les Soleils des indépendances, a novel by Ahmadou Kourouma, has consolidated such a claim. The Kourouma’s cited novel is considered, in this research, as a text that set the path for a paradigm shift in the Francophone literary field in Africa. In addition Les Soleils des indépendances has aided to establish a trend from certain African social, political and cultural practices. This trend is seen as the premise to Kossi Efoui’s literary endeavours to shift the African literature paradigm and contest the “status quo”. However, the research has supported at the same time that, despite claiming to be a universal writer, Kossi Efoui remains entangled in a struggle. The struggle is first to be recognised of a writer (artist) without any cultural and national labels. In actual fact, Kossi Efoui’s novels are still generally confronted to issues of identity. Nevertheless he uses various elaborated literary styles and strategies destined to deconstruct the parochial traditional African world view and to challenge the nexus from the African historical stagnation. This research refers to Bourdieu, N’Goran and Fonkoua on the concept of literary field with the aim of showing how Kossi Efoui falls in the general classification of African writers living abroad, who are trying to break the boundaries and proclaim universalism. They live in cross worlds and cross-cultural hybridity. Three major parts will shape this research: the first part is based on the theoretical framework in which different literary theories together with a targeted literary analysis of a novel considered as a founding text, The Sun of independence by Ahmadou Kourouma, are setting the path to confront Kossi Efoui’s novels. This confrontation will involve features, generally related to traditional and social life in Africa but also to philosophical considerations which will show whether his approach is theoretically different in using the “marronnage” rhetoric. The second part is an analysis of the first two novels of Kossi Efoui: La Polka and La fabrique des cérémonies. The analysis shows paradoxes between universalism and parochial approach to African literature in Kossi Efoui’s discourse as he uses literary devices such as motions intrigues, media, dance, border crossings, chaotic décor and masks. The third part builds the same trajectory of ambiguities in the literary discourse. Nonetheless the analysis emphasizes the ontological and historical impacts of events such as genocide, colonisation and slavery on the African continent. The conclusion shows that Kossi Efoui does not totally represent the claim made in the premises of this research in terms of total paradigm shift. There is a profound sense that he is still in search of a universal recognition. One would think that the obvious paradigm in Efoui’s novels is that literature should be looked at, first and foremost, as art beyond cultural, political, philosophical and social perceptions. However, it is evident that human conditions, ontological, geographic and economical contradictions, build a setback to such a claim. African literature, even when produced in the diaspora, is still subjected to the persistent classification, hierarchies, chaos and violence in the imaginary as well as the influence of cultural and political realities from the country of origin of respective writers.
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    (2016) Ngoboka, Jean Paul.; Zeller, Jochen Klaus.
    This study, titled Locatives in Kinyarwanda, is about Kinyarwanda, a language spoken in Rwanda and its neighboring countries. It aims to investigate issues related to locatives and locative constructions in Kinyarwanda, namely, locative markers, locative shift, and locative inversion and related constructions. The issues investigated are the following: the syntactic status of the locative markers ku-, mu-, and i- of classes 17, 18, and 19, respectively, and the corresponding locative elements hó, mó and yó; the derivation of locative shift and locative inversion, the question of whether the preposed locative DPs/expressions are base-generated in the preverbal position or whether they are the result of movement from the postverbal position, and whether they are subjects or topics. The study is conducted within the framework of the Minimalist Program, with phase theory and Locality (the Minimal Link Condition) playing a prominent role in my analysis. These theories are complemented by a theory of small clauses as Relator phrases (Den Dikken, 2006, 2007), and incorporation theory (Baker, 1988). The study shows that, despite having the semantic properties of prepositions, syntactically, the Kinyarwanda locative markers ku-, mu-, and i- are determiners similarly to augments and demonstratives. It is shown that the locative elements hó, mó, and yó are clitics and that they are derived either morphologically by combining the locative marker with the pronominal root -ó or syntactically by incorporation of a locative D-head into a functional head that is realized by this pronominal stem. It is shown that locative shift and different types of locative inversion involve a small clause in their derivation. The main claim defended in this thesis is that these constructions are based on the same syntactic configuration and derivational processes: a locative D-head, realized as a locative marker, selects a Locative DP to form a "big" locative DP; when the locative marker incorporates into the functional head that selects the "big DP", the Locative DP moves from the small clause to the specifier of a higher functional head (the so-called Linker in Locative shift constructions, and T in locative inversion constructions). It is also shown that Locative DPs in semantic locative inversion are structural subjects, whereas the preposed locative expressions in formal locative inversion are topics which are base-generated in the left periphery, from where they bind a locative pro in the subject position.
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    Language typology and l3 transfer phenomena in adult learners : the case of lingala-French speakers learning English.
    (2017) Kabasele, Philothe Mwamba.; Heike, Tappe Magdalena Elfriede.
    Abstract available in PDF file.
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    La représentation de l’hégémonie, le pouvoir et la migration dans les romans sélectionnés d’Abdourahman A. Waberi, Nadifa Mohamed et Ken Bugul.
    (2017) Chilembwe, Maxwell Kelvin Dziko.; De Meyer, Bernard Albert Marcel Sylvain.
    Abstract available in PDF file.
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    Text comprehension in multilingual children : mental representation and narrative text structure.
    (2014) Hara, Agness Bernadette Chimangeni.; Tappe, Heike Magdalena Elfriede.
    Investigations of children‘s narrative text structure are necessary because narrative abilities are linked to literacy development and academic achievement (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001). Information contained in a narrative may reflect a child‘s use of decontextualised, literate language features (Curenton & Justice, 2004). Moreover, storytelling may lead to higher-order thinking including causal reasoning because children not only recall events from text or film but also generate inferences therefrom. Investigations that consider children‘s narrative text structure are vital in multicultural and multi-linguistic societies ―in order to not only preserve cultural and linguistic diversity, but also to support students who find themselves in educational environments in which their cultural and linguistic practices are misaligned with the language(s) of teaching and learning‖ (Tappe & Hara, 2013, p. 299). This study set out to examine the effects of language and medium of presentation on the narrative text structure in the [re]tellings of multilingual children through the use of the Narrative Scoring Scheme (NSS) (Heilmann et al., 2010a, 2010b). This study also aimed to investigate whether the [re]tellings by children with Chichewa as their primary language (L1) and English as their language of teaching and learning conform to the NSS, in other words, whether their [re]tellings conform to canonical scoring schemas that are widely used as diagnostic tools to measure the narrative competence of children – irrespective of the children‘s primary language(s). The participants in this study numbered 127 children (64 female, 63 male) whose age range was 10 to 12 years (44 10-year-olds, 40 11-year-olds and 43 12-year-olds). The results have revealed that the two languages themselves (Chichewa and English) that were used in story production and the medium of the stimulus presentation do not have a significant influence on the frequency of realisation of the canonical narrative text structure elements (Heilmann et al., 2010a, 2010b) in the children‘s [re]tellings. The children obtained low mean scores for certain elements (i.e. elements 1 and 3) and high mean scores for other elements (i.e. elements 2 and 7) irrespective of the language or medium of presentation or the school type. Importantly, the results have demonstrated that the [re]tellings by children with a Southern African primary language (Chichewa) do not conform to the Narrative Scoring Scheme (that is, the canonical scoring schemas). The results reveal that the children seem to possess a story grammar (i.e. a Southern African story grammar) that has strong leanings towards elements that are associated with Southern African folktales. The Southern African story grammar appears to be different from Stein and Glenn‘s (1979) story grammar and other versions of story grammar that researchers developed from Stein and Glenn‘s (1979) story grammar (see Anderson & Evans, 1996). Two main arguments have been made in this study. The first argument is that the ‗universality‘ of the canonical narrative text structure may not be valid because the children‘s [re]tellings seem to have been significantly influenced by elements from Southern African folktales. In the consequence the children demonstrated limited performance in some of the elements associated with the canonical scoring schemas. The second argument is that the canonical scoring schemas for narrative text structure available in the literature may not be appropriate when analysing stories narrated by children with a Southern African language as their primary language. This study recommends that further research be done to investigate narrative skills of Southern African children in order to explore the Southern African story grammar proposal in greater depth. Additionally, it recommends that further research be conducted in languages which have been under-represented in or absent from text comprehension research. Existing research has not concentrated enough on macrostructural differences between texts produced in different languages; more research is therefore required to assess language- and culture-specific narrative text structure elements.
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    Cultures et représentations d'un champ disciplinaire en évolution :$ble cas de la littérature au sein des études franc̨aises à l'université en Afrique du Sud.
    (2013) Horne, Fiona Lindsay.; Balladon, Francesca Emma.; Fraisse, Emmanuel.
    The purpose of this study is to investigate the evolution of cultures and representations in the field of French Studies at tertiary level in South Africa, in order to gauge its impact on the teaching of Literature. The field of French Studies, traditionally divided into the areas of language and literature, has gone through a series of far-reaching changes over the last few years, in line with global trends but also as part of the transformation of the South African educational, socio-economic and cultural landscape. This has manifested itself in a shift from a literary ‘academic’ culture to more functional, skillsbased teaching cultures, embodied in the field of French Studies, by the emergence of the discipline of French foreign language didactics. As a result, the identity of the discipline, traditionally dominated by literary studies, has been called into question, as well as the teaching approaches, content, aims and outcomes of French Studies. This study investigates representations of academics with regard to these changes, as well as the shift in disciplinary research and teaching cultures, by drawing on the values, practices and epistemological fields of language didactics and literary studies and their interaction within the wider field of French Studies. It further examines the specificity of teaching and learning literature in a foreign language environment and its relationship to established and emerging teaching cultures. The question of the evolution of teaching cultures points to the actors who define this context, that is, the academics, the students and their relationship to the literary text as a scholarly object. This study focuses in particular on academics’ profiles and representations and the construction of their relationship to the literary text in teaching and research. The knowledge, skills, perceptions, habits and values specific to these relationships underpin the overarching notion of ‘culture’ which are analysed through representations. Aspects of disciplinary, educational and interpretative cultures and representations are highlighted from the viewpoint of literature as a dialectical construction between individual reader and text and reader and culture and textual practices. With this in mind, the study explores the question of the complex identity particular to French Studies, the challenges the discipline is facing at a turning point in its disciplinary history, and the function of literature within this shifting field. Finally, it sheds light on the crucial role culture and representation play within academic disciplines.