Doctoral Degrees (General Linguistics)

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    Linguistic practices, language ideologies, and linguistic repertoires of isiXhosa-speaking families in Western Cape homes
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Nozewu, Asithandile Esona; Oostendorp, Marcelyn; Southwood, Frenette, 1971-
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : This dissertation investigated the linguistic repertoires, language ideologies and language practices of three isiXhosa-speaking families in the Western Cape. It investigated how the linguistic repertoires, language ideologies, and language practices shaped the family language policy (FLP) of each of the families. Cape Town, the capitol of the Western Cape Province, is regarded as South Africa’s most segregated city (Turok et al. 2021: 71). Since I was interested in how contextual factors shaped the families’ FLPs, I deliberately chose families living in different residential areas within the Cape Metropole. One family resides in the township Langa, where 92% of the inhabitants are isiXhosa mother tongue speakers (General Census 2011). The second family resides in Parklands, a predominantly English-speaking neighbourhood (General Census 2011). The third family resides in Belhar, which was previously classified as a coloured area and in which the language that is widely used is Afrikaans (see General Census 2011). Currently, sociolinguistic and applied linguistics studies on isiXhosa are mostly conducted in the school system, and a focus on home linguistic practices are almost entirely absent. Home linguistic practices and FLP are severely under-investigated in African contexts. I relate the data obtained from this study with Ricento and Hornberger’s (1996) notion of the multilayered onion: They argued that various components, including “agents, levels and processes”, form layers that together make up the whole of language planning and policy. The various components of this onion “permeate and interact with each other in a variety of ways and to varying degrees” (Ricento and Hornberger 1996: 401). This metaphor resonated with me as I saw in my data how both explicit and implicit decisions about language in the families I studied was shaped by a variety of factors: Their linguistic practices were shaped by the linguistic repertoires they had access to, the language ideologies they held, and their lived experience of language. In addition, factors such as time and space, and institutions and access to these institutions also shaped the decisions (or non-decisions) that parents made concerning their FLPs. Based on the data obtained, these factors are entangled with South Africa’s apartheid and colonial past and affect families in non-uniform manners.
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    Time, space, and identity in Pope memes : a multimodal analysis
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Klingbeil, Chantal J.; Oostendorp, Marcelyn; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: nternet memes do not provoke a lot of debate or analysis, and serious scrutiny of them seems to be avoided. In this dissertation I want to argue that memes can be a useful area of study as they are a distinctive form of communication that makes it possible to analyze broader multimodal forms. This study makes use of a combination of multimodal discourse analysis (Kress and Van Leeuwen 1996; Iedema 2003a) and Bakhtin’s (1981, 1986) conceptualization of discourse to explore Pope Francis memes. The study probes the texts and discourses selected by meme creators and the way in which time and space is multimodally constructed in Pope Francis memes. The texts and discourses selected by meme creators to construct the identity of Pope Francis through these memes are also examined. This study seeks to provide a flexible theoretical framework, which could be used for the analysis of data that combines verbal and visual modes. It also wishes to demonstrate that internet memes, with their deceptive appearance of triviality, are a distinctive form of communication, the study of which can be useful in testing the theoretical underpinnings of communicative theory. The findings suggest that memes provide challenges to how discourse has generally been viewed in linguistic theory and argues for a chronotopic, multimodal, and dynamic view of communication.
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    Predictive variables in lifelong bilingualism : an exploratory study probing the effects of L2 English on L1 Afrikaans syntax
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Van Heukelum, Marie-Louise; Biberauer, Theresa; Bylund, Emanuel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This exploratory study is concerned with effects of the second language on the first (EotSLotF). It specifically aims to probe the extent to which it is possible to establish whether and, if so, how the morphosyntactic system of Afrikaans as a first language (L1) changes under the influence of English as a second language (L2) as a result of language exposure and use across the lifespan. Research focussing on EotSLotF is typically concerned with either heritage language (HL) development or L1 attrition. The present study investigates variables typical of both HL development (i.e. exposure/use in childhood/adolescence) and L1 attrition (i.e. exposure/use in adulthood), thus bringing these two sub-fields together in an attempt to deepen our understanding of how L1 Afrikaans develops under the influence of L2 English across the lifespan. Tsimpli (2014) argues for a three-way distinction in L1 grammatical development between early, late and very late properties: early properties turn on narrow syntax, while late and very late properties require syntax- and potentially language-external mapping. Similarly, studies of L1 attrition show crucial differences between early/narrow-syntax and late/interface- driven properties: the former are suggested to be less vulnerable to attrition as they incur fewer processing-related challenges. This observation is central to the so-called Interface Hypothesis (IH; Sorace & Filiaci, 2006 et seq.). This study tests the early-acquired/interface-internal versus late-acquired/interface-external asymmetry in Afrikaans-English bilinguals, a language combination and population not previously investigated within the IH framework. 166 participants in South Africa and the diaspora completed (i) a language background questionnaire, (ii) an acceptability judgement task (AJT), and (iii) a contextualised acceptability judgement task (CAJT). Five syntactic properties of Afrikaans, which differ with respect to their sensitive periods and their relationship to the interfaces, were investigated: (i) Verb Second (V2), (ii) basic sentential negation, (iii) double negation (DN), (iv) pronominal scrambling, and (v) discourse-driven scrambling. The study also takes into account sociolinguistic variation: both what is prescriptively sanctioned in Standard Afrikaans (StdA) and what is permissible in Modern Spoken Afrikaans (MsA) is investigated. The results reveal that, overall, variation indicative of EotSLotF appears to be minimal in the population under investigation. The earlier-acquired properties of the narrow syntax/internal interfaces, while not impervious to the effects of differing amounts of L1/L2 exposure and use, in particular exhibit remarkable stability. The MsA judgement patterns suggest that more frequent exposure to and use of Afrikaans is facilitative in predicting “target- like” behaviour. Where variation indicative of EotSLotF is evidenced, the patterns are, in some cases, similar to those seen in traditional HS populations. The results also suggest, however, that language-specific sociolinguistic and language-internal factors may be centrally relevant. The picture that emerges is that the IH is a useful framework for probing L1 (in)stability under the influence of an L2 in populations resembling the Afrikaans-English type. However, beyond sensitive-period and interface considerations, language-specific factors appear to play a non-trivial role in the more fine-grained shaping of the L1 grammar. These factors therefore appear to warrant special attention in research concerned with EotSLotF.
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    Investigating evidence of linguistic relativity in Dholuo
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03) Ogelo, Awino; Spangberg, Manne Bylund; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An age old question within the language sciences has been whether linguistic experience influences how people perceive reality. The possible linguistic influence on thought is what is known as linguistic relativity. Experimentally rigorous psycholinguistic approaches provide an understanding of this kind of relationship between language and thought. These empirical techniques have been adopted in this study to investigate evidence of linguistic relativity in Dholuo. The study specifically explores relativity effects as evidenced in the behaviour of Dholuo-EnglishKiswahili (DEK) multilingual individuals. The investigations were carried out under the linguistic domains of stasis (spatial frames) and kinesis (motion events), both wrapped within the spatial realm. Each of the domains was probed both at a linguistic and a non-linguistic level. A total of two hundred and thirty DEK multilingual speakers were engaged through the photo-object spatial reference frames task, the mirror image task, the verbal motion event construal task and the nonverbal motion event categorization task. Additionally, forty first language (L1) Kiswahili speakers were also engaged through the verbal motion event construal task and the non-verbal motion event categorization task. The latter group was included for comparison. These experiments were conducted under different language contexts; for the DEK group, the spatial reference tasks were carried out both in Dholuo and English; the motion event tasks were performed under Dholuo, English and Kiswahili contexts; while the L1-Kiswahili group performed under Kiswahili context. The results of the investigations were analysed and interpreted through the theoretical lenses of the thinking-for-speaking hypothesis, the grammatical aspect approach, multicompetence theory as well as cognitive grammar. For the investigations on spatial reference frames, the findings revealed an unrestricted availability of multiple spatial reference frames in Dholuo – a state referred to as “referential promiscuity”. The multiplicity of the spatial reference frames was linked to but not directly attributed to the multicompetence of the DEK participants. The linguistic promiscuous state of Dholuo provides multiple options for Dholuo speakers to spatially encode phenomena in a way that is missing in other languages which have a single spatial frame. This is a case of linguistic relativity at the linguistic level. In the motion event experiments, the findings revealed that Dholuo construes motion events by focussing on the ongoing phase of the events, a behaviour that is typical of languages that grammatically mark aspectual distinctions. The grammatical aspect hypothesis attributes the preference for the restricted viewpoint to the imperfective (progressive) aspect in these languages. Dholuo thus aligns with grammatical aspect hypothesis as would be expected of aspect languages. The restricted viewpoint of motion event obligatorily imposed on the Dholuo speakers by the imperfective (progressive aspect) in the language is proof of linguistic relativity at the linguistic level. The L1-Kiswahili group’s findings were similar to those of the DEK group. The study however failed to show sufficient evidence of linguistic relativity at the non-linguistic level for both the spatial reference and the motion event investigations. Instead there was evidence of conceptual convergence due to possibly a shared grammatical category of Dholuo, English and Kiswahili at the non-linguistic level of the motion event tasks.
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    Literacy practices in and out of school in multilingual Kenya : an ethnographic study of Tana River County
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03) Abiyo, Rehema Bona; Oostendorp, Marcelyn; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.
    ENGLISH ABTRACT: This dissertation investigated the literacy practices in the multilingual context of Tana River County, Kenya. It aimed to understand the types of literacy practices children are exposed to, and engaged in, both in and out of school. The study was guided by the theoretical framework of ‘Critical Literacy’ (Freire, 1996). Within this broader framework of critical literacy, two specific theoretical concepts were used to understand the specific context, namely ‘Multiliteracies’ (The New London Group, 1996) and ‘Linguistic Citizenship’ (Stroud, 2001). The research was conducted in the Tana River County of Kenya, specifically within the Tsana village of the Pokomo language speakers’ community. The research used a qualitative design and the methodology used was linguistic ethnography. The participants in the study included teachers, grade 3 students and their parents. Data collection instruments for this included in-depth interviews, observations, documents analysis, children’s written narratives, and collection of literacy artifacts and linguistic landscapes. Data were collected over six months and analysed through thematic analysis. Findings from this study revealed that in this community the children are exposed to different literacy practices within the school and the community. The literacy resources in school are available in English which is the language of school. Within the community, the literacy practices are mostly articulated in the local languages. The literacy practices in this community are complex and presented themselves in a way that local languages can be appreciated. While the Pokomo language was missing in the school, it was used extensively for local practices such as village public announcements. In addition, Pokomo was present in the linguistic landscape of the village such as on murals, and traditional artifacts. This shows that the members of the Tsana village still value their local language and showcase it in unique places. The study also revealed that on one hand, teachers were not giving access to all available literacy materials (such as the tablets and mother tongue storybooks) for the learners in the classroom despite their availability in the school. The homes of the children were mostly literacy poor, and there was minimal parental involvement in the learning of the children. Through the children’s narrative writing activity, the study also revealed that children are very resourceful. Their relationship in meaning-making has an emotional link to their homes, to their out-of-school literacy experiences, and their relationship to writing is intimately linked to their experiences of schooling. By acknowledging the value of what learners bring from their informal learning from their homes to school, teachers can tap into the strengths of the learners and build them in the classroom as a way of multimodal learning that utilizes local resources.