Linguists acknowledged at research expo

20 May 2014 - 12:00

The winning team from Linguistics pictured L-R: Sheena Shah, Alida Chevalier and Yolandi Ribbens-Klein. Photograph by Tessa Schoeman 


UCT Libraries and the UCT Postgraduate Studies Office staged a joint Research Week on upper campus from 12-16 May. The initiative featured a postgraduate research expo where Faculties were able to showcase the best of their postgraduate research material. Three Humanities researchers received recognition for their contribution in the field of Linguistics.

The focus of UCT Research Week was on research and publication in South Africa, research ethics and on promoting access to open scholarship opportunities. Hosted by the Postgraduate Studies Office, the aim of the research expo was to profile excellence and creativity in research across the institution. As part of the research expo, 46 postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows were selected to showcase and elaborate on their research in front of a judging panel consisting of representatives from all faculties. The offer to disseminate research to a wider academic audience was taken up by three members of the Linguistics section of the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology & Linguistics (AXL). Senior scholars judged the best academic posters in the following categories:

  • Engineering, the Built Environment and Technology
  • Commerce, Law and Humanities
  • Medical Sciences and Science
  • Africa-specific research
  • Postdocs

“Apart from the opportunity to profile the importance of our discipline in a wider South African context, it was a remarkable achievement on the part of the three Linguistics academics to be able to successfully convey the contents of their research to non-experts” said Dr. Matthias Brenzinger, Director of the Centre for African Language Diversity (CALDi) which forms part of the UCT Department of Linguistics.

Pictured left: Dr Sheena Shah receives her award from Dr Nelleke Bak (Director, UCT Postgraduate Studies Office)

According to Dr. Brenzinger, Linguists excelled in three of the above categories and each received prizes generously donated by McKinsey & Company. The first prize in the category Commerce, Law and Humanities was received by Alida Chevalier (PhD student, Linguistics, AXL) for her poster on the reverse vowel shift in South African English and Yolandi Ribbens-Klein (PhD student, Linguistics, AXL) received the third prize in this category for her poster on indexicality and local ways of speaking, focusing on the meaning of Boorlinge, Inkommers, and the Afrikaans /r/ in Pacaltsdorp. The category Africa-specific research included all 46 contributions and Dr. Sheena Shah (Postdoctoral Fellow, CALDi, Linguistics, AXL) with her poster on the N//ng language project was awarded the first prize. Sheena was also among the three postdocs who received an honourable mention at the event. 

“The judges decision to recognize three of our young academics, constitutes a wider recognition of the importance of languages on the African continent,” said Dr. Brenzinger.