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What we do:

Discourse Analysis
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Discourse analysis studies language in use in real-life contexts, such as casual conversations and the media.  In discourse analysis, we 'read between the lines' to discover the ways in which language use interacts with social power and ideologies. 

In our department, the following people teach and do research in discourse analysis:

Comparative Linguistics
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Comparative linguistics looks at the similarities and differences between the different languages of the world. 

In our department, the following people teach and do research in comparative linguistics:

Psycholinguistics
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Psycholinguistics looks at how we learn language, how we process it and what happens when our brains have some difficulty processing language, as in cases of stuttering or aphasia, for example.

In our department, the following people teach and do research in psycholinguistics:

Syntax
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Syntax studies the ways that words are arranged into sentences in any language.  We teach the syntax of a variety of different languages over the course of our undergraduate programme.

In our department, the following people teach and do research on syntax:

Morphology and Semantics
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Morphology is the study of how words are made up of small building blocks called morphemes.  Semantics explores the meanings of words and longer stretches of language.

In our department, the following people teach and do research in morphology and semantics:

Sociolinguistics
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Sociolinguistics studies the ways in which language interacts with society. It looks at the ways in which people in different places or different social classes speak differently to each other, and why.  It also examines how we adjust the way we speak or write according to the different situations we find ourselves in, such as on the beach or in a business meeting.

In our department, the following people teach and do research in sociolinguistics:

Phonetics and Phonology
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Phonetics investigates the smallest building blocks of language: the sounds we make.  Phonology describes how we put these sounds together to make words.

In our department, our Senior Research Associate William Bennett, based in Canada, does research on phonetics and phonology.

Systemic Functional Linguistics
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Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is an innovative approach that sees language as a set of systems for making meaning, and as a collection of tools which we use to communicate.  It is a useful way to analyse the language in texts to look at, for example, the ways that we express emotions and attitudes, or the ways we structure texts to get our point across.

In our department, the following people teach and do research in Systemic Functional Linguistics:

Latest Newschevron_rightAll

Rhodes Researcher attracts NRF P-Rating

Amongst those honoured at the National Research Foundation Gala Awards held in Bloemfontein on the evening of 14 September 2017 was Dr William Bennet of the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Rhodes University.

A ‘backwards’ sound change in Setswana

Rhodes linguist Will Bennett has discovered a sound change in some varieties of Setswana that seems to go against a trend found in languages around the world: in Setswana, the sound ‘s’ changes to ‘sh’ before back vowels like ‘o’. He described this change in a Departmental Research Seminar on Tuesday 25 October 2016.

Investigating interrogatives in Igbo

In February, the Department of English Language and Linguistics hosted Jeremiah Nwankwegu, an African Humanities Project Fellow-in-Residence from Ebonyi State University in Nigeria. Nwankwegu is finishing his PhD thesis, investigating the syntax of interrogatives (question sentences) in different dialects of Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria. He presented his work at a Linguistics Departmental Research Seminar on Tuesday 24 February.

Rhodes Linguistics welcomes new postgrads

A fresh group of new postgraduate students arrived at the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the beginning of February. An exciting week of activities welcomed new students to our scholarly community and gave them a taste of the kinds of research we do.

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