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Rhodes > English Language and Linguistics > Latest News

Abigail Branford wins Branford Prize!

Date Released: Fri, 5 December 2014 16:08 +0200

Abigail Branford has won the prize named after her grandfather, Bill Branford, the founding Professor and Head of the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Rhodes University.  The Bill Branford Prize is awarded annually to the top English Language and Linguistics 3 student.  This one-of-a-kind occasion is definitely a special cause for celebration.

Abigail is delighted to have won her grandfather’s prize.  She says, “In one of my first linguistics lectures at Rhodes we were told about the Bill Branford Prize. I could never resist a challenge and following through with that aspiration has been a fun ride: We learnt that everything we thought we knew about grammar was wrong. I claimed to have better South African Sign Language than Thamsanqa Jantjie and tried my hand at my grandmother’s speciality, the haiku. Although sometimes I couldn’t see the ‘would’ for the syntax trees, help was always available and generously given, no matter how nit-picking my questions! I’m so grateful for all the support from this amazing department. It’s been an honour to experience the legacy my grandparents left behind. I hope that, like them, I will always be accompanied by an unabashed delight in my work.”

Bill Branford was the first Head of the Department of English Language and Linguistics when it separated from the Department of English.  He also was the Director of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa.  He and Abigail’s grandmother, Dr Jean Branford, founded the Dictionary Unit for South African English.  While he has sadly passed away, Jean Branford is still alive and will no doubt be very proud of Abigail’s achievement.

Abigail is also one of six Rhodes University students to be awarded the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2014.

Photo caption: Abigail Branford with the portrait of her grandfather, Bill Branford, in the Department of English Language and Linguistics

Source:Ian Siebörger