Tracy Bowles

Lecturer Tracy Probert

MA, PGDipHE (Rhodes)



Research interests:

  • Psycholinguistics
  • Literacy
  • Language Acquisition and Language learning
  • Syntax

Modules taught: 

  • Linguistics 1 Language in Childhood and Education
  • Linguistics 2 Psycholinguistics
  • Linguistics 3 Psycholinguistics
  • Linguistics 2 Linguistics and Community
  • Postgraduate Psycholinguistics of Literacy

PhD topic:
 Syntactic awareness and its impact on reading comprehension and writing
Supervisor: Prof. Mark de Vos

My PhD, which is an exploratory, quantitative study, seeks to explore how syntactic awareness in English affects reading comprehension and writing in second-language English undergraduate students. The research falls within the field of the Psycholinguistics of Literacy, drawing on Generative Syntactic Theory, specifically the Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 1995).



  • 2022: Bowles, T. and De Vos, M. Creating an Epistemically Diverse Undergraduate Linguistics Curriculum. Educational Research for Social Change, 11 (2), 57-75.  
  • 2020: Schaefer, M., Probert, T., & Rees, S. The roles of Phonological Awareness, Rapid Automated Naming and Morphological Awareness in isiXhosa. Per Linguam, 36(1): 90-111.
  • 2020: Daries, M. & Probert, T. A linguistic analysis of spelling errors in Grade 3 isiXhosa home-language learners. Reading & Writing 11(1), a265.   
  • 2019: Probert, T. A comparison of the early reading strategies of isiXhosa and Setswana first language learners. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 9(1), a643.
  • 2016: Probert, T. & De Vos, M. Word recognition strategies amongst isiXhosa/English bilingual learners: The interaction of orthography and language of learning and teaching. Reading & Writing Journal of Reading Association of South Africa, 7(1), a84. http://dx.doi. org/10.4102/rw.v7i1.84
  • 2016: Bennett, W., Diemer, M., Kerford, J., Probert, T. and Wesi, T. Setswana (South African). Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 46 (2), pp. 235-246.


Conference Presentations:

  • 2021: Daires, Probert & Schaefer. The contributions of phonological awareness and decoding on spelling in isiXhosa grade 3 learners. SALALS virtual conference. 20-23 September 2021. 
  • 2020: Probert & Gush. Give that child a book: A Classroom Library Project Initiative. LITASA virtual conference. 19 September 2020. 
  • 2019: “Switch brain switch”: Exploring the impact of translanguaging pedagogy on literacy development in pre-Grade R learners. Literacy Association of South African Annual Conference at University of Cape Town, Cape Town, 12-14 July 2019.
  • 2019: Schaefer, M., Probert T. and Rees, S. The roles of phonological awareness, rapid automatised naming and morphological awareness in isiXhosa. SAALT and SALALS Joint Annual Linguistics Conference at Wits University, Johannesburg, 3-4 July 2019.
  • 2018: Molo, Goeie môre, Good morning: Exploring translanguaging practices in a multilingual pre-Grade R classroom. 5th International Conference on Language and Literacy Education at Wits School of Education, Johannesburg. 17-19 August 2018.
  • 2018: Translanguaging for epistemological access in a multilingual pre-Grade-R classroom. Literacy Association of South African Annual Conference at Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, 5-7 October 2018.
  • 2016: A comparative study of syllables and morphemes as literacy processing units in word recognition: isiXhosa and Setswana. 2016 LSSA/SAALA/SAALT Joint Annual Linguistic Conference at University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, June 2016.
  • 2015: Syllables and morphemes as literacy processing units in word-recognition: isiXhosa and Setswana. 2015 LSSA/SAALA/SAALT Joint Annual Linguistic Conference at North West University, Potchefstroom, June 2015.
  • 2014: Transfer of word recognition strategies from a transparent to an opaque orthography. 2014 LSSA/SAALA/SAALT Joint Annual Linguistic Conference at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, June 2014.
  • 2014: The effects of orthography and language of literacy: transfer of word recognition strategies amongst isiXhosa/English Bilinguals. Reading Association of South Africa 9th Annual Conference 2014 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, September 2014.

Last Modified: Mon, 31 Oct 2022 15:11:06 SAST