Education & Languages

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    An investigation into the pragmatic competence of the front-office trainees of Valombola Vocational Training Centre
    (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2023-06) Nghilinganye, Frederick MacGyver
    This investigation into the pragmatic competence of front-office trainees of Valombola VTC was conducted to analyse the trainees’ competence on formulation and realisation of request strategies, to evaluate their application of politeness principles in the speech act of refusal and apologetic responses and to examine the factors that influence their pragmatic competence. Systematic random sampling was utilised to select the study sample of 15 out of 30 front-office trainees from the Hospitality Department’s 2022 academic year’s intake. Two sets of instruments were used to collect data – a Written Discourse Completion Tasks (WDCT), and a questionnaire. Data on the students’ pragmatic competence was qualitatively and quantitatively analysed. The findings of the study suggest that, in terms of the speech act of refusal, the trainees’ pragmatic competence was at 30%, a significantly low level. This means that, the front-office trainees demonstrated a lack of pragmatic competence in terms of the speech act of request responses, apologies and refusal strategy. Considering the three speech acts of request, apologies and refusal results, their levels of pragmatic competence was observed to be somewhat low, as they also indicated even in the questionnaire that they preferred using their vernacular language when socialising. In addition, the findings indicate that the trainees use different refusal responses, and apology strategies that lack politeness. Lastly, the findings demonstrate that there are some underlying factors that influence pragmatic competence, and these include misinterpretation of pragmatic implicature, educational background, low level of daily activities using English. Ultimately, English for Specific Purposes focusing on pragmatic competence was recommended for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in general and for front-office trainees in particular.
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    A pragmatic linguistic evaluation of communicative competence of second year students of the Department of Communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology
    (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2023-07) Henghono, Wilhem Shounawa
    As the number of students studying at tertiary institutions in a multilingual Namibia increases with English as a medium of instruction and as a second language, the significance of pragmatic competence in the successful social integration of L2 speakers has been highlighted, and the need for assessing it has grown. The majority of currently available pragmatic tests are theoretically grounded in Speech Act Theory and employ discourse completion tasks as test instruments. The purpose of this study is therefore to contribute towards the assessment of pragmatic competence in extend to their oral academic discourse at the Namibia University of Science and technology (NUST). The study specifically focused on assessing the level of students’ pragmatic competence by discovering the politeness level found in speech acts of apologies, requests, complaints. The study evaluates the syntactical structures used in these speech acts and how they are pivotal in assessing and accomplishing pragmatic competence. Data were collected from 32 NUST students doing the bachelor of English and politeness utilised as a theoretical framework. A Written Discourse Completion Task (WDCT) was administered to study the formulation of apologies, requests and complaint strategies followed by an open-ended questionnaire, which were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. The main findings indicate that L2 students used different request strategies to show positive politeness. There are still students who choose to use indirect request strategies which indicate impolite behaviours or negative politeness. High pragmatic level was observed in request strategies unlike in complaints where low level of pragmatic competence is indicated as more face threatening acts were recorded. Syntactical structures played a huge role in students’ production of speech acts whereby impoliteness was recorded in the use of imperatives. The indication of these disparities from participants in pragmatic competence is mainly caused by the difference in age, cultural differences and different cultural backgrounds or languages. Therefore, the study recommends the implementation of activities which promote pragmatic awareness and also instructional materials in the training of English teachers to focus in communicative language rather than just grammar.
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    A functional stylistics analysis of children's literature at the Namibia University of Science and Technology
    (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2023-06) Elifas, Aina Nangula
    The study to establish, examine and analyse the perceptions of second year Literature and Text students on the application of functional stylistic approaches to the analysis of children literature texts, exemplified by Achebe’s Chike and the River (1982) and Nakapunda’s Chad and the Magical Rains: An adventure in Etosha (2012) (hereinafter referred to as Chad and the Magical Rains). In particular, the study focused on the proliferation of the three metafunctions of language – the ideational, interpersonal, and textual uses of language – within the texts and how their identification aided to the better analysis and interpretation of the fictional texts. This research sought the opinions of second-year students at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), who were studying the selected literary works as part of their curricula, seeking to establish their level of understanding of, relating and application of the functional linguistics approach to the analysis of these selected texts. Interviews conducted with the students tested how well they understood the texts through the application of functional linguistics theoretical explications and metafunctions. The fictional texts were selected primarily because they represent good examples of the African children’s literature genre, the fact that they were authored by African authors and that they were already a part of the existing second year Bachelor of English and Applied Linguistics curricula at NUST. The text exclusion criteria were used to eliminate texts that did not meet the criterion of having linguistic or literary merits that addressed the study objectives. The study's findings suggest that the language of the selected works serves as a medium for moral ideals. Through this examination of the linguistic structure of children's literature exemplified by the two selected texts, it was also observed that language may be utilised to spread not only cultural concepts but also moral teachings and social bonds amongst members of a community. Furthermore, the research notes that short stories typically employ ideational components/structures of language in order to enlighten the reader and establish links. In order to convey their own perspectives, the authors of the short stories analysed by this research made use of interpersonal function of language. The textual components, on the other hand, are observed to have been used to build internal coherence and logic in written work. The research establishes that questioning is a tool that can be used to get more insight or clarification from the speaker or the listener and recommends further stylistic analysis studies that focus on genres outside of children's literature, such as magazines and poetry, in order to enhance the appreciation of children's literature in Namibia and across Africa.
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    A cognitive linguistic study of trauma in Andrew Niikondo's Are You a Person or a Ghost and Tshiwa Trudie Amulungu's Taming My Elephant
    (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2023-06-01) Mauta, Portia Inonge
    The purpose of this study was to conduct a cognitive linguistic analysis of trauma in Andrew Niikondo’s Are you a person or a ghost and Tshiwa Trudie Amulungu’s Taming my elephant. Cognitive linguistics is a scientific sphere that studies the knowledge about the world formed in the human mind, its inner structures, representative methods, and regularities. Cognitive linguistics was examined in three schemata: link, path and balance. The schema theory assumes that the reader of a literary text must possess background knowledge of a literary text to enhance comprehension. The trauma theory was used to complement the schema theory. This study followed the qualitative research approach for data collection and analysis. A content analysis checklist was used as a research instrument; the research data was collected through reading the two autobiographies. A text selection criterion was used to select the two texts that were studied. The two texts were selected among a collection of over thirty Namibian authored autobiographies because the texts outline the content of the problem statement of this study as both authors recount their liberation struggle experiences, cultural shocks, both in exile and after independence, with honesty, emotion, and humour. The study findings revealed that the use of lexical expressions in autobiographical writing can assist in the relieving of traumatic emotions that affect individuals. The study revealed that the image schemas provided for the retrieval of liberation struggle memories of both Amulungu and Niikondo as they narrate their path, link and balance representations of their stories. Mental schemas enable figurative reasoning. The study also revealed that discourse performs persuasion in keeping readers to continue reading the texts. It was concluded that the language used in lexical expressions can predict several aspects of human behaviour. The study further concluded that figurative language is a conduit for imaginative memories that help readers to comprehend autobiographical authors’ viewpoints. While the study acknowledges that the writing of Namibian autobiography has been widely conducted in the English language. The study recommends the translation of these texts of their initial writing in local Namibian languages that can now then be translated into the English language or vice-versa. There are other forms of figurative meaning that cannot clearly be expressed in English as they would in local Namibian languages since the autobiographies are vessels of Namibian culture and histories.
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    A literary reconstruction of mental health as portrayed in Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀'s Stay with me and Redi Tlhabi's Khwezi - the remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo
    (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2023-01-31) Sheetekela, Freddy Shuudeni Natangwe
    The purpose of the study is to reconstruct mental health in literary studies or literature. It argues to strengthen, highlight and encourage the representation of mental health in literary works. In so doing, authors of novels, biographies and any other written work are reminded and urged to consider human emotions, feelings and address a wide range of mental health challenges experienced in the world by almost every individual. Being a literary study, the selected texts in their story lines encompass a good embodiment of ranges of emotions and reactions in different settings which reflects a true existence form and lived experiences most people go through in today’s world. The two texts have exemplary and exceptionally addressed the events that are affecting societies today, such as; rape, abandonment, rejection, alienation, marriage and divorce, fertility, injustice treatment, negative effects of cultural/traditional practices versus modern practices, religion, political impartations, beliefs, suicide, degradation, financial difficulties and so many more. With our communities, in the Namibian context, these are the notable afflictions people go through. It is only human to feel stressed, develop anxieties or get depressed when encountered with one of the aforesaid problems. The Trauma and Resilience theories were used in this analysis to provide a perspective and spectrum through which the established conditions could be assessed and understood. Further, with the trauma models, the trauma theory serves and provides great guiding tools in analysing the selected texts for the fulfilment of the study objectives. Mental health is a perennial problem in our societies and its impact manifests through so many dimensions. An attentive and collective response in addressing it and compacting its effect needs to be enforced in different paradigms and disciplines. The study analysed the selected texts to assess how they have delivered and addressed the phenomenon. Stay With Me by Adebayo is a poignant book which richly touched on many elements of life and hardships that people go through such as; deception, faith fear, murder, religion, sickle cell anaemia, death, lust, love, impotence, fertility, tragedy, forgiveness, anger, politics, polygamy and a whole lot of uncertainties. It mirrors the horrors of the life that one could go through and the trajectory to how slowly one problem leads to another. The book has substantially responded to the objectives of the study. It highlighted events which most studies agreed with to be possible causes of mental health issues. Further, the characters portrayed resilience in a very genuine way. It could be traced how they were really affected by their conditions without denial or extreme fixation yet bounced back nobly with courage as if to showcase a map road on how one should deal with the given situations. The way Adebayo's characters respond to their problems makes one live in the moment which makes it easier to relate or understand. Relatively, in Thlabi’s novel, the study notes how she constructively advocated for the wellness of others with an ultimate care on how they are feeling, treated and supported when dealing with certain situations. Her area of focus was much placed on the effect of rape, the failing justice system, unfair treatment for low class citizens, gender inequalities, the silenced voices and the victims of political affiliations. The book being a non-fiction, it erases the thoughts of fantasies from the minds of the readers with its sensitive content, however these are the very incidents worth documenting where civilians will affirm the cruelty of those in powerful positions when they have no or minimal interests in the welfare of their subordinates. Thlabi took us through different stages of life with all elements of suffering experienced by Kwezi. Creatively enough, she did not only expose the ill acts, she also guided Kwezi to support systems and gained her positive communities of sympathisers who fought and stood with her through the process. She discouraged the blind loyalty that certain public individuals give to their political allies at the expense of others and with her acts managed to convince a group of women that gathered at the court on the day of the judgement. Despite the trauma, Kwezi felt heard, supported and cared for with these people. Her suffering was minimised and self-love rekindled. She however remained strong in her own capacity and courageous to the end in standing her ground of claiming honesty. Conclusively, the study has successfully attained its objectives in the selected texts. They are notable to be identified as models in the cry for reconstructing mental health in literary works. Both authors wrote consciously addressing the sufferings of the society and indirectly discourages such conducts within societies as they fully highlight the effect it has on those affected. The texts are exceptional.
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    Students' English writing skills at the NUST.
    (NUST, Department of Communication, 2014) Frans, Thulha H. N.
    The effectiveness of learning language requires that users of a language be provided with the right knowledge to cope with its complexity and demanding nature especially in the area of writing. In this sense, this article seeks to draw attention to some of the important features of writing skills in English at NUST. This article also reports on a study that investigated the writing and spoken proficiency of students of English as a second language at the NUST. But, this article only deals with students’ writing skills at the institution. There are many barriers that prevent students from writing English competently. However, it should be noted that the study only investigated various English syllabi and the teaching of writing skills that I consider to be some of the barriers.
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    Using discussion forums to mediate in higher education: A literature review through an activity theory lens.
    (NUST, Department of Communication, 2013) Ithindi, Elina T.
    The diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education has brought along impediments in the education system where higher institutions of learning are not exempted. The adoption of ICT tools to mediate learning that is not informed by pedagogical and learning theory might not produced the desired results in any given context. Mediating learning with discussion forums is perceived to be one of the simplest ways to use ICTs in education, but the outcomes are not always rewarding. Indisputably, a discussion forum has a potential to transform learning, but contextual factors might influence the effectiveness of a tool, especially when the selection of the tool is not informed by underlying theoretical principles of learning. This paper demonstrates how Activity Theory is applied as a lens to describe, substantiate and understand how discussion forums have been used in Higher Education contexts, with the intent to evaluate and understand how mediating learning with an ICT tool - discussion forums in this case - should be based on underlying theoretical principles of learning, taking into account contextual factors that might influence the use of a tool. It transpires from the three case studies analysed in this paper that instructors need guidance to effectively use and monitor discussion forums, or ICT tools in general, hence implying how underlying theoretical principles of learning could be a determining factor to the success of a tool.
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    Review of the book Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    (NUST, Department of Communication, 2013) Krishnamurthy, Sarala
    This article reviews the book entitled: "Americanah" written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2013, published by Harper Collins.