As language educators, we need to understand how our learners/students are changing and the ways technology can be used to aid their teaching and learning strategies. The movement towards multimodal language learning, from contact teaching to autonomous as well as blended and fully online modes, requires different skill sets such as e-moderation and new ways of designing and developing language learning tasks in the digital age.
With this workshop, we will engage with participants in an interactive manner to empower them to eventually contribute to the larger language user community (teachers, learners, lecturers and students, general public/newspapers).
Our presenters include local as well as international scholars who have solid track records of working in the field of language learning and multimodal approaches in teaching and learning. We have three broad topics that will be addressed by sharing best practices and involving participants.
Topic 1: Added value of online language learning and support - digital tool development for the language classroom
Introduction to the syllabus and course design in a multimodal language learning environment (Prof. Kris van de Poel)
A digital showcase:
Skryfhulp - Writing support; the development of an online writing support tool (Ms Suléne Pilon, Mr DJ Cloete, ???)
Write-it - Multi-modal academic writing assistance (Mr Zander Janse van Rensburg, Mr DJ Cloete)
Wired - Writing, Information Literacy and Reading Development (Dr Kristien Andrianatos, Prof. Tobie van Dyk)
Interactive session: round table discussion
Beauty and the beast: What happens behind the scenes?
FAQs: Costs, Timelines, Human Resources, Software
Topic 2: Best practices
Moving from general to specific (Prof. Kris van de Poel, Prof. Lieve de Wachter)
Interculturate (a platform for developing language for specific purposes) – Summarising as a component of transactional writing (Prof. Kris van de Poel)
Taalvast (a platform for academic language learning) – Developing presentation skills (Prof. Lieve de Wachter)
Topic 3: Assessment
Test purpose: achievement, progress, placement, diagnostics (Prof. Tobie van Dyk)
Diagnostic language testing (Prof. Albert Weideman, Ms Anneke Butler)
Fair and unbiased language testing (Prof. Tobie van Dyk)
From generic to specific (Prof. Kris van de Poel)
Is online really that different from paper-based? (Prof. Albert Weideman)
Interactive session: round table discussion
Beauty and the beast: What happens behind the scenes?
FAQs: Costs, Timelines, Human Resources, Software
A maximum of 15 participants can be accommodated in this free of charge workshop, funded by SADiLaR.
The workshop will be held four times at different universities. Click on the workshop that you are interested in for more information and to register for the event.
As part of its participation in the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Language Project, the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) has dedicated the month of May to the celebration of Setswana as an official language of South Africa. The main celebration event was held at the North-West University’s Mafikeng Campus on 6 May 2019. SADiLaR joined hands with the South African National Lexicography Units (SANLU) to create a platform for language specialists, academics, researchers, students and the public to be part of an initiative to celebrate language, culture and heritage.
The event opened with a presentation by SADiLaR’s Setswana researcher, Ms Valencia Wagner, who shared information about the Centre as a national research infrastructure as well as the function of SADiLaR that offers various tools and technologies to assist in language research and development. The Secretary-General of the South African Mission to UNESCO, Mr Carlton Mukwevho, then had the opportunity to explain to the audience the role that UNESCO is playing in promoting indigenous languages internationally. He also touched on the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and offered his support to all of the SADiLaR language celebration events. Mr M.D. Mothoagae then took the audience back in time and gave a historical background of the Setswana language and the development of the language throughout the years. In a very philosophical presentation, Prof Daniel Matjila from the University of South Africa was able to capture the audience’s attention with his presentation on new ways of teaching Setswana Literature.
Mr Motheo Koitsiwe, from the North-West University, then touched on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the role it plays in teaching and learning as well as the importance for future development of the indigenous languages of South Africa. Dr Baile Mareme, NLU leader: Setswana, in an entertaining presentation addressed the development of dictionaries, focusing on the Setswana language. Mr Terence Ball, SANLU representative, then spoke of the constitutional obligations that all government departments and SANLU have towards our indigenous languages and the importance of the use of dictionaries in these languages to improve literacy levels. Dr Hlengiwe Mashele, Executive Director: Xitsonga NLU, then read out a message of support of the language celebration events from the NLUs as the President of the South African National Lexicography Units.
The event was attended by approximately 80 people, among whom were delegates of the Dikgosi: House of Traditional Council, lecturers, students, academics and the public. The entertainment for the celebration event was traditional dancing done by the Diselammapa Cultural Group. It was a successful day that brought people together to celebrate Setswana and the sacred value it keeps.
SADiLaR is a national infrastructure funded by the Department of Science and Technology as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap. The centre is celebrating all of the official languages of South Africa by dedicating each month to a language as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages. The entire month of May is dedicated to Setswana – the language, traditions and heritage.
The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) dedicated the month of April to the celebration of Afrikaans as an official language of South Africa. The theme of The multiple universes of Afrikaans was used as the thread that sewed all of the month’s events – that included a webinar, theatre workshop, and main celebration – together. This theme created a platform of growth, development, collaboration and inspiration.
The main event was held on 17 April 2019 at the North-West University’s (NWU) Sports Village. Mr Benito Trollip, SADiLaR’s Afrikaans researcher and organiser of the event, opened the floor with an introduction of the celebration and an overview of SADiLaR. The book prize winner of the University of Johannesburg, Charl-Pierre Naudé, with his novel Die ongelooflike onskuld van Dirkie Verwey, was the keynote speaker of the event. The audience was taken through the chronicles of the novel and had the opportunity to be part of the discussion. Charl-Pierre wants to urge readers to explore and spy during their reading of the book and his presentation inspired those who have not yet read the novel to do so. Quentin Williams then addressed the issue of language activism and non-racist practices in an open-minded and inspiring manner, bringing to light the Afrikaans in the Cape Town region known as AfriKaaps. In a very interesting and relevant talk, Karien Brits from the ATKV introduced the Afrikaans trolls to the audience. Living in the digital era, we are exposed to various platforms and we all have the right to make our voices heard. Karien touched on the positive and negative contributions made on these platforms and the effect of these on language development. “We may live and work in our different multiple universes of Afrikaans, but these worlds intersect and Afrikaans organisations must know about these links to become fully-fledged organisations. Let us be responsible in Afrikaans and promote positive discussions between these multiple universes of Afrikaans.” Prof Ernst Kotzé then had the opportunity to share his knowledge of the development of Afrikaans, especially with regard to the influence of Arabic, taking the audience back to the origin of Afrikaans and the variety of dimensions in which the language is used.
After lunch Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen mapped out Afrikaans in the format of a TV series episode in an exuberant and energetic manner. He demonstrated how the language developed throughout the centuries and emphasised the rapid rate that the language moved forward in the 21st century. He also posed the question whether it’s worth the time (left in this episode) to nit-pick on issues like the use of the Afrikaans term “huidiglik” (currently). Ms Allison Geduld, a lecturer from the NWU Law Faculty, in an inspiring presentation, captured the audience’s attention by giving them a scope of her experience of Afrikaans while growing up in Somerset-East and moving to Potchefstroom. She asked what it means to be Afrikaans and whether it brings a certain ethical responsibility.
SADiLaR is a national infrastructure funded by the Department of Science and Technology as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap. The centre is celebrating all of the official languages of South Africa by dedicating each month to a language as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages. The entire month of April is dedicated to Afrikaans – and the multiple universes that speakers thereof inhabit.
As the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources initiated the celebration of all official languages, by means of hosting various workshops and colloquiums at various universities in South Africa, isiXhosa enjoyed the spotlight for the September celebrations. These initiatives aim to share ideas and take action in creating awareness of our languages and in working on the development of our languages and language resources.
At an event recently held in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape, some 110 people attended the glamorous isiXhosa occasion as it forms part of the local support of UNESCO's 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The recent celebration saw high profile speakers in the fields of language research. They were applauded by the audience for making huge contributions towards the development of the isiXhosa language. They included:
Prof Ncedile Saule, a research fellow at Rhodes University where he promotes Masters and Doctoral students within the School of Language and Literature at the Department of African Languages and Creative Writing;
Terence Ball, currently working for the South African National Lexicography Units where he represents the official languages of South Africa;
Pindo Cynthia Somkebe, a senior educational specialist in the Chris Hani West district;
Nontembiso Putumo-Jaxa, a senior educational specialist for isiXhosa in the Eastern Cape Department of Education;
Nomthandazo Mbena-Lilatyi, a senior educational specialist for isiXhosa in the Eastern Cape Department of Education;
Professor Menzi Meshack Minsie Duka, an academic, community leader, author and poet who writes in isiXhosa and English;
Dr Hleze Kunju, the associate head of Creative Writing at Rhodes University’s School of Language and Literacy.
Andiswa Bukula, a SADiLaR researcher for isiXhosa, welcomed the audience and explained the role of SADiLaR in the South African context. “The atmosphere here today is contagious! We are privileged to be able to celebrate our language today and I thank you for the great attendance. SADiLaR offers training and workshops in various digital tools at national level and together with our partners from all other universities, we aim to unlock the full spectrum of resources to create a broader digitalized footprint of South Africa’s indigenous languages. We are thankful for everyone’s support in our mission,” she said.
SADiLaR, hosted by the North-West University, mainly runs two programmes:
A digitisation programme, which entails the systematic creation of relevant digital text, speech and multi-modal resources related to all official languages of South Africa. The development of appropriate natural language processing software tools for research and development purposes are included as part of the digitisation programme.
A Digital Humanities programme, which facilitates the building of research capacity by promoting and supporting the use of digital data and innovative methodological approaches within the Humanities and Social Sciences.
The event also received a message of support from the Secretary-General of the South African National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Carlton Lufuno Mukwevho.
“The National Development Plan recognises and restates the importance of African languages as integral to science and technology education and to the development and preservation of these languages. The United Nations declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages in order to raise awareness of them, not only to benefit the people who speak these languages, but also for others to appreciate the important contribution they make to our world’s rich cultural diversity. South Africa as a Member State of the United Nations supports this very important drive as it is through language that we communicate with the world, define our identity, express our history and culture, learn, defend our human rights and participate in all aspects of society, to name but a few. Through language, people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression. We also use it to imagine our individual as well as collective future as it is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation and sustainable development, Mr Mukwevho said.”
One of the attendees, Bulelwa Nosilela, said she is grateful to be part of this celebration. “This is an extraordinary event where we also had the opportunity to acknowledge the work of isiXhosa people who have passed on. Thank you to everyone who made this day possible. It is evident that dedication towards the development of indigenous languages enjoyed priority.”
SADiLaR is a national infrastructure funded by the Department of Science and Innovation as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap.
Werkswinkel: Ewewêrelede in Afrikaanse een-tot-eenteater
Die werkswinkel oor die ewewêrelde in Afrikaanse een-tot-eenteater, gelei deur SADiLaR se Afrikaansnavorser Benito Trollip, het die afgelope naweek praktiese sessies ingesluit van hoe hierdie wêrelde geskep word. Die werkswinkel vorm deel van die maandlange viering van Afrikaans, as deel van SADiLaR se 2019-taalvieringe. Die tema van ewewêrelde word deurgaans hierdie maand beklemtoon. DEURnis, 'n een-tot-eenteatergroep, het hierdie idee van ewewêrelde deur middel van hul ongewone teaterstukke (twee stukke, KOUD en NET, is gedurende die werkswinkel opgevoer) vir werkswinkelgangers ten toon kom stel. ŉ Deelnemer/Gehoorlid is uit die groep gekies terwyl die res gekyk het hoe die toneel tussen die akteur en die gehoorlid afspeel. In ŉ gewone DEURnisstuk is ŉ gehoorlid en die akteur in een vertrek vir ongeveer twintig minute. Sodra ŉ gehoorlid deel is van so ŉ toneel word hy nie toegelaat om terug te praat nie, hy/sy mag slegs ja-neevrae beantwoord, sou die akteur sulke vrae vra. Die gehoorlid besef gou dat hy/sy ŉ karakter in hierdie teaterstuk is, aangesien die akteur met hom/haar praat as ŉ karakter. Vir die deelnemer skep dit ŉ wêreld waarin hy moet uitpluis wie hy in die verhaal is, sonder dat hy ŉ woord kan sê! Ongeveer twintig minute nadat die deelnemer die vertrek moet verlaat, net om in ŉ volgende vertrek met 'n ander akteur in te stap, moet hy probeer sin maak van hierdie situasie waarin hy sopas was. Hierdie teaterstukke is in wese roerend, boeiend, en sielkundig uitdagend weens die afgebakende wêrelde en verskeidenheid karakters (waarvan die gehoorlid ook altyd een is).
Na DEURnis se uitbeelding van die wyse waarop ŉ ewewêreld geskep kan word, het die werkswinkel se fokus verskuif na tegnieser aspekte rondom die skep van hierdie wêrelde. Een van die vervaardigers van die produksiemaatskappy wat DEURnis vervaardig (TheatreRocket), Johan van der Merwe, het verduidelik waar die konsep vandaan kom, hoe dit gegroei het en wat vir hulle voorlê. Die akteur van albei stukke, Ben Pienaar, het daarna gepraat oor hoe om ŉ eerlike vertolking te gee en hoe party gehoorlede so begeester is na die tyd dat hulle hulle rolle begin glo. Gehoorlede raak soms so meegevoer dat hulle begin lag of huil. Henque Heymans, een van DEURnis se skrywers, het hierop uitgebrei en verduidelik dat hy dit as ŉ eienskap van sy tekste inbou. Die eerste deel van die stuk fokus op die skep van ŉ verhouding tussen die akteur en gehoorlid, die tweede deel beklemtoon die verhouding en maak dit vir die gehoorlid geloofwaardiger, en die finale deel lei na ŉ slot (hetsy logies of nie) wat uiteindelik die ewewêreld op ŉ manier vir die gehoorlid sluit soos die toneel eindig. Henque het ook genoem hoe elke element van die ruimte waarin ŉ stuk afspeel, bydra tot die onderdompeling van die gehoorlid in die storie.
Die werkswinkel was kreatief, prakties en uiters vermaaklik. Afrikaanse teater het ŉ skitterende toekoms as hierdie die rigting is waarin dit beweeg.
Gert Coetzer se persoonlike ervaring:
Ek is gebruik in een van die tonele (NET) om aan die werkswinkelgangers te demonstreer hoe ŉ DEURnisteks ŉ ewewêreld skep. Ek het buite die lokaal gestaan en aan die deur geklop, toe skree die akteur ek moet net ŉ oomblik wag en dan inkom. Toe ek in die vertrek inkom, het ek gaan sit met die akteur voor my en die ander werkswinkelgangers links van my. Die akteur het met my begin praat asof hy my ken en hy het óns storie vertel. Die verhaal gaan oor ek wat dood is as gevolg van ŉ akrobaattoertjie wat verkeerd geloop het – die akteur se karakter moes my vang en hy het nie. Heeltemal gefolter deur jare se skuldgevoel, beplan hy om self na sy dood te spring terwyl ŉ tent vol mense kyk wanneer hy weer dieselfde toertjie alleen gaan doen. Soos die akteur die toneel verlaat (waarmee dit ook die einde van die stuk aankondig) en vir alle praktiese redes op pad is om homself dood te maak, kon ek niks doen om hom te keer nie.
Dit was ŉ vreemde ervaring om nie met hom te kon praat nie, en om verantwoordelik te voel vir sy (gesuggereerde) selfmoord. Ek was stomgeslaan deur die fenomenale toneelspel en my eie reaksie tot die onmiddellikheid van die hele ervaring. Omdat ek daaraan gewoond is om teaterstukke as deel van ŉ gehoor te kyk, het hierdie stuk van DEURnis my heeltemal onverhoeds betrap. Dit het my vermoë om agter die gehoor weg te kruip heeltemal uitgewis en ek is gedwing om die stuk as die enigste gehoorlid te ervaar. Die akteur is heeltyd by jou, hy kyk jou in die oë en hy speel toneel net vir jou. Al was ek daarvan bewus dat hierdie ŉ demonstrasie was, moes ek myself steeds gereeld daaraan herinner. Ek sien uit om DEURnis op my eie te beleef, heeltemal onderdompel te word in die stuk se wêreld en oop te wees vir die moontlikhede wat hierdie ervaring my gaan bied. DEURnis skep besonders simpatieke wêrelde wat met respek en op ŉ roerende manier oorgedra word.
Workshop: Multiple universes in Afrikaans one-on-one theatre
The workshop on multiple universes in Afrikaans one-on-one theatre, (Die ewewêrelde in Afrikaanse een-tot-eenteater) led by SADiLaR’s Afrikaans researcher Benito Trollip, offered many practical examples of how multiple worlds can be created. The workshop forms part of the month long celebration of Afrikaans as part of SADiLaR’s 2019 language celebrations. The theme of multiple universes is emphasised throughout the month. DEURnis, a one-on-one theatre group showcased this idea of multiple universes through unconventional theatre pieces (two pieces were performed for workshop goers during the day – KOUD ‘Cold’ and NET ‘Net’). A participant from the crowd were chosen and the rest looked on as it played out. In a normal DEURnis piece, a participant and actor are in one room for around twenty minutes. Within this time the actor puts on a theatre piece and the participant is forbidden to speak except when answering yes/no questions the actor may ask. The participant soon realises that s/he is a character within this theatre piece, since the actor speaks to him/her as a character. For the participant, it creates the effect of being in medias res within a world and character role s/he needs to figure out without speaking. After twenty minutes the participant leaves the room, only to plunge into the next room with an entirely different actor, world and character role to interpret. In effect, the theatre pieces are moving, engaging and psychologically thrilling because of the enclosed worlds and ever-changing characters.
After DEURnis showcased how theatre can create multiple worlds, the workshop’s focus shifted to the technical aspects of world building. One of the producers of the production company behind DEURnis (TheatreRocket), Johan van der Merwe, explained where the concept came from, how it grew and where the future is taking them. The actor, Ben Pienaar, talked about giving an honest performance and how several participants are so emotionally moved that they start believing the fictional world and their character role. Participants are so moved that they start acting as if they are their character which manifests through cathartic moments like crying and laughing. Henque Heymans, a writer for DEURnis, expanded on this notion and explained it as a feature of his scripts. The first phase of the theatre piece focusses on creating a bond between the actor and participant, the second phase emphasises this bond to solidify it and make it more believable for the participant with the third climactic phase leading to an end (logical or not) for the piece and closes the fictional world as the participant leaves the room. Henque explains that every detail in the room is there to immerse the participant into the fictional world.
The workshop was creative, practical and highly entertaining. Afrikaans theatre has a bright future if this is the direction it is taking.
Gert Coetzer’s personal account, as he was part of one of the pieces:
As an example, I was used to demonstrate to the workshop attendees how DEURnis creates alternate worlds. This is my experience of the demonstration: I went outside and knocked on the door. The actor called me in and I sat down with him in front of me and the workshop attendees to my left. The actor started to speak to me as if he knew me and told our story. It’s about losing me (a character in the theatre piece) in a trapeze accident and he feels responsible for it since I slipped through his hands and fell to my death. Racked with guilt he was planning to kill himself while doing his acrobatic show in front of an audience. As the actor walks out, ending the theatre piece, seemingly on his way to kill himself one is left there unable to stop him.
It was a strange experience being unable to talk to him and feeling responsible for his suicide. I was taken aback by the phenomenal acting and my own responses to the immediacy of the whole experience. Because I’m used to theatre sitting in a crowd, this theatre piece by DEURnis caught me off-guard. It evaporated my ability to hide behind other people and forced me into the position of the only subject experiencing the theatre piece. The actor is in your field of vision, looking at you and acting just for you. Even though I was aware that this is a demonstration, I had to remind myself of the fact a few times. I look forward to experiencing this on my own one day, completely immersed in the world and open to new experiences. DEURnis creates extremely compassionate worlds, told beautifully and with respect. This is something with great potential, not only in Afrikaans but other languages as well.