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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Code-switching, tokenism and consumerism in print advertising
2014-10-27

Code-switching, linguistic tokenism and modern consumerism in contemporary South African print advertising. This is the current research focus of two lecturers from the Faculty of the Humanities at the UFS, Prof Angelique van Niekerk and Dr Thinus Conradie.

The act of switching between two or more languages is replete with socio-cultural meaning, and can be deployed to advance numerous communicative strategies, including attempts at signalling cultural familiarity and group affiliation (Chung 2006).

For advertising purposes, Fairclough’s (1989) seminal work on the ideological functions of language remark on the usefulness of code-switching as a means of fostering an advertiser-audience relationship that is conducive to persuasion. In advertising, code-switching is a valuable means with which a brand may be invested with a range of positive associations. In English-dominated media, these associations derive from pre-existing connotations that target audiences already hold for a particular (non-English) language. Where exclusivity and taste, for example, are associated with a particular European language (such as French), advertising may use this languages to invest the advertised brand with a sense of exclusivity and taste.

In addition, empirical experiments with sample audiences (in the field of consumer research) suggest that switching from English to the first language of the target audience, is liable to yield positive results in terms of purchase intentions (Bishop and Peterson 2011). This effect is enhanced under the influence of modern consumerism, in which consumption is linked to the performance of identity and ‘[b]rands are more than just products; they are statements of affiliation and belonging’ (Ngwenya 2011, 2; cf. Nuttall 2004; Jones 2013).

In South African print magazines, where the hegemony of English remains largely uncontested, incorporating components of indigenous languages and Afrikaans may similarly be exploited for commercial ends. Our analysis suggests that the most prevalent form of code-switching from English to indigenous South African languages represents what we have coded as linguistic tokenism. That is, in comparison with the more expansive use of both Afrikaans and foreign languages (such as French), code-switching is used in a more limited manner, and mainly to presuppose community and solidarity with first-language speakers of indigenous languages. In cases of English-to-Afrikaans code-switching, our findings echo the trends observed for languages such as French and German. That is, the language is exploited for pre-existing associations. However, in contrast with French (often associated with prestige) and German (often associated with technical precision), Afrikaans is used to invoke cultural stereotypes, notably a self-satirical celebration of Afrikaner backwardness and/or lack of refinement that is often interpolated with hyper-masculinity.

References


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