School of Arts

UKZN Student Wins Young Linguist Award


PhD in Linguistics student, Mr Peter Tshetu, won the Young Linguist Award for his oral presentation on A compendium of dangerous speech: A case of Twitter-discourse between Zimbabwean political actors at the annual conference of the Southern African Linguistics and Applied Linguistics Society (SALALS).

‘To be recognized and honored by experts in my field is incredibly gratifying and I am thankful to all who participated in the conference, particularly my supervisor, Professor Heike Tappe. Without her input and guidance, I would not have made it this far. I also belong to a cohort within our Linguistics Department where each of us always try to contribute to each other’s work. I dedicate the award to my amazing team,’ said Tshetu.

His study creates a compendium of the dangerous speech terms used on Twitter by Zimbabwean political actors. The data utilized was Twitter interactions which were captured via screenshots and analysis done through critical discourse analysis.

‘The continued use of dangerous speech in Zimbabwe has been blocking the chances of having harmonious co-existence between political opponents. In turn, this has led to the loss of social capital which emerges out of peaceful cross-pollination of ideas between political opponents,’ said Tshetu.

He believes that it is important ‘to bring about awareness of certain speech which can be considered dangerous and how it is considered so, in the hope that interactants can avoid utilizing it.’

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