About Professor Rajend Mesthrie

My interests are in general linguistics, my main early training being in historical linguistics, especially the history of English.  However, my main recent research has been of a sociolinguistic nature, stressing language variation and contact in the South African context.  In the past I’ve worked on Bhojpuri-Hindi, English dialects, Fanakalo pidgin, and second language varieties of Zulu; and wrote occasional papers on Tamil in KZN and English-Afrikaans code switching in 19th C Cape.  In the 1990s many of us worked on the sociology of language in our multilingual South African context. These days I’m working more specifically on sociophonetics and English dialectology in South Africa.  But I encourage students to work on African languages and have provided supervision in the field of language contact and variation for languages like Chasu (of Tanzania), Luhya (of Kenya), Chichewa (of Malawi), Town Bemba (of Zambia) etc.


About the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI)

SARChI is a brain-gain and research capacity-development intervention by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that is being administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF). Operating as staff and student clusters that do research in specific areas, the SARChI structures are successful incubators of excellence and have increased the intake of postgraduate students. See more at: http://www.health.uct.ac.za/fhs/research/groupings/sarchi.

Professor Mesthrie holds a Chair in Migration, Language and Social Change (housed in the Linguistics Section, Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town). See more about this project here.