Michelle Pascoe


PhD (Human Communication Sciences)
Associate Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Cape Town

Michelle is an Associate Professor, and Head of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Division at the University of Cape Town. She is a speech and language therapist whose work focuses on typical and atypical speech, language and literacy acquisition. Her particular interest is in speech development in the languages of Southern Africa, multilingualism and ways to support clinicians when working with families from a range of language backgrounds. Michelle is a member of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech, and on the editorial boards of Child Language Teaching and Therapy and the South African Journal of Communication Disorders. She is the co-author of two books on children’s speech and literacy development and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers.

Heather Brookes


PhD (Language, Literacy & Culture)
Associate Professor in Linguistics
University of Cape Town

Heather specialises in multimodal (speech and gesture) communication and has documented the gestural systems of black urban township communities in South Africa. Since 1998, she has been tracking language practices among multilingual township youth. She also works on language and gestural development in Sesotho investigating the development of representation and abstraction in language and gesture in early and later childhood and the effect of linguistic and cultural constraints on multimodal language production. Heather is leading the development of the Communicative Development Inventory for Sesotho. She also works on English second language acquisition among Xhosa speakers from 9 to 14 years from a multimodal perspective. She served as Vice President of the International Society for Gesture Studies from 2002-2005. She obtained her PhD in 2000 from Stanford University. Heather is Chief Research Officer for the South African Research Chair on Migration, Language and Social Change led by Professor Rajend Mesthrie at UCT.

Olebeng Mahura


PhD Candidate, MSc (Speech-Language Pathology)
Lecturer, Communication Sciences & Disorders
University of Cape Town

Olebeng is a Speech-Language Therapist and a lecturer in the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on describing typical and atypical speech sound development in children acquiring Setswana, and developing a speech assessment tool that can be used by other Speech-Language Therapists working with children acquiring Setswana. She has an interest in contributing research information that aims to improve speech and language services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders  in South Africa. Olebeng is a co-author of one book chapter and three peer-reviewed papers.

Michelle White

PhD (Bilingual Language Acquisition & Working Memory), MSc (Clinical Linguistics)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Cape Town
Research Fellow, Stellenbosch University

Michelle has worked with young children and children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has also worked as a research consultant and a part-time lecturer at Stellenbosch University. She is currently working as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the University of Cape Town and is a Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University. Her research interests extend to how typically and atypically developing children learn languages, and how certain cognitive mechanisms help languages to be learned, especially in the context of multilingualism. At the moment, she is part of a team adapting assessments that will test young children’s language in order to know if the child’s language is developing typically.

Martin Mössmer

MA (Linguistics) in progress, BA(Hons) (Linguistics)
CLA Project Co-ordinator
University of Cape Town

Martin is working towards his Masters in Linguistics. He has been involved in organising several conferences over the past two years, including the ISGS 8 and the joint ALASA/Sintu7 international conferences. His research interests include language endangerment, undocumented varieties and varieties that exist on the periphery. Finding new and better ways to document languages is always a challenge and traditional methods are not always effective, especially when working with elderly speakers or stigmatised language communities. Martin is interested in non-standard varieties of Afrikaans and the historic links to other languages that are preserved in them. He is also interested in the long-term effects of language classification and standardisation during the colonial eras, and stigma around non-standard varieties is perpetuated by contemporary speech communities, for example in South-eastern Bantu languages. Martin’s BA(Hons) research paper is currently in publication with a major international journal.