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Yolandi Ribbens-Klein

Yolandi Ribbens-Klein graduated with a PhD in Linguistics at UCT in December 2016; her thesis was about the indexicality of Afrikaans rhotic variation, place and belonging. From April 2017 to March 2018 she is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within Prof Mesthrie’s NRF SARChI project ‘Language, Migration and Social Change’ in the Linguistics Section of the School of African & Gender Studies, Anthropology & Linguistics.

She has been active in the Linguistics Section at the University of Cape Town as tutor, research assistant, and part-time lecturer since 2007. She has several years of undergraduate teaching experience, as well as being a tutor for the 2nd year level Linguistics courses. She also conducts postgraduate workshops and seminars in the Linguistics Section.


Yolandi has presented papers at local and international conferences since 2009 (most recently at the Language, Mobility and Belonging Linguistic Anthropology Conference held at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom; 23-25 March 2017).

She is a member of the Linguistics Society of Southern Africa, and is currently part of the local organizing committee for the 20th International Congress of Linguists conference to be held in Cape Town in July, 2018.


Recent Publications

Book Chapter in preparation/under contract.The embodiment of place: boorlinge, inkommers and the struggle to belong’. In: Multilingualism and (Im)mobilities: Language,Power, Agency, edited by Kristine Horner and Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Journal Article. ‘Locality, belonging and the social meanings of Afrikaans rhotic variation in the South Cape: from patterns of frequency towards moments of meaning’. To appear in Multilingual Margins.


Interests and Current Research Projects

Variationist sociolinguistics (specifically production and perception of variation and change in present-day varieties of Afrikaans and South African English), with an interest in incorporating linguistic anthropological approaches to situated, contextually created social meanings through ways of speaking (specifically linguistic ideologies and the discursive constructions of language, place, and belonging). Furthermore, acoustic and articulatory phonetics (specifically of rhotics), and phonological theory (specifically overlap, parallel innovation or sociophonetic transfer in English-Afrikaans bilingual phonologies).

I am currently involved in Prof Rajend Mesthrie’s NRF SARChI project for Language, Migration and Social Change, where I work on his data of varieties of South African English. Specifically, my objective is to do sociophonetic analysis of rhotic variation in the speech of Afrikaans-English bilingual participants.


Consultation Times

By appointment.


Contact Details

Office: Room A17a, AC Jordan Building, Upper Campus

Telephone: +27 (0)21 650 2039

Email: yolandi.ribbens-klein@uct.ac.za or klnyol002@gmail.com