Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Search results for: Esta Van Heerden

7 Input and Interaction as Training for Cognitive Learning: Variation Sets Influence the Sudden Acquisition of Periphrastic estar 'to be' + verb + -ndo*

Authors: Mary Rosa Espinosa-Ochoa


Some constructions appear suddenly in children’s speech and are productive from the beginning. These constructions are supported by others, previously acquired, with which they share semantic and pragmatic features. Thus, for example, the acquisition of the passive voice in German is supported by other constructions with which it shares the lexical verb sein (“to be”). This also occurs in Spanish, in the acquisition of the progressive aspectual periphrasis estar (“to be”) + verb root + -ndo (present participle), supported by locative constructions acquired earlier with the same verb. The periphrasis shares with the locative constructions not only the lexical verb estar, but also pragmatic relations. Both constructions can be used to answer the question ¿Dónde está? (“Where is he/she/it?”), whose answer could be either Está aquí (“He/she/it is here”) or Se está bañando (“He/she/it is taking a bath”).This study is a corpus-based analysis of two children (1;08-2;08) and the input directed to them: it proposes that the pragmatic and semantic support from previously-acquired constructions comes from the input, during interaction with others. This hypothesis is based on analysis of constructions with estar, whose use to express temporal change (which differentiates it from its counterpart ser [“to be”]), is given in variation sets, similar to those described by Küntay and Slobin (2002), that allow the child to perceive the change of place experienced by nouns that function as its grammatical subject. For example, at different points during a bath, the mother says: El jabón está aquí “The soap is here” (beginning of bath); five minutes later, the soap has moved, and the mother says el jabón está ahí “the soap is there”; the soap moves again later on and she says: el jabón está abajo de ti “the soap is under you”. “The soap” is the grammatical subject of all of these utterances. The Spanish verb + -ndo is a progressive phase aspect encoder of a dynamic state that generates a token. The verb + -ndo is also combined with verb estar to encode. It is proposed here that the phases experienced in interaction with the adult, in events related to the verb estar, allow a child to generate this dynamicity and token reading of the verb + -ndo. In this way, children begin to produce the periphrasis suddenly and productively, even though neither the periphrasis nor the verb + -ndo itself are frequent in adult speech.

Keywords: child language acquisition, input, variation sets, Spanish language

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6 Distribution of Current Emerging Contaminants in South Africa Surface and Groundwater

Authors: Jou-An Chen, Julio Castillo, Errol Duncan Cason, Gabre Kemp, Leana Esterhuizen, Angel Valverde Portal, Esta Van Heerden


Emerging contaminants (EC) such as pharmaceutical and personal care products have been accumulating for years in water bodies all over the world. However, very little is known about the occurrences, levels, and effects of ECs in South African water resources. This study provides an initial assessment of the distribution of eight ECs (Acetaminophen, Atrazine, Terbuthlyazine, Carbamazepine, Phenyton, Sulfmethoxazole, Nevirapine and Fluconozole) in fifteen water sources from the Free State and Easter Cape provinces of South Africa. Overall, the physiochemical conditions were different in surface and groundwater samples, with concentrations of several elements such as B, Ca, Mg, Na, NO3, and TDS been statistically higher in groundwater. In contrast, ECs levels, quantified at ng/mL using the LC/MS/ESI, were much lower in groundwater samples. The ECs with higher contamination levels were Carbamazepine, Sulfmethoxazole, Nevirapine, and Terbuthlyazine, while the most widespread were Sulfmethoxazole and Fluconozole, detected in all surface and groundwater samples. Fecal and E. coli tests indicated that surface water was more contaminated than groundwater. Microbial communities, assessed using NGS, were dominated by the phyla Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, in both surface and groundwater. Actinobacteria, Planctomycetes, and Cyanobacteria, were more dominant in surface water, while Verrucomicrobia were overrepresented in groundwater. In conclusion, ECs contamination is closely associated with human activities (human wastes). The microbial diversity identified can suggest possible biodegradation processes.

Keywords: emerging contaminants, EC, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, natural attenuation process

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5 Learning Management System Technologies for Teaching Computer Science at a Distance Education Institution

Authors: Leila Goosen, Dalize van Heerden


The performance outcomes of first year Computer Science and Information Technology students across the world are of great concern, whether they are being taught in a face-to-face environment or via distance education. In the face-to-face environment, it is, however, somewhat easier to teach and support students than it is in a distance education environment. The face-to-face academic can more easily gauge the level of understanding and participation of students and implement interventions to address issues, which may arise. With the inroads that Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 technologies are making, the world of online teaching and learning are rapidly expanding, bringing about technologies, which allows for similar interactions between online academics and their students as available to their face-to-face counter parts. At the University of South Africa (UNISA), the Learning Management System (LMS) is called myUNISA and it is deployed on a SAKAI platform. In this paper, we will take a look at some of the myUNISA technologies implemented in the teaching of a first year programming course, how they are implemented and, in some cases, we will indicate how this affects the performance outcomes of students.

Keywords: computer science, Distance Education Technologies, Learning Management System, face-to-face environment

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4 Comparison of the Effect of Semi-Rigid Ankle Bracing Performance among Ankle Injured Versus Non-Injured Adolescent Female Hockey Players

Authors: T. J. Ellapen, N. Acampora, S. Dawson, J. Arling, C. Van Niekerk, H. J. Van Heerden


Objectives: To determine the comparative proprioceptive performance of injured versus non-injured adolescent female hockey players when wearing an ankle brace. Methods: Data were collected from 100 high school players who belonged to the Highway Secondary School KZN Hockey league via voluntary parental informed consent and player assent. Players completed an injury questionnaire probing the prevalence and nature of hockey injuries (March-August 2013). Subsequently players completed a Biodex proprioceptive test with and without an ankle brace. Probability was set at p≤ 0.05. Results: Twenty-two players sustained ankle injuries within the six months (p<0.001). Injured players performed similarly without bracing Right Anterior Posterior Index (RAPI): 2.8±0.9; Right Medial Lateral Index (RMLI): 1.9±0.7; Left Anterior Posterior Index (LAPI) LAPI: 2.7; Left Medial Lateral Index (LMLI): 1.7±0.6) as compared to bracing (RAPI: 2.7±1.4; RMLI: 1.8±0.6; LAPI: 2.6±1.0; LMLI: 1.5±0.6) (p>0.05). However, bracing (RAPI: 2.2±0.8; RMLI: 1.5±0.5; LAPI: 2.4±0.9; MLI: 1.5±0.5) improved the ankle stability of the non-injured group as compared to their unbraced performance (RAPI: 2.5±1.0; RMLI: 1.8±0.8; LAPI: 2.8±1.1; LMLI: 1.8±0.6) (p<0.05). Conclusion: Ankle bracing did not enhance the stability of injured ankles. However ankle bracing has an ergogenic effect enhancing the stability of healthy ankles.

Keywords: hockey, proprioception, ankle, bracing

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3 Genomic Surveillance of Bacillus Anthracis in South Africa Revealed a Unique Genetic Cluster of B- Clade Strains

Authors: Kgaugelo Lekota, Ayesha Hassim, Henriette Van Heerden


Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax that is composed of three genetic groups, namely A, B, and C. Clade-A is distributed world-wide, while sub-clades B has been identified in Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. KNP is one of the endemic anthrax regions in South Africa with distinctive genetic diversity. Genomic surveillance of KNP B. anthracis strains was employed on the historical culture collection isolates (n=67) dated from the 1990’s to 2015 using a whole genome sequencing approach. Whole genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) and pan-genomics analysis were used to define the B. anthracis genetic population structure. This study showed that KNP has heterologous B. anthracis strains grouping in the A-clade with more prominent ABr.005/006 (Ancient A) SNP lineage. The 2012 and 2015 anthrax isolates are dispersed amongst minor sub-clades that prevail in non-stabilized genetic evolution strains. This was augmented with non-parsimony informative SNPs of the B. anthracis strains across minor sub-clades of the Ancient A clade. Pan-genomics of B. anthracis showed a clear distinction between A and B-clade genomes with 11 374 predicted clusters of protein coding genes. Unique accessory genes of B-clade genomes that included biosynthetic cell wall genes and multidrug resistant of Fosfomycin. South Africa consists of diverse B. anthracis strains with unique defined SNPs. The sequenced B. anthracis strains in this study will serve as a means to further trace the dissemination of B. anthracis outbreaks globally and especially in South Africa.

Keywords: bacillus anthracis, whole genome single nucleotide polymorphisms, pangenomics, kruger national park

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2 RNAseq Reveals Hypervirulence-Specific Host Responses to M. tuberculosis Infection

Authors: Gina Leisching, Ray-Dean Pietersen, Carel Van Heerden, Paul Van Helden, Ian Wiid, Bienyameen Baker


The distinguishing factors that characterize the host response to infection with virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) are largely confounding. We present an infection study with two genetically closely related M.tb strains that have vastly different pathogenic characteristics. The early host response to infection with these detergent-free cultured strains was analyzed through RNAseq in an attempt to provide information on the subtleties which may ultimately contribute to the virulent phenotype. Murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) were infected with either a hyper- (R5527) or hypovirulent (R1507) Beijing M. tuberculosis clinical isolate. RNAseq revealed 69 differentially expressed host genes in BMDMs during comparison of these two transcriptomes. Pathway analysis revealed activation of the stress-induced and growth inhibitory Gadd45 signaling pathway in hypervirulent infected BMDMs. Upstream regulators of interferon activation such as and IRF3 and IRF7 were predicted to be upregulated in hypovirulent-infected BMDMs. Additional analysis of the host immune response through ELISA and qPCR included the use of human THP-1 macrophages where a robust proinflammatory response was observed after infection with the hypervirulent strain. RNAseq revealed two early-response genes (IER3 and SAA3) and two host-defence genes (OASL1 and SLPI) that were significantly upregulated by the hypervirulent strain. The role of these genes under M.tb infection conditions are largely unknown but here we provide validation of their presence with use of qPCR and Western blot. Further analysis into their biological role under infection with virulent M.tb is required.

Keywords: host-response, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, RNAseq, virulence

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1 The Regulation of Alternative Dispute Resolution Institutions in Consumer Redress and Enforcement: A South African Perspective

Authors: Jacolien Barnard, Corlia Van Heerden


Effective and accessible consensual dispute resolution and in particular alternative dispute resolution, are central to consumer protection legislation. In this regard, the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) of South Africa is no exception. Due to the nature of consumer disputes, alternative dispute resolution (in theory) is an effective vehicle for the adjudication of disputes in a timely manner avoiding overburdening of the courts. The CPA sets down as one of its core purposes the provision of ‘an accessible, consistent, harmonized, effective and efficient system of redress for consumers’ (section 3(1)(h) of the CPA). Section 69 of the Act provides for the enforcement of consumer rights and provides for the National Consumer Commission to be the Central Authority which streamlines, adjudicates and channels disputes to the appropriate forums which include Alternative Dispute Resolution Agents (ADR-agents). The purpose of this paper is to analyze the regulation of these enforcement and redress mechanisms with particular focus on the Central Authority as well as the ADR-agents and their crucial role in successful and efficient adjudication of disputes in South Africa. The South African position will be discussed comparatively with the European Union (EU) position. In this regard, the European Union (EU) Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (2013/11/EU) will be discussed (The ADR Directive). The aim of the ADR Directive is to solve contractual disputes between consumers and traders (suppliers or businesses) regardless of whether the agreement was concluded offline or online or whether or not the trader is situated in another member state (Recitals 4-6). The ADR Directive provides for a set of quality requirements that an ADR body or entity tasked with resolving consumer disputes should adhere to in member states which include regulatory mechanisms for control. Transparency, effectiveness, fairness, liberty and legality are all requirements for a successful ADR body and discussed within this chapter III of the Directive. Chapters III and IV govern the importance of information and co-operation. This includes information between ADR bodies and the European Commission (EC) but also between ADR bodies or entities and national authorities enforcing legal acts on consumer protection and traders. (In South Africa the National Consumer Tribunal, Provincial Consumer Protectors and Industry ombuds come to mind). All of which have a responsibility to keep consumers informed. Ultimately the papers aims to provide recommendations as to the successfulness of the current South African position in light of the comparative position in Europe and the highlight the importance of proper regulation of these redress and enforcement institutions.

Keywords: alternative dispute resolution, consumer protection law, enforcement, redress

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