Back to Home-Page

Laudatio for Prof. D J Prinsloo


Prof. Danie Prinsloo started his academic career as a junior lecturer in the Department of African Languages, University of Pretoria, in 1976. His first publication in the field of lexicography was in 1991, and he has since then published 70 articles dealing with lexicography in accredited journals, as well as numerous chapters in books, amongst which is the prestigious Routledge Handbook of Lexicography. He is also a familiar face at national and international conferences, having delivered roughly 120 lexicography related papers. Together with Dr Mariëtta Alberts and Prof. Rufus Gouws, two of Afrilex’s other honorary members, Prof. Prinsloo co-founded Afrilex in 1995. He has since then served uninterruptedly in various capacities on the Board of Afrilex: as Conference Organiser, as Chairperson (1999 – 2003) and as Vice-President (2017 – 2019). He is a member of all the members of the –lex family, i.e. Asian Association for Lexicography (ASIALEX), Australasian Association for Lexicography (AUSTRALEX), European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX), and also of the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA). He represents Afrilex on Globalex, the latest initiative to facilitate cooperation and knowledge sharing within the global lexicographic community. He has been a member of the Editorial Committee of Lexikos since 1997.


Prof. Prinsloo is generally regarded as the main driving force behind the corpus revolution in South African lexicography. He gave valuable guidance on corpus-based lexicography to the National Lexicography Units, setting up corpora and training lexicographers. He also served as a board member of the Sesotho sa Leboa NLU from 2000 to 2008. In his research, Prof. Prinsloo succeeded in bringing lexicography to (South) Africa, but also in taking African lexicography to the international lexicographic arena. His ground-breaking research has drawn attention from many international lexicographers and he is known for his innovative and practical solutions to lexicographic problems pertaining to the African languages.


His standing as an academic of high repute is reflected in the many awards and prizes which he received during his career. These include the ALASA Linguistic Prize for best publication in 2011 with co-author Prof. Ulrich Heid, an award from the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology for the creation of spellcheckers for 10 South African languages (2000-2004) and a PanSALB award for his contribution to multilingualism in the category Effective innovation of technology to promote multilingualism. He was also acknowledged as one of the University of Pretoria’s Centenary Leading Minds in 2008 and is a five times winner of the Outstanding Academic Achiever award at his university.  He is currently a B-rated NRF researcher. This rating is only given to researchers who enjoy considerable international recognition for the high quality and impact of their research outputs.


The impact that Prof. Prinsloo has had on the development of lexicography and the standing that he enjoys within the lexicographic community is reflected in the comments by two internationally renowned lexicographers, i.e. Michael Rundell and Sue Atkins respectively, whom Prof. Prinsloo holds in high esteem:


Danie Prinsloo is best known for his pioneering work on Sepedi and other Bantu languages, and for promoting corpus-based lexicography in southern Africa. But his interests extend far beyond this area. In a number of important conference papers he has described innovative work on topics such as linking corpus data and dictionaries, and configuring the dictionary as a tool for effective and idiomatic text production. Prof. Prinsloo is an influential and highly respected figure on the international lexicographic scene, and he has worked for many years at the cutting edge of developments in reference science. I am delighted to have this opportunity to recommend him for honorary membership of Afrilex, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.”


“It’s an honour and a real pleasure to add my tuppenceworth to all the good things being said about Daan Prinsloo - known and respected throughout the lexicographic community for his immense knowledge and huge energy and warm humanity and great modesty and last but certainly not least his lovely sense of humour.  We met in 1997 at the first SALEX workshop, held in Grahamstown; in 1998. Danie organised the second SALEX workshop, this time in Pretoria, and we had the chance of watching this human dynamo in action for a whole week. It was a delight to contribute to course and to learn so much from him, his colleagues and the other brilliant participants. 


Thank you, Danie, for that and many other interesting, informative and inspiring meetings and conversations since then. And warmest congratulations on receiving this honour, and indeed to Afrilex on honouring such an impressive lexicographic scholar.”


We welcome Prof. Prinsloo as our fifth Honorary Member.