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On-line version ISSN 2224-0039
Print version ISSN 1684-4904

Lexikos vol.32 spe Stellenbosch  2022 



Lexikos and AFRILEX - A Perfect Lexicographic Liaison


Lexikos en AFRILEX - Perfekte leksikografiese samewerking



Marietta Alberts

Former Director: Terminology and Standardisation, Pan-South African Language Board (PanSALB) (




After in-depth discussions with interested parties in 1991 the Bureau of the Woorde-boek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) realized that the future of Afrikaans is inextricably connected with that of the other existing and utilized languages in South Africa. One of the results of the discussions was the establishment in 1991 of an academic journal Lexikos in the AFRILEX Series. An external feasibility study was also conducted on behalf of the Board of Control of the Bureau of the WAT to determine the possibility for the establishment of an Institute for Southern African Lexicography. The results of the feasibility study indicated that respondents did not want another bureaucratic institution. A major result of the feasibility study, however, was the establishment in 1995 of a professional association, the African Association for Lexicography, that concentrates exclusively on lexicographical issues. The Bureau of the WAT gave permission to the new association to use the acronym "AFRILEX". The Pan-South African Language Board (PanSALB), also established in 1995, was a direct consequence of the country's new multilingual dispensation. The legislation governing PanSALB was amended to allow for equal justice to all dictionary projects for the official South African languages. This led to the establishment of national lexicography units for each of the official South African languages. Both the activities of AFRILEX and the articles published in Lexikos have a huge influence on the activities of the national lexicography units.



Na diepgaande samespreking met belanghebbendes in 1991 het die Buro van die Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) besef dat Afrikaans se toekoms onlosmaaklik verbind is aan die ander tale wat in Suid-Afrika bestaan en gebruik word. Een van die uitvloeisels van die samesprekings was die totstandkoming in 1991 van 'n vaktydskrif Lexikos in die AFRILEX-reeks. Die Beheerraad van die Buro van die WAT het ook 'n eksterne lewensvatbaarheidstudie laat doen om die moontlikheid vir die stigting van 'n Instituut vir Suider-Afrikaanse Leksikografie te bepaal. Die resultate van die lewensvatbaarheidstudie het getoon dat respondente nie nog 'n burokratiese instelling wou hê nie. 'n Verdere uitvloeisel van die lewensvatbaarheidstudie was egter die stigting in 1995 van 'n vakvereniging, die African Assosciation for Lexicography, wat uitsluitlik op leksikografiese aangeleenthede fokus. Die Buro van die WAT het toestemming gegee dat hierdie nuwe vakvereniging die akroniem "AFRILEX" gebruik. Die Pan-Suid-Afrikaanse Taalraad (PanSAT), wat ook in 1995 tot stand gekom het, was die direkte uitvloeisel van die nuwe meertalige beleid. Ten einde gelyke beregtiging vir alle woordeboekprojekte in al die amptelike Suid-Afrikaanse tale te weeg te bring, is die PanSAT-wetgewing gewysig. Dit het tot gevolg gehad dat nasionale leksikografiese eenhede vir elk van die amptelike Suid-Afrikaanse tale gestig is. Sowel AFRILEX se bedrywighede en die artikels wat in Lexikos gepubliseer word, het 'n groot invloed op die werksaamhede van die nasionale leksikografiese eenhede.

Sleutelwoorde: kommunikasie, leksikografie, lewensvatbaarheidstudie, NASIONALE LEKSIKOGRAFIESE EENHEDE, TERMINOGRAFIE, TERMINOLOGIE, VAKtaal, vaktydskrif, vakvereniging, wetgewing, woordeboek



The essential point was the need for general recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of modern lexicographical work and the genuine will to cooperate.

(Reichling 1982)


1. Introduction

Thirty years ago, in 1991, a perfect lexicographical liaison started with the publication of the first volume in an academic series of books and forged four years later in 1995 with the establishment of a professional association - both dedicated to the lexicography practice in their country of origin, South Africa. This perfect lexicographical liaison was formed between Lexikos in the AFRILEX Series and the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX) - both dedicated in their own unique way to enhance the principles, practice and usage of dictionaries in Africa and abroad and to assist with communication processes.

Language is the collective interest of the whole community and touches the communication needs of everyone in South Africa. The support for lexicographical activities and the compilation of various types of monolingual, bilingual and multilingual general dictionaries in the official languages and terminology lists in various subject areas underpins the South African policy of multilingualism, since it would contribute to the documentation of all official indigenous languages in the various languages or subject-related areas.

The Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) started publishing an academic journal Lexikos since 1991. The publication was one of the outcomes of a discussion held by the Board of Control of the Bureau of the WAT and various stakeholders. One of the most important aims with the publication of Lexikos in the AFRILEX series has always been to create a communication channel for national and international discussions on lexicographical issues, and in particular to serve lexicography in Africa, with its rich linguistic diversity.

As a result of an external feasibility study, conducted on behalf of the Bureau of the WAT the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX) was established in 1995. Lexicographic communication in Africa and abroad gained momentum with the establishment of AFRILEX and when Lexikos also officially became its mouthpiece. Officially Lexikos 6 was the first volume in the joint venture between Lexikos and AFRILEX.

It is important for any association to have a journal in which its members can publish the results of their research and their lexicographical endeavours. AFRILEX was in the privileged position to acquire in Lexikos a well-established journal with a scientific reputation respected both locally and internationally. The lexicographic discussion is stimulated during AFRILEX activities such as its annual international conferences and through the academic discourse in Lexikos.

In this article the focus is placed on the development of Lexikos and the establishment and activities of AFRILEX. The lasting liaison between Lexikos and AFRILEX and their influence on the establishment of the national lexicography units also receive attention.


2. Lexikos

Lexikos is a journal for the lexicographical specialist and enthusiast and is the only journal in Africa exclusively devoted to lexicography. The word "lexikos" is derived from the Greek word meaning "of or for words". Lexikos is since 1991 published by the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal in the AFRILEX Series. AFRILEX is the acronym for "lexicography in or for Africa".

2.1 Historical background

From 27 to 29 November 1989 formal discussions were held between the editorial staff of the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal and a group of prominent linguists on various lexicographical issues in order to transform the lexicographical practices of the Bureau. It was soon realized that there was an urgent need for the exchange of lexicographical and related knowledge and information, publications and experiences between South African lexicographers, linguists, academics, scholars as well as lexicographical and linguistic institutions abroad. A lexicographical growing point and stimulus was needed for the sharing of lexicographical activities and for lexicological reasoning in all South African languages. These discussions indirectly resulted in the establishment of Lexikos, which, as specialized academic journal, could serve as an excellent medium and vehicle for lexicographic discussions and exchange of information on lexicographical and terminographical research, principles and practice, experience, as well as management issues. It could contribute to, and stimulate academic discourse not only in Africa but also in the international lexicographical community. The AFRILEX series aimed to reflect on the implications of cooperation on the lexicographical profession and to fill the void of the lack of periodicals or monographs series dedicated solely to lexicography in Africa. It furthermore aimed to become a forum to discuss lexicography - a difficult but intellectually rewarding profession (Van Schalkwyk 1991: xx).

The first edition of Lexikos in the AFRILEX Series was published on 30 July 1991 by the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT). As Manager: Editorial Support Services at the Bureau of the WAT, Mr Pieter Harteveld was the first editor of Lexikos. The journal was fully prepared, typeset, proofread and financed by the Bureau. Ms Hermien van der Westhuizen, Ms Eleanor van Zuydam, and Ms Hanlie Meitzler of the Division Editorial Support Services assisted the editor with the editing and layout of the publication and the Bureau's Division Editorial Processing helped with proofreading. The cover of the journal was designed by Mr Piet Grobler.

Mr Etienne Botha, Ms Tanja Harteveld and Ms Riette Ruthven later joined the Division Editorial Support Services and provided assistance with the administration, editing, proofreading and electronic typesetting of the journal (Van Schalkwyk 1996: xiv). Ms Harteveld also acted/acts as review editor for recent publications.

2.2 Publications

The Lexikos journals were planned to be issues in a series of books (the AFRI-LEX Series) for specialists and all contributions should therefore be subject-related - dealing with pure lexicography on the one hand and linguistics, computer lexicography and management on the other hand (Harteveld 1991: xii). The first contributions published in Lexikos were only in Afrikaans and English. An English and an Afrikaans abstract containing an overview of the content of a contribution allowed for access to non-speakers of the language used in the specific contribution. In order to allow for discourse globally the journal later also included other languages such as Dutch, French and German. The articles should be accompanied by two summaries: one in English, French, German or Dutch, and the other in any other language used in Africa. In this way the main argument of the articles could be understood both locally and internationally (Du Plessis 2002: xi).

In the first issue of Lexikos (AFRILEX Series 1; 1991) the wish was expressed to promote lexicographical discussions across the whole of Africa by means of the publication. The second issue of Lexikos already indicated such improved cooperation with contributions from four countries outside South Africa, namely Egypt, Australia, Japan and the United States of America. The articles also showed a larger variety of languages which serve as objects of lexicographical research. In addition to Afrikaans (including Cape Muslim Afrikaans) and English, the South African languages Northern Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu, as well as Japanese, were in the second edition subjected to lexicographical investigation (Harteveld 1992: ix). Later volumes of Lexikos indicated global interest for lexicographical discourse and several other languages were lexicographically scrutinized.

Training is needed on both the formal and informal levels and in this regard Lexikos has a vital role to play. The emphasis of articles should ideally be on the theoretical and practical aspects of lexicography, but articles focusing on the training of dictionary compilers and on the education of dictionary users should also be included (Gouws 1998: xiv). Lexicographers and terminographers have to address the specific needs of the dictionary user. Dictionary compilers should know who their target users are and should familiarize themselves with the users' needs. Dictionaries should be user-friendly and users should be able to easily access and retrieve dictionary information. These are some of the burning issues experienced by inter alia the national lexicography units (NLUs) and which could be addressed by relevant articles in Lexikos (Alberts 2003: xiv-xv).

The focus cum scope of Lexikos is articles dealing with all aspects of lexicography and terminography or the implications that research in related fields of research such as linguistics, computer and information science may have for lexicography and all contributions in these fields are considered for publication. Initially only articles were included but later it became necessary to add other types of contributions and categories such as reviews and announcements. As from Lexikos 4 the contributions were distinguished typologically and classified under headings such as Articles, Review Articles; Projects; Reports and Lexiconotes. In recent years more headings were added such as: Research Articles; Contemplative Articles; On Learners' Dictionaries; Overview of Projects; Reviews; Lexiconotes; Lexicosoftware; Lexiconews; Lexicovaria; Lexicohonour; Lexicotribute; Lexicosurvey; Lexicobibliography, Lexicofocus; Prepublication Announcements; Publication Announcements; On the Compilation of Monolingual Dictionaries; Terminology Management; Meetings, and Corpora.

As from the first volume of Lexikos two or more highly-rated lexicographical experts adjudicated each article. Articles and review articles are subject to strict anonymous evaluation by independent academic peers in order to ensure the international research quality thereof. All types of contributions are peer reviewed and no concessions are made in this regard.

A Lexikos volume is published annually, but in 2009 Lexikos 19 and Lexikos 19 Supplement were published. The first 30 volumes have already been published (i.e. ISSN 2224-0039 [online]; ISSN 1684-4904 [print]). The initial volumes were published as hard copies and the publication of the printed issues was made possible inter alia by a generous donation from the L.W. Hiemstra Trust. As from 2018 Lexikos is published electronically and only a few hard copies were made available. Currently all editions are available online only. Lexikos has an open access policy in order to provide immediate open access to the content on the principle that making research freely available to the lexicography community and the public supports a greater global exchange of related knowledge. Since 2020 the journal follows a publish-as-you-go approach: as soon as an article has completed the review process and revisions (if any) had been made, it is immediately published online. Lexikos is available online at and from Sabinet, AJOL, Ebsco and Proquest.

From volume 4 onwards Lexikos has been accredited by the Department of Education as an income generating publication - this once again confirmed the high standard of the journal.

Lexikos holds a Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0. The journal is hosted by the Stellenbosch University Information Service (SU LIS) on request of the editor.

Lexikos is an indexed journal for which an Impact Factor is being calculated in the category Linguistics. With an Impact Factor of 0.667, Lexikos in 2009 rated 49th out of 92 journals in the Linguistics Category, which placed it in the so-called third quartile. In 2017 the Impact Factor of Lexikos as Linguistics Journal was higher than the average among journals in humanities published outside the Western World. This indicates that Lexikos established itself as one of the leading lexicographical journals in the world.

Lexikos is ISI-rated by Clarivate Web of Science on their various indexes, inter alia Arts and Humanities Citation Index®, Current Contents®/Arts & Humanities, Current Contents®/Social and Behavioral Sciences, Journal Citation Reports/Social Sciences Edition, Social Sciences Citation Index®, EuroPub Index and Social Scisearch®. Lexikos is furthermore indexed on Scopus, Linguistics Bibliography Online, Linguistics Abstracts Online, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA International Bibliography and R.R.K. Hart-mann's Bibliography of Lexicography.

2.3 Editors and management

With the publication of the international lexicographical journal Lexikos the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal shifted its focus to national and international lexicography. The establishment of Lexikos was one of the most important consequences of the Bureau's transformation into a modern dictionary office where dictionary compilation processes are conducted according to relevant metalexicographical principles (Botha 2003: xii). The first editors of Lexikos were all staff members of the Bureau.

The respective editors were/are responsible for the various editions of Lexikos. Since 1994 an Advisory Board as well as an Editorial Committee of international standing were appointed. The Advisory Board primarily gives advice to the editor and the Editorial Committee judges contributions for Lexikos to help ensure the academic quality of the publication.

The first editor of Lexikos was Mr Pieter Harteveld. He was the editor of the first five volumes of this publication but unfortunately suddenly passed away on 8 March 1996. His contribution to the establishment and expansion of Lexikos was remarkable. The scientific standard and relevance of the research contributions was of great importance to him. As Manager: Editorial Support Services at the Bureau of the WAT he saw to it that the presentation, layout and typography of Lexikos were easily accessible to the reader. His perfectionist attitude was apparent in the editorial treatment of every article in Lexikos (Van Schalkwyk 1996: xiii).

After Mr Harteveld's passing Dr D.J. (Dirk) Van Schalkwyk, then Editor-in-Chief of the Bureau of the WAT, acted as editor of Lexikos 6 to finalize the publication. His ideal for cooperative lexicography that could lead to joint projects with tertiary institutions and dictionary units in Africa and Europe was reflected in this publication.

As from Lexikos 7 Dr J.C.M.D. (Johan) du Plessis took over as editor, that is from 1997 to 2010. When Dr Du Plessis retired from his position as the final editor at the Bureau of the WAT, he kept his post as editor of Lexikos, and he remained in this position until Lexikos 20 was published. He once again acted as editor of Lexikos 23 when the appointed editor was unavailable due to pressure of work and other commitments. During his editorship Dr Du Plessis established and strengthened the journal's position and status as scientific journal on an international level. He managed to create a true culture of scientific reporting on lexicography in Africa and abroad. He guided novice contributors by assisting them with their contributions.

Since 2011 Lexikos has been edited on a rotating triumvirate: Prof. Elsabé Taljard, Department of African Languages, University of Pretoria, Prof. D.J. (Danie) Prinsloo, Department of African Languages, University of Pretoria and Prof. R.H. (Rufus) Gouws, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, Stellenbosch University. In 2016 Prof. Rufus Gouws had to withdraw from the team owing to other work and obligations. Dr Hugues (Steve) Ndinga-Koumba-Binza, University of the Western Cape and Département des Sciences du Langage, Université Omar Bongo, Libreville, Gabon then joined the editorial team. Due to the increased workload brought about by the editorship of Lexikos, Mr André du Plessis, co-editor at the WAT was also brought on board. Although the editorial team shares the joint responsibility for each volume, one member of the team is annually appointed as final editor. The current team of rotating editors is Prof. Elsabé Taljard, Prof. Dion Nkomo and Dr Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza, assisted by Mr Du Plessis.

Prof. Elsabé Taljard acted as editor of volumes 21, 25 and 28 of Lexikos and she is also the editor of Lexikos 31. With Prof. Taljard as editor at the helm of Lexikos, the future of this internationally recognized journal is bright. She is an expert in the fields of lexicography and terminography, especially those of the African languages and as editor she manages to cater for lexicography and terminography development on the African continent.

As editor of Lexikos 24 Prof. Rufus Gouws focused on an inclusive approach regarding the promotion of opportunities to discuss language-specific as well as general theoretical issues of lexicography. He furthermore stressed the value of Lexikos displaying a definite lexicographic and metalexicographic community of collaborators consisting of well-trained lexicographers, dictionary units and trained dictionary users. The contribution Prof. Gouws had made in establishing Lexikos as journal of choice for both national and international lexicographers can hardly be overestimated. His sound judgment and knowledge of both practical and theoretical lexicography have made him an outstanding editor (Taljard 2015: xii).

Prof. Danie Prinsloo, a founder member of AFRILEX, acted as the editor of Lexikos 22 in 2012. The publication again stimulated discourse between lexicographers as well as between lexicographers and linguists, and even laypeople. Collaborators continued to publish contributions to the lexicographic discussion in the specialist journal Lexikos in the AFRILEX Series, but monographic and other studies appeared as separate publications in the AFRILEX Series.

Prof. Prinsloo also acted as editor for Lexikos 26 in 2016 - the year when AFRILEX celebrated its 21st Birthday at the 21st International Conference of AFRILEX in Tzaneen, South Africa. This was befitting since he was instrumental in the establishment of AFRILEX. Prof. Prinsloo was at the time Head of the Department of African Languages at the University of Pretoria, and an outstanding scholar in the field of linguistics and lexicography, especially regarding research in African indigenous languages. His contributions towards Lexikos and AFRILEX contributed much to the development of lexicography and terminography on the African continent.

Prof. Elsabe Taljard and Dr Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza ably assisted Prof. Prinsloo with the compilation of Lexikos 26. Lexikos 29 was again compiled under the editorship of Prof. Danie Prinsloo and this time he was competently assisted by Prof. Dion Nkomo. Prof. Prinsloo not only contributed to the value of contributions published in Lexikos but he clearly also shares his experience in the field of theoretical and practical lexicography with other members by mentoring them also in aspects such as the editing of a prestigious academic publication such as Lexikos.

As co-editor of Lexikos 26, Dr Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza, regarded the 2016 volume of Lexikos under the editorship of Prof. Danie Prinsloo as a training phase. He also regarded his editorship of Lexikos 27 as a continuous learning experience, albeit enjoyable and manageable. There is, however, no doubt in the minds of AFRILEX members that he is capable of fulfilling his role as editor of Lexikos. He also acted as editor of Lexikos 30 in 2020.

2.4 Lexikos encouragement Prize for Scholarly Writing

While editor of Lexikos, Dr Johan du Plessis, in 2005, initiated the Lexikos encouragement prize for scholarly writing for entrants under 35 years of age. Contributions were awaited at the end of March of the relevant year and none of the entrants should previously have published more than two articles. This prize aimed to encourage students in lexicography and young lexicographers to conduct significant research in their field of study, and to raise the standard of scholarly writing in the field of lexicography. Competing for the prize therefore took the form of a scientific article. These articles could deal with a lexicographical or metalexicographical aspect or aspects of any language or languages used in Africa. Contenders to the prize submitted articles dealing with lexicographical or metalexicographical aspects of languages used in Africa, and the winning article was published in Lexikos. Although an amount of R1 500 was offered at the time, the real intention of the prize lied in its prestige value. In years when no candidates submitted articles, the prize was not presented. The Board, however, urged young lexicographers cum researchers to submit research articles.

2.5 Lexikos and AFRILEX

Since 1996 Lexikos is the official journal of the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX) (cf. paragraph 3). When it became the AFRILEX mouthpiece for discussions on lexicography and terminography, especially in Africa with its rich language diversity, one of the most important aims with the publication of Lexikos still remained, namely the establishment of a communication channel for national and international lexicographic discussion. Lexikos serves these fields inter alia by

- stimulating discussion between lexicographers, and between lexicographers and linguists;

- establishing and promoting contact with local and foreign lexicographic projects, to focus general attention to the intrinsic nature (principles and practice) of lexicography, which also involves fields such as lexicology, terminography, linguistics, general linguistics, computer and information science, management, etc.;

- fostering and coordinating cooperation in all fields of lexicography, and

- promoting the aims of AFRILEX (cf.


3. The African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX)

3.1 Background

Dictionaries play a vital role in communication and communication is vital for the well-being of all citizens of a country. Dictionary users may experience communication needs due to a lack of information in general and technical dictionaries and other lexicographical information resources (e.g. word or term banks). This could be related to insufficient dictionary products and/or lexicographical practice (Alberts 2005: 317). This statement was very true for South Africa during the bilingual political dispensation in the country (i.e. prior to 1994). The South African dictionary practice was fragmented. Different private, tertiary or government dictionary components or units were established as a result of historical, cultural, political or institutional reasons.

Only two dictionary units were funded by the South African government, i.e. the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) in Stellenbosch and the Dictionary Unit for South African English (DSAE) in Grahamstown. This was as a result of the bilingual dispensation of the country at the time.

The "Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal" Act (Act 50 of 1973) describes the activities and functions of the Bureau which was established in 1925. Several Parliamentary debates on the "Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal" Amendment Act, 1991, further highlighted the position of the Bureau as lexicographic unit within the boundaries of South Africa. The Amendment Act was passed by Parliament in February 1991 and the substitutions and amendments provided greater autonomy to the Board of Control of the Bureau in regard to the appointment of staff and financial management (Bureau of the WAT 1991: 1, 9-10).

One of the tasks of the Bureau of the WAT is to liaise with South African, African, and overseas lexicographic and other linguistic institutions with a view to exchanging lexicographical knowledge, information and publications, and to act as a growth point and stimulus for lexicographical activities and lexicological thought (Bureau of the WAT 1991: 2). During the previous bilingual political dispensation (i.e. prior to 1994) advantageous liaison and collaboration was continued by the WAT with the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal at the Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie (INL) in the Netherlands, the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA), the European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX), and the Dictionary Unit for South African English (DSAE) at the Rhodes University in Grahamstown. This was done by means of correspondence and the exchange of quarterly and annual reports (Bureau of the WAT 1991: 7-8). The Bureau, however, also felt the need for liaison with local dictionary projects compiled for the African languages.

In light of certain assumptions made on the position of Afrikaans in a future post-Apartheid political order and how this affected the financial positioning of the Bureau, the Board of Control and the Bureau started discussing the desirability and possibility of privatization of the Bureau in 1991 (Bureau of the WAT 1991: 5). The Board of Control furthermore discussed the possibility of establishing an Institute for Southern African Lexicography. It was decided to conduct a feasibility study to determine the attitudes, meanings and need for such an institute among interested parties within the lexicographical community in South Africa (Alberts 1993: xi). The then Editor-in-Chief of the Bureau of the WAT Dr D.J. (Dirk) van Schalkwyk requested an independent external research team consisting of Dr Marietta Alberts (project leader) and Prof. William Branford to conduct a feasibility study. The research was conducted during 1992 (Alberts 1993: 1, 4; Alberts 2005: 316-320).

3.2 Feasibility Study

In 1991 the Board of Control of the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) requested a feasibility study to determine the need for a Southern African Institute for Lexicography (Alberts 1993). The purpose of such an Institute was to unite the different private, tertiary and governmental bodies that had been in place in the dictionary practice in South Africa as the outcome of historical, cultural and other reasons. While initiating the idea of an institute, the members of the Board of Control realized that such an institute could not be established without the consent, support and collaboration of all the stakeholders in the Southern African lexicography scene.

Funding for the feasibility study was obtained from GENCOR Development Trust. Although the Board of Control of the Bureau initiated the feasibility study the intended institute would not be financed by the Bureau nor any other South African dictionary unit. The institute would also not be managed nor controlled by the Board of Control of the Bureau of the WAT. The Bureau would share, like all other participants, an equal part in such an institute. The Board also realized that an institute could not be established without the collaboration and consent of all stakeholders in the Southern African lexicography fraternity (Alberts 1993: 1).

3.2.1 Problem statement

The premises that ruled the problem statement indicated that dictionaries play a significant role in providing proper communication and that proper communication was favourable for the welfare of every country and the speech communities. Dictionary users could experience communication needs as a result of poor information in dictionaries and other lexicographical information resources such as word and term banks due to an insignificant lexicographical practice (Alberts 1993: 1).

At the time of the research project (1992) still only the official dictionary offices of Afrikaans and English, i.e. the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) and the Dictionary Unit for South African English (DSAE) respectively, received funding from the government of South Africa. One of the problems experienced by lexicographical units in South Africa was the lack of proper funding. The Bureau of the WAT and the English Dictionary Unit received government funding due to the official status of Afrikaans and English. The dictionary units of the local African languages did not share in this privilege to receive government funding - the few dictionaries compiled in these languages were either university-based or private initiatives, and therefore privately financed. Another problem was the lack of trained lexicographers and terminographers in the country (Alberts 2005: 317). Efficient communication and proper financial assistance were therefore needed to produce more dictionaries, to train lexicographers and terminologists for all Southern African languages and to provide proper general and technical dictionaries in all the languages used in South Africa (Alberts 1993: 1). It was furthermore thought that a national institute could disseminate available expertise and provide in-house training.

3.2.2 Research areas

Three research areas were determined for the feasibility study:

- the need for an Institute for Southern African Lexicography;

- the structure of such an institute;

- possible cooperation between various local stakeholders (Alberts 1993: 2).

3.2.3 Research methodology

The research was done according to proven research methodologies and practices (cf. Babbie 1983: 94; Alberts 1990: 17-20).

The targeted respondents received a covering letter, an information document explaining the purpose of the research, and a questionnaire. Prior to the formal study, the questionnaire was tested during a preliminary investigation among stakeholders (Alberts 1993: Annexure 6). Research information was obtained by means of the approved questionnaire that was available in English and Afrikaans and which contained 15 questions related to the research topic (Alberts 1993: Annexure 5).

3.2.4 Target group

The external needs assessment study targeted 186 known individuals involved in dictionary compilation, government-supported lexicographical projects, lexicography units, language offices, publishing houses, training institutions, publishers, educational or cultural committees of political groupings, lecturers teaching lexicography, terminography, linguistics, translation studies, heads of linguistics and language departments, lexicographers at universities, various opinion-formers, Ministers and MEC's responsible for education and/or cultural affairs, and language boards, cultural associations, political and cultural groupings, and all associations involved in linguistics and/or the lexicography practice at the time (Alberts 1993: Annexure 4).

3.2.5 Research findings

The respondents were very positive regarding future liaison possibilities. The main concern of the respondents turned out to be the lack of coordination of lexicographic efforts. The respondents wanted collaboration, training and the sharing of knowledge and expertise in the field, but they did not agree on a formal structure such as an institute. There was reservation about introducing a new formal bureaucratic controlling structure, underlined by the fear that an institute might hamper private initiatives and activities.

Some respondents suggested that a coordinating body, a clearinghouse or association, should be established as an interim structure before deciding on an institute. An association for lexicography could (re)unite interested parties, allaying underlying fears regarding individual projects and offer expertise, training, information, news, etc. rather than undermining any lexicographic efforts.

The response indicated that an Institute for Southern African Lexicography was viable but it also showed that the important role-players did not feel a need for such an Institute. The success of such an institute would have relied on their collaboration. The results of the feasibility study further indicated that respondents were afraid of a governing body with enforceable power, i.e. an authoritative and official body. They required a flexible structure with a lot of freedom. It was clear that there was at the time not a need for an official institute. It was strongly felt that whatever body is formed, it should not be bureaucratically structured and should not restrict individual freedom, inter alia with regard to management and control. A keen interest was, however, shown for a unifying body among lexicographers and members of related professions. There was also clearly a great need for collaboration, cooperation, coordination and communication - the four C's (Alberts 1993).

The response to the investigation into an Institute for Southern-African Lexicography (Alberts 1993: Annexures 7-30) could be summarized as follows:

- that the time was not ripe for the immediate establishment of a lexicographical institute;

- that a professional association for South African lexicography should be established as soon as possible to address the expressed needs of the respondents for communication between lexicographers, the study of lexicography, and a measure of cooperation between lexicographical activities and enterprises;

- that such an association could, if possible, function initially for the time being under the auspices of the Linguistic Society of Southern Africa (LSSA);

- that the new association should formulate its constitution and define its objectives and programme of action.

3.2.6 Recommendations

The study recommended that the professional association should, to ensure autonomy, have its own constitution and formulate its own aims and projects, to include:

- the establishment of a liaison office or clearing house to coordinate projects

- setting up an email network

- issuing a quarterly newsletter

- publishing an accredited magazine (The possibility was mentioned that the Bureau of the WAT's already established journal Lexikos of the AFRILEX Series could fulfil this role.)

- organizing an annual conference to share professional information

- formulating a national policy regarding lexicography.

It was argued that:

- the new envisaged association would cost far less than a lexicographical institute. It would however, require fairly substantial funds, far in excess of what subscriptions from membership fees would yield, and its planners should address the question of funding immediately;

- the imbalance in the past between public expenditure on Afrikaans and English on the one hand and on African languages on the other, should be readdressed;

- lexicography depends to a great extent on publishing houses. Some publishers have an excellent record regarding the publication of dictionaries. Others try to make a profit without taking into consideration the overheads and research costs involved in the lexicographic compilation process. Publishers and newspaper corporations should be encouraged to effectively finance dictionary research and compilation, and to support the association financially if it comes into being.

Several suggestions were made on how to proceed:

- all respondents should be informed of the envisaged professional association;

- respondents who indicated interest in an association should be contacted to take part in the process of its planning;

- all the respondents and other interested parties would be invited to join the association and become members;

- a meeting should be called as soon as possible to gather stakeholders and interested parties for the establishment of such a professional association;

- feedback regarding the outcomes of the feasibility study should be given to all respondents;

- the report on the feasibility study should be made available to all stakeholders and decision-makers in the field of lexicography.

The research team therefore decided to suggest to the Board of Control of the Bureau of the WAT that the response on the feasibility study clearly indicated the need for a professional association for lexicography to be established to meet the needs of lexicographers and other related interest groups. The report on the feasibility study was presented to the Board of Control in 1992, and Afrikaans and English versions of the report were published in 1993 by the Bureau of the WAT. Members of the Board of Control were obviously not in full agreement with the conclusions of the study since they had hoped that the respondents would agree on the establishment of an Institute for Southern African Lexicography.

3.3 AFRILEX - then and now

3.3.1 Viability of an Association for Lexicography in Southern Africa

Apart from existing dictionary units and the national terminology office, the interest of lexicography and terminography in South Africa had up to the beginning of 1995 been served by the Linguistic Society of Southern Africa (LSSA) and the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA). Lexicographers, however, according to the feasibility study felt the need for the establishment of an association dedicated to lexicography (Alberts 2005: 320).

In March 1995, Prof. D.J. (Danie) Prinsloo and Dr Marietta Alberts drafted a questionnaire to test the viability of an association for lexicography. Over 800 questionnaires were mailed to members of ALASA, LSSA, publishers, government departments, and even political parties.

The idea was greeted by overwhelming enthusiasm that left no option other than to establish an association. A postal nomination and voting procedure then followed. A Board was elected by postal vote with a ballot percentage of nearly 80%.

3.3.2 The establishment of AFRILEX in 1995

On 14 July 1995 several lexicographers, academics and stakeholders came together at the closure of the Eighth International Conference of the African Languages Association for South Africa (ALASA) to establish a professional lexicography association. At 11:00 Dr R.R.K. (Reinhard) Hartmann, who chaired the inaugural meeting and facilitated the whole process and the election of office bearers, officially announced the birth of the new member of the Lex family: the African Association for Lexicography.

Prof. R.H. (Rufus) Gouws was elected as Chairperson, Ms I.M. (Irene) Dippenaar and Prof. Sizwe Satyo were elected as Vice-Chairpersons, Dr Marietta Alberts as Secretary-Treasurer, Prof. Danie Prinsloo as Conference Organizer, and Mr Pieter Harteveld, the Editor of Lexikos, was coopted to the Board. Other Board members were: Prof. Adelia Carstens, Prof. Tony Links, Prof. Louis Louwrens, Prof. Buyiswa Mini, Prof. A.C. Nkabinde, Prof. Piet Swanepoel and Dr Dirk van Schalkwyk.

The Bureau of the WAT granted permission to this new Association to adopt the acronym AFRILEX as its name. After the establishment of the Association the Bureau's publication, Lexikos, became the official mouthpiece of the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX).

AFRILEX is fortunate to have an accredited magazine such as Lexikos, which is published by the Bureau of the WAT and serves to promote lexicography in its broadest sense. AFRILEX shares responsibility for the future existence of Lexikos with the Bureau of the WAT. AFRILEX membership fees do not cover the cost to produce Lexikos. The Bureau of the WAT attracts donations or sponsorships to be able to subsidize Lexikos publications.

AFRILEX publishes the journal Lexikos in the AFRILEX series and other appropriate literature. This creates an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas and to a mutual stimulus for researchers and practitioners in the fields of lexicography and terminography.

3.3.3 Management

AFRILEX is managed by a Board that is elected bi-annually at conferences or by postal or email ballot and holds annual general meetings during the annual international conferences. The first Board drafted a constitution that was adopted at the first Board meeting. Over the years some amendments were made to the constitution so as to keep it updated and relevant.

The Board and Executive work according to portfolios and each Board member has an allocated task to fulfil:

- President: oversees the activities of the association and its liaison with other associations;

- Vice-President: performs the responsibilities of the President when the President cannot do so;

- Secretary: keeps minutes, writes letters, and liaises with Board and general members;

- Registrar: updates the address lists, manages and maintains the AFRILEX database, and sends the address list to the editor and the compilers of Lexikos at the Bureau of the WAT;

- Treasurer: processes membership payments, changes the signatories, and prepares the auditor's report;

- Organizer: organizes seminars, workshops, tutorials and the annual conference, and liaises with other associations (e.g. to coordinate dates);

- Webmaster: maintains the website;

- Editor of Lexikos: serves on the Executive of the Board as ex officio member.

Each Board member tries to promote the Association at various conferences, seminars and symposia, e.g. by taking AFRILEX flyers to such gatherings. AFRILEX members also contribute to this drive (Alberts 2005: 322).

The following members served as Chairpersons/Presidents of AFRILEX:

- Prof. Rufus Gouws (1995-1998)

- Prof. Danie Prinsloo (1999-2002)

- Dr Mariëtta Alberts (2003-2006)

- Prof. Rufus Gouws (2007-2008)

- Prof. Gilles-Maurice de Schryver (2009-2012)

- Dr Maropeng Victor Mojela (2013-2016)

- Prof. Herman L Beyer (2017-2020)

The current Board (2021) consists of:

- Executive: Prof. Langa Khumalo (President); Prof. Sonja Bosch (Vice-President); Prof. Elsabé Taljard (Treasurer), Prof. Dion Nkomo (Secretary).

- Board Members: Dr Philip Louw, Dr Lorna Morris, Dr H. Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza and Mr André H. du Plessis.

The AFRILEX constitution makes provision for postal or email ballot as well as ballot at an annual general meeting (AGM). Initially postal nominations were received beforehand and the voting process was conducted at an AGM by paid-up members. Technically it is not a problem to vote at an AGM but members not attending an AGM do not have a chance to vote. AFRILEX decided upon a more democratic ballot system and maintains a bi-annual postal or email voting system. This system was decided upon because not all members are in a position to attend the annual general meeting. With a postal or email ballot, all members of the Association are able to bring out a vote.

3.3.4 Activities

AFRILEX aims to organize regular international conferences and seminars on topics relevant at a specific time. The Board coordinates conference dates with those of other local linguistic associations like ALASA and LSSA. A total of five continental associations for lexicography are currently active and AFRILEX cooperates with the other international lexicography associations, namely the European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX), the Asian Association for Lexicography (ASIALEX), the Australian Association for Lexicography (AUSTRA-LEX), the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA), etc., and members attend conferences of these associations whenever possible. AFRILEX aims to coordinate conference dates with local and international associations (Alberts 2006).

AFRILEX also continually seeks cooperation with international terminological institutions such as TermNet, INFOTERM, ISO/TC 37 and its local counterpart SABS TC 37. Dr Marietta Alberts represented AFRILEX on INFO-TERM and she also served as Vice-President of INFOTERM. She was a member of ISO/TC 37 and the convener of SABS TC 37. After her retirement Prof. Elsabé Taljard represented AFRILEX on these institutions. Prof. Dion Nkomo is AFRILEX's representative on Globalex.

AFRILEX holds its international conferences by invitation at tertiary or lexicographic institutions. The following annual International Conferences were held by AFRILEX:

- 1st International AFRILEX Conference (1996) Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa

- 2nd International AFRILEX Conference (1997) University of Natal, Durban, South Africa

- 3rd International AFRILEX Conference (1998) Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, Potchefstroom, South Africa

- 4th International AFRILEX Conference (1999) University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

- 5th International AFRILEX Conference (2000) University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa

- 6th International AFRILEX Conference (2001) University of the North, Pietersburg, South Africa

- 7th International AFRILEX Conference (2002) Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

- 8th International AFRILEX Conference (2003) University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

- 9th International AFRILEX Conference (2004) Omar Bongo University, Libreville, Gabon

- 10th International AFRILEX Conference (2005) The tenth anniversary of the association was celebrated at the 2005 conference hosted by Sesiu Sesotho Dictionary Unit at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

- 11th International AFRILEX Conference (2006) University of Venda for Science and Technology, Thohoyandou, South Africa

- 12th International AFRILEX Conference (2007) Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

- 13th International AFRILEX Conference (2008) Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal, Stellenbosch, South Africa

- 14th International AFRILEX Conference (2009) Xhosa Department, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

- 15th International AFRILEX Conference (2010) University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

- 16th International AFRILEX Conference (2011) University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

- 17th International AFRILEX Conference (2012) University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

- 18th International AFRILEX Conference (2013) Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

- 19th International AFRILEX Conference (2014) North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

- 20th International AFRILEX Conference (2015) University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa

- 21st International AFRILEX Conference (2016) Tzaneen, South Africa

- 22nd International AFRILEX Conference (2017) Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

- 23rd International AFRILEX Conference (2018) University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

- 24th International AFRILEX Conference (2019) University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

- 25th International AFRILEX Conference (2020) that was scheduled to be held at the Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic

- 25th International AFRILEX Conference (2021) Not even a global pandemic deviates AFRILEX from its activities - the 25th International Conference was a fully virtual online conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The structure of the international conferences over the years changed, but usually contains the following items on its agenda:

- Conference keynotes - one keynote speaker is usually an internationally renowned lexicographer or academic and the second keynote speaker is an expert from Africa in the field of lexicography

- Papers - these are adjudicated and abstracts of papers are collated in a Booklet of Abstracts

- Publishers' session - publishers are invited to discuss their latest publications and they can also exhibit their publications during conferences

- Software session - a demonstration of relevant software

- Sessions on special projects and initiatives, e.g. SELA

- PanSALB session - discussion of work done by the national lexicography units (NLUs)

- Annual general meeting and bi-annual election of the Board and Executive

- Pre-conference workshop

- Post-conference excursion.

Members of AFRILEX are invited to share in lexicographic discussion through contributing to Lexikos. Over the years the editor of Lexikos has come to have the first choice for articles from reworked papers initially read at an AFRILEX conference. Additional contributions from any other author and from any other part of the globe on any language(s) are also published.

An AFRILEX Newsletter was disseminated between 1995 and 2009 ( but unfortunately the editor of the newsletter usually had to write all the articles him-/herself. Some of the editors of the AFRILEX Newsletter were Dr Marietta Alberts, Dr Maropeng Mojela and Mr Motsamai Motsapi. In 2004/2005 there was a new effort to revive the AFRILEX Newsletter. As from 2009 onwards the newsletters were replaced by communication through circulars to the AFRILEX mailing list. AFRILEX manages a website and distributes lexicography related information online ( The AFRILEX website has been a successful instrument in promoting AFRILEX. There is also a very active WhatsApp group under the leadership of Dr Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza.

Membership of AFRILEX is open to all individuals who and institutions that have an interest in lexicography. The membership of AFRILEX is mostly comprised of dictionary compilers, members of the lexicography teams of the eleven NLUs, compilers of terminology lists or technical dictionaries for Language for Special Purposes (LSP), directors and members of various language boards and advisory bodies, lecturers and students of metalexicography and terminology, and other language practitioners such as translators, editors, interpreters, teachers and journalists. The members of AFRILEX have a responsibility towards the various speech communities they serve, helping to preserve the South African languages and develop them into functional languages in all spheres of life, in order for various language communities to enjoy and utilize their communication skills to the fullest.

3.4 Special recognition

The AFRILEX Board decided to recognise special contributions by members in honour of or on behalf of AFRILEX.

3.4.1 Certificate of merit

Certificates of merit in recognition of contribution to AFRILEX were presented to three deserving members so far: Dr Johan du Plessis, Editor of Lexikos, and two previous chairpersons, Prof. Rufus Gouws and Prof. Danie Prinsloo.

3.4.2 Honorary membership

The AFRILEX Constitution makes provision for bestowing honorary membership to an ambassador of AFRILEX and for lexicographical expertise. There are currently five honorary members, Prof. A.C. Nkabinde (July 2002), Prof. Rufus Gouws (July 2010), Dr Johan du Plessis (July 2012), Dr Marietta Alberts (July 2015) and Prof. Danie Prinsloo (2018). These honorary members all received a laudatio in honour of their contributions in the field of lexicography.

The Board decided in 2011 to change the AFRILEX Constitution regarding honorary membership by building a profile of the honorary members. It was decided that honorary members should not pay membership fees, that their names should be mentioned on letterheads in all official correspondence, and that their photographs should appear on the webpage.

3.4.3 AFRILEX pottery trophies

Dr Marietta Alberts, one of the founder members of AFRILEX and a keen potter, made pottery trophies of the AFRILEX emblem mounted on wood. These trophies were for several years awarded to keynote speakers and the conference organizer of International AFRILEX conferences. She also made a huge pottery AFRILEX emblem to be used by the Association during conferences or other events (Alberts 2005: 322).

3.5 Training

AFRILEX promotes and coordinates research in and the study and teaching of lexicography in Southern Africa in its broadest sense. AFRILEX therefore strives to be actively involved in all aspects of lexicography, whether practical or theoretical. Within the African context the need for lexicographic training is increasing. AFRILEX considers it as part of its responsibility to participate in training initiatives and encourages its members to become involved in training activities. AFRILEX aims to train lexicographers, terminologists and other language practitioners in various aspects relating to lexicographical and terminographical principles and practice.

AFRILEX undertook training initiatives such as SALEX '97 and AFRILEX-SALEX '98 and supports actions aimed at corpus creation and the development of computer programs. Locally the association also plays a major role in respect of dictionary compilation for the African languages and as a result AFRILEX is consulted on a regular basis and it supports individuals and organizations with advice and assistance (Gouws 1998: xiv; Prinsloo 1999: xv). Prof. Rufus Gouws played a leading role in several PanSALB-initiated lexicographic training opportunities and in 2001 was the co-presenter of a two-day seminar on the compilation of dictionaries for special purposes (LSP) (Prinsloo 2001: xv).

Since the establishment of national lexicography units Prof. Rufus Gouws, Prof. Danie Prinsloo and Dr Marietta Alberts were involved in the training of the editors-in-chief and their staff at the respective NLUs. The Editors-in-Chief of the NLUs as well as members of PanSALB attended training sessions at the Bureau of the WAT on aspects such as the administration and management of NLUs.

Prof. Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, another very active member of AFRILEX, executed groundbreaking work both in the compilation of electronic corpora for the African languages and through adapting the Onoma computer program for the compilation of African language dictionaries (Prinsloo 2001: xv). Prof. De Schryver took his membership of AFRILEX very seriously by even marrying a fellow AFRILEX member, Ms Minah Nabirye in August 2009.

AFRILEX aims to collaborate with as many lexicographic and terminographical bodies and associations as possible because such cooperation is to the benefit of its members. The 6th International TAMA Conference, co-hosted by AFRILEX was held in South Africa on 17-21 February 2003. TAMA donated its surplus funds, accumulated for the event, to AFRILEX to be used for the future presentation of terminology or lexicography workshops.

AFRILEX participates in various training sessions. One such training session it participated in was TermTrain. TermTrain is a project within the framework of the UNESCO Information for All Programme. In September 2005 a Term-Train workshop was held in Benoni.

A follow-up TermTrain workshop, namely TermTrain: Train the Trainer was held from 27 to 31 March 2006 at the SABS in Pretoria. This training workshop was organized by TermNet (Austria) in collaboration with Standards South Africa (SABS), PanSALB, the National Language Service, DAC (currently Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC)), and AFRILEX. Trainees from all over South Africa attended this training workshop. The trainers were terminology and IT experts from Germany, Belgium, Austria and South Africa. Prof. Rufus Gouws and Dr Marietta Alberts were two of the trainers, while Mr David Joffe presented a demonstration of TshwaneTerm. Prof. Elsabé Taljard was the other member of the Executive that represented AFRILEX. It was an extremely specialized training session and the delegates indicated that they had gained a lot from attending (Alberts 2006).

On 14 August 2010 an AFRILEX workshop, the first in a series, was held on Dictionary Use in Mamelodi on the Mamelodi campus. The TAMA surplus was used for this workshop since it was within the boundaries set by TAMA for these funds. This workshop was designed as pilot to present to the Department of Education to conduct this kind of training on a more formal way at other schools. The presenters were Prof. Danie Prinsloo and Dr Victor Mojela, who trained 80 primary and 60 secondary school learners on dictionary usage through medium of Northern Sotho. Prof. Rufus Gouws trained 13 teachers on the principles and practice of dictionary use. Copies of MML Foundation Phase dictionaries were given to the primary school learners and the secondary school learners received in addition to the MML dictionaries also copies of the Oxford Northern Sotho dictionary. The very successful workshop empowered the learners and teachers and more such future workshops were also planned for learners in the Western Cape.

AFRILEX members also attended the LaRC Conference: "Controlled Natural Language" on 8 June 2013, as well as the ISO/TC 37 plenary sessions held on 9-14 July 2013 in Pretoria.

Prof. Pedro A. Fuertes-Oliviera of the University of Valladolid, Spain conducted a successful AFRILEX workshop on specialized lexicography.

3.6 Grants, prizes and sponsorships

3.6.1 Kernerman Grants

Over several years, AFRILEX members were fortunate to receive Kernerman Dictionary Research Grants. These grants totalling $1000 enabled the recipients to continue with research projects in lexicographical matters or to complete masters or doctoral studies in lexicography. Kernerman Dictionaries later decided not to continue with the presenting of grants. There was, however, a continued working relation between AFRILEX and Kernerman Dictionaries. In 2006 Ian Kernerman published an article on the establishment of AFRILEX, written by Dr Marietta Alberts, in the Kernerman Newsletter June 2006 (Prinsloo 2002: xv; Alberts 2005: 323; Alberts 2006).

3.6.2 Other grants

In the past AFRILEX members also successfully applied for grants from EURALEX, ASIALEX, AUSTRALEX and the DSNA.

3.6.3 Laurence Urdang Award for Lexicography

AFRILEX members, who are also a member of either EURALEX or the DSNA could apply for the Laurence Urdang Award for Lexicography (Alberts 2006).

3.6.4 Publishers

Since the establishment of AFRILEX, Pharos Publishers, one of the leading local publishers of dictionaries, sponsored or co-sponsored the AFRILEX Conference dinner. This was soon regarded as a Conference tradition and was much appreciated by the members of the Association (Alberts 2005: 323). Pharos also sponsored conference bags.

The Conference Dinner of 2005 was again partially sponsored by Pharos Publishers. Pharos, however, decided not to continue with this tradition but to rather present a grant to assist members in attending Conferences.

Other publishers, such as Oxford University Press (OUP), offer discounts to AFRILEX members on their products.

3.7 The way forward

None of the members of AFRILEX are impartial towards lexicography and they are all interested to learn more about lexicography, dictionaries and how to compile dictionaries or use them to their best advantage. Members of AFRILEX are all in one way or the other involved in dictionary compilation, in different kinds of dictionary work (general dictionaries or dictionaries for Language for Special Purposes [LSP]) or projects, some are members of the lexicography teams of the eleven national lexicography units (NLUs), some are in an advisory capacity (e.g. PanSALB, its subcommittees, and structures such as NLBs and PLCs), lecturers in lexicography and terminography at tertiary institutions, students in these fields, language practitioners such as translators, editors, interpreters, language teachers, journalists, and publishers, or for the mere love for or addiction to lexicography (Alberts 2005: 323- 324).

It is clear that AFRILEX has, since its establishment, supported cooperative lexicography and terminology through its international conferences, symposia, various lexicography related activities and the publication of excellent articles in the Lexikos journal.

The members of AFRILEX have a responsibility towards the various speech communities they serve. A dictionary culture needs to be created and speech communities should be aware of AFRILEX. AFRILEX will have a bright future if all members of AFRILEX would continue to further the Association's aims in the Southern region of Africa, Africa itself and globally.


4. Dictionaries and Education

In October 2010 the Department of Higher Education and Training held a Roundtable discussion on the position and developmental status of the African languages. According to the Language Policy in Higher Education, the use of South African languages in instruction and learning in higher education will require development of dictionaries and other teaching and learning materials. The existence of various general dictionaries compiled by the National Lexicography Units of PanSALB; the various multilingual terminology lists compiled by the terminologists of the Terminology Coordination Section (TCS) of the National Language Service (NLS), Department of Arts and Culture (DAC); and other teaching and learning materials that have been produced were acknowledged. The questions, however, raised by the delegates were whether these dictionaries and materials were enough to meet the requirements of the target group and whether more should be done to meet the requirements of constitutional multilingualism and target users. It was agreed that the State should start with systematic and widespread translation into African languages, supported by lexicography work and terminology development. It was further agreed that more funding should be made available to dictionary compilation efforts, albeit general of technical dictionaries (Alberts, Botha and Kapp 2010; Nosilela 2010). In 1991 Bamgbose (1991: 109-111) already mentioned that there is an escalating consciousness in Africa and worldwide on the positive impact of multilingualism, especially on the role of African Languages in advancing multilingualism in education. This is reflected in the language policies that acknowledge the need for the teaching in, and acquisition of these languages at all levels of education.


5. Conclusion

Several contributing factors had an influence on the South African lexicography practice since 1991. The Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal decided to restructure, and one of the results was the first publication of a professional journal Lexikos in the AFRILEX Series. The Bureau of the WAT also at the time initiated the idea for the establishment of an Institute for Southern African Lexicography. An independent research team was appointed to conduct the research. The external feasibility study of 1992 indicated that stakeholders did not want another bureaucratic institution and rather suggested the establishment of a clearing house or association to realize the need for collaboration, cooperation, coordination and communication in the field of lexicography. Further research by Prof. Danie Prinsloo and Dr Marietta Alberts indicated the explicit need for an association and in 1995 the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX) was established. Lexikos remains the mouthpiece of AFRILEX and all its members and continue to play a significant role in disseminating lexicographical information in this country, Africa and globally. It is clear that all these institutions form a perfect lexicographic liaison.



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