About Fritz Ponelis
Friedrich Albert Ponelis (1942–2009) was a member of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at Stellenbosch University from 1979 until his retirement in 2003. He served a number of terms as departmental chair. Previously he had been a professor and head of the Department of General Linguistics at Unisa.
Through his research he contributed to various areas of lintuistics from an early age, with his groundbreaking
Grondtrekke van die Afrikaanse sintaksis appearing in 1968, when he was only 26 years old.
Afrikaanse sintaksis (1979) underlined his fresh approach to Afrikaans and its scientific description, leading to an analysis of real-world use of the language, not just made-up examples. He published works on syntactics, language variance, lexicography, phonetics and historical linguistics with
The development of Afrikaans (1993) probably being one of the better-known examples. He was also involved in the editing of the
Lewende Bybel, which appeared in 1982.
The influence Ponelis’s impact on research – as a researcher in his own right and as as lecturer and supervisor – was acknowledged through various awards. The
South African Academy of Science and Arts awarded him
both the CJ Langenhoven Prize and the NP van Wyk Louw Medal,
Northwest University presented him with an honorary doctorate and the
Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlndse Taal en Letteren made him an honorary member.
After his death, the biannual Fritz Ponelis Memorial Lecture was instituted in his memory. Leading linguists are invited to this prestigious event to do a presentation on a topic of their choosing. Scroll down for the
complete list of memorial lectures and click on the icons to access the full lecture text or video content.
Friday 28 July 2023 would have been Prof Fritz Ponelis’s 81st birthday. To celebrate his tremendous contribution to Afrikaans linguistics, Prof Ilse Feinauer and Prof Rufus Gouws have compiled a number of contributions by expert linguists into a festschrift that showcases the breadth and depth of Prof Ponelis’s influence.
Fritz Ponelis memorial event 2022
Mr Marius Swart (SU), Dr Gerda Odendaal (WAT), Mrs Issie Ponelis and Dr Donovan Lawrence (UWC)