Afrikaans & Dutch
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Fritz Ponelis memorial lecture

About Fritz Ponelis

Ponelis.png 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.

Ponelis Festschrift

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)​

Previous Fritz Ponelis memorial lectures

Panel discussion with Dr Donovan Lawrence, Dr Gerda Odendaal and Mr Marius Swart
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​Ponelis, taalvariasie ​en die toekoms van Afrikaans
[Ponelis, language variance and the future of Afrikaans]
​2018 ​Prof Jac C​​onradie
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Hy praat darem nou oor ons, nè? – Oor Afrikaanse modale partikels
[He’s talking about us now, hey? – On Afrikaans modal particles]
​2017 ​Prof Rufus Gouws
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​Veelsydigheid en vernuwing in die werk van Fritz Ponelis
[Versatility and renewal in Fritz Ponelis’s work]

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​2014 ​Prof Frank S Hendricks
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​Met Ponelis op die spoor van Praatafrikaans
[On the trail of spoken Afrikaans with Ponelis]

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​2012 ​Prof Piet Swanepoel
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​Ponelis sintaksis: Van skelet na vlees en bloed en senuwees
[Ponelis syntactics: From bones to flesh and blood and nerves]

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​2010 ​Prof Christo van Rensburg
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​Vloei en stroomversnellings: Fritz Ponelis en die Afrikaanse taalkunde
[Flow and rapids: Fritz Ponelis and Afrikaans linguistics]

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