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Linguistics expert at UKZN appointed vice-president of African Association for Lexicography

The director of UKZN's Language Planning and Development Office, Professor Langa Khumalo, has been appointed vice-president of the African Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX).

"It is such an honour and a humbling experience coming from my academic peers," said Khumalo, adding: "I hope to serve the AFRILEX board with dedication and distinction.

"The challenge is to bring in the next generation of lexicographers, both in terms of bringing young academics with a keen interest in lexicography and a generation that is mindful of the progress that artificial intelligence presents to the field of lexicography. Data is the currency of the future, and data science and management is crucial in making future dictionaries that are technologically-driven."

Khumalo has been a full member of AFRILEX since 2001 and is looking forward to working closely with board members in "growing the membership of the association across the continent and the impact of the association in the field of lexicography, both on the continent and globally".

He said AFRILEX brings together lexicographers working in both theoretical and practical lexicography. "In South Africa, it draws its members from academics working in the field of lexicography, which is the science of dictionary-making. It also draws its membership from the Pan-South African Languages Board's (PanSALB's) National Lexicography Units. These are units that are charged with the responsibility to compile dictionaries in all official languages of the country," he said.

AFRILEX holds an International Conference every year. The 25th International Conference of the association since its inception in 1995 will be held next year. "The AFRILEX board will look to deliver a memorable academic conference in this Silver Jubilee," said Khumalo.

Khumalo read for a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Oslo in Norway. He completed his MPhil in Linguistics at Cambridge University in England, and has an MA and BA Honours from the University of Zimbabwe.

He recently delivered a keynote address at the University of Denver, Colorado, USA, on language intellectualisation in the context of internationalisation. He is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society (FCCS), a Language Champion in the Oxford Global Languages programme (OGL) for Oxford University Press (UK), a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), and a member of the inaugural Executive Committee of the Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa (DHASA).

He has also been a guest researcher at the University of Oslo and a Senior Mellon Fellow at Rhodes University and has published extensively in linguistic theory, computational linguistics, lexicography and language planning.

Words and photograph: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer