Author: Deon du Plessis
4 minute read
The Southern African Linguistics and Applied Linguistics Society (SALALS) recently held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in a virtual format for the first time.
Prof. Daan Wissing, who is affiliated with the SADiLaR node CTexT, received a very special honour in that he was awarded honorary lifetime membership of the Society. Dr. Herculene Kotzé, who is affiliated with SADiLaR’s host institution, the North-West University (NWU), presented the award in Prof. Wissing’s mother tongue of Afrikaans. Dr. Kotzé stressed Prof. Wissing’s long and sustained involvement in SALALS, which stretches from being a founding member of one of its precursors to the present. His lifetime membership should cement his continued presence in future.
Prof. Wissing accepted the award with his signature humour, quipping about this “corona” (Latin for “crown”) being awarded to him during the eponymous pandemic; and especially wished younger academics well with their careers.
Dr. Kotzé was also appointed as the new Chair of the Society. She is taking over from prof. Mark de Vos of Rhodes University, the outgoing Chair. Dr. Johanita Kirsten, also from the NWU, was appointed the new editor-in-chief of the Society’s journal, also called SALALS. This appointment comes after prof. Leketi Makalela of the University of the Witwatersrand’s second term ended. Proff. de Vos and Makalela served SALALS with integrity and diligence, and it seems certain Drs. Kotzé and Kirsten will follow in in the trail they’ve blazed.
Regrettable news was that the 2020 annual conference of the Society, a highlight of the academic calendar, had to be cancelled due to the lockdown restrictions. Nevertheless, the organising committee at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where it was to be held, managed the situation expertly.
In light of our current global situation, SALALS is reimagining its 2021 conference, which will also rely on virtual alternatives. It hopes to partner with Stellenbosch University, SADiLaR and additional partners to collaborate on this initiative – watch this space! SU’s Department of General Linguistics will be turning 50, and the events scheduled will be planned to coincide with the celebrations, so it promises to be a memorable event.
The Society announced the launch of its Directory of Linguistic Expertise, an initiative meant to provide members, the press, and the public with access to people who are qualified to comment on the linguistic disciplines. For young and aspiring linguists, applied linguists, and language practitioners who are still developing their expertise it is worth noting that student membership of SALALS is free, gratis and mahala!
 Deon is the English researcher at SADiLaR and a member of SALALS.
 SALALS was established in 2018 through a merge of the Linguistics Society of Southern Africa and the Southern African Applied Linguistics Association.