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Recent dictionaries and language guides  |  Prolingua and other subject dictionaries  |  Dictionary Archive

Recent dictionaries and language guides

The Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) introduced the ATKV Woordwys (Word Wise) Award to be awarded annually for dictionaries and language guides. The award comprises a cash prize and a trophy. Dictionaries and language guides published in the preceding year between 1 January and 31 December are adjudicated in the subsequent year by three experts who then select the winning book.

The dictionaries and language guides from previous years, with the winning books, as well as the books adjudicated in 2016 appear in the list below:


  1. Du Toit, Piet & Smith, Wanda. Stylboek: riglyne vir paslik skryf. 2015.
    Second edition, first impression. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis.
  2. Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (HAT). 2015. Sixth edition. Cape Town: Pearson.
  3. Legal terminology: criminal law, procedure and evidence/Regsterminologie: straf-, strafproses- en bewysreg. 2015. Cape Town: JUTA.
  4. Uys, Isabel. Afrikaans vir almal. 2015. First edition, first impression. Cape Town: Pharos.


The adjudicators nominated the legal dictionary, Legal terminology: criminal law, procedure and evidence/Regsterminologie: straf-, strafproses- en bewysreg (2015), as the winner of the ATKV Woordwys Award of 2016.

At a time when publishers do not regard terminology dictionaries as economically viable, it is gratifying that this bilingual and explanatory legal terminology dictionary could be published. The third edition of the Drietalige Regswoordeboek (Trilingual Legal Dictionary) by Hiemstra and Gonin in1992 (seventh impression in 2011) was the most popular recent legal dictionary before the publication of this legal terminology dictionary.

The legal terms and their explanations were not entered without having been tested, but they were edited by terminologists and professional translators and legal experts were consulted. The editorial system is explained clearly and applied consistently, for example synonyms [synonym] and cross-references > see also ... and > ... at synonym references. Work on the dictionary stretched over more than a decade.

The target users of the dictionary inlude legal practitioners, interpreters, tranlators, the drafters of legislation, law students and laymen. The aim was to keep the definitions simple, but nevertheless to explain the legal concepts clearly. Legal language is one of the most difficult technical languages, since only legal experts can communicate in the legal jargon. The dictionary is aimed at bridging communication problems in a legal environment such as a court of law. At the same time, the aim is also to standardise legal terms in order to ensure exact communication and to avoid misconception. This legal teminology dictionary definistely contributes to the development of Afrikaans in practice and multilingualism in South Africa.

The legal terminology dictionary is a valuable and welcome addition to the current technical dictionaries. Since few of these dictionaries are both translational and explanatory.

The dictionary awarded the ATKV Woordwys award in 2017 will be announced in September 2017.

  1. Jones, Kerry Lee and Cwi, Tsemkgao Fanie. 2014. (comp.) Ju |'hoan Tsumkwe Dialect/Prentewoordeboek vir Kinders/Children's Picture Dictionary. First edition. Natal: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.
  2. South African Multilingual Dictionary. 2014. First edition, first impression. Cape Town: Pharos.


The adjudicators were unanimous in their recommendation that the Ju |'hoan Tsumkwe Dialect/Prentewoordeboek vir Kinders/Children's Picture Dictionary ought to be the recipient of the 2015 ATKV Woordwys award.

Ju|'hoan is a Khoisan language with only 11 000 speakers. Hence, it is an endangered language and this dictionary plays an essential role in the written reinforcement of an amazing language. This colourful picture book for children contains Ju|'hoan, Afrikaans and Engels and is divided into topics such as animals, birds, insects, the family and dancing. The special feature of the dictionary is the fact that it is a community dictionary, the first Ju|'hoan picture dictionary for children. Every entry is illustrated attractively with drawings by members of the local community. The dictionary has been compiled by academics of various disciplines, but also by Ju|'hoan speakers from the Tsumkwe region in Namibia.

To make the language accessible for Afrikaans and English speakers, the pronunciation of the different clicking sounds is discussed. An enclosed interactive CD contains a pronunciation guide, as well as a photo and video gallery and other interesting information.

With this dictionary, the compilers comply with the demands of the significant expression on the back cover: "Keep your people, your language and your culture close together." This is a dictionary that enriches Afrikaans too and that deserves to receive an award from the ATKV. In addition, this dictionary supports the principle of multilingualism.

The dictionary awarded the ATKV Woordwys award in 2016 will be announced in September 2016.

  1. HAT Taal- en Feitegids. 2013. First Edition, Cape Town: Pearson.
  2. Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal, Deel XIV, S - SKOOI (2013). Cape Town: Die Buro van die Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal.


The adjudicators selected Volume XIV of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) as the winning dictionary for 2014 and substantiated their decision as follows:

As dictionary that records the Afrikaans vocabulary as comprehensively as possible the WAT is monumental in the life of Afrikaans. Hence, it is good news that a new volume of the WAT has been published. Over the years, the WAT has shown clearly that it can improve progressively by keeping abreast of prevailing lexicographic principles as is evident from the latest – and awarded – volume.

However, the WAT has become more than merely the dictionary itself. The WAT, with the publication of the latest volume too, has become an institution that not only conveys the richness of Afrikaans through the dictionary, but also through other activities in the Afrikaans community, the media, etc. Therefore, although the prize is awarded for Volume XIV which contains the letter s, recognition is also afforded to this extended role the makers of the dictionary are playing.

  1. Drietalige Wynbedryfwoordeboek. 2012. Paarl: SA Wine Industry Information & Systems NPC/SA Wynbedryf-Inligting & -Stelsels MSW (SAWIS). Available from Or send an email to Yvette van der Merwe at
  2. LONGMAN- HAT Afrikaans Dictionary and Grammar for English Speakers. 2012. First Edition. Cape Town: Pearson.
  3. Oxford Afrikaanse Skoolwoordeboek. 2012. Oxford University Press Southern Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  4. Tweetalige Skoolwoordeboek/Bilingual School Dictionary. 2012. First Edition, first impression. Cape Town: Pharos.


After careful consideration, the adjudicators designated the Longman-HAT Afrikaans Dictionary and Grammar for English Speakers, the dictionary from Pearson Publishers, as the winning book for 2013.

The adjudicators were impressed by the innovative value of the dictionary as well as by the following features of the book:

  1. The clear target market.
  2. A definite vacuum in the dictionary market that was filled.
  3. The integration of dictionary and grammar.
  4. The extremely effective usage of external texts to lend recognition to the dictionary as conveyor of textual types.
  5. The fact that the winning dictionary forms a part of a family of dictionaries the publishers have published over a time.
  6. The clear communicative and cognitive functions.
  7. The exceptional usefulness of the book as an educational resource.

  1. Botha, S., Le Clus, P., Venter, A. (comp.) 2011. Modern Political Dictionary/Nuwe Politieke Woordeboek. Third revised edition. CEPTSA.
  2. Brink, A.J. & De V. Lochner, J. (comp.) 2011. Woordeboek vir die Gesondheidswetenskappe/Dictionary for the Health Sciences. Second revised and updated edition. Cape Town: Pharos.
  3. Carstens, W.A.M. 2011. Norme vir Afrikaans. Vyfde uitgawe. Pretoria: Van Schaik.
  4. English Dictionary for South Africa. 2011. First impression. Cape Town: Pharos.
  5. Longman-HAT English-Afrikaans/Afrikaans-English Basic Dictionary/Basiswoordeboek. 2011. First edition. Cape Town: Pearson.
  6. Longman-HAT English-Afrikaans/Afrikaans-English Pocket Dictionary/Sakwoordeboek. 2011. First edition. Cape Town: Pearson.
  7. Longman-HAT English-Afrikaans/Afrikaans-English School Dictionary/Skoolwoordeboek. 2011. First edition. Cape Town: Pearson.
  8. Martin, W. (hoofred.) 2011. Groot Woordeboek: Afrikaans en Nederlands. Eerste druk. Kaapstad: Pharos.
  9. Müller, D. & Pistor, S. 2011. Skryf Afrikaans van A tot Z. Tweede uitgawe, eerste druk. Kaapstad: Pharos.
  10. Prinsloo, A.F. (samest.) 2011. Die aap in jou koffie: Afrikaanse eponieme van A-Z. Eerste druk. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis.
  11. Protea Miniwoordeboek. Afrikaans-Nederlands/Nederlands-Afrikaans. 2011. Eerste druk. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis.
  12. Tweetalige Sakwoordeboek/Bilingual Pocket Dictionary. 2011. Fifth revised edition. Cape Town: Pharos.
  13. Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal. (comp.) 2011. Basic Afrikaans: The top 1 000 words and phrases. Kaapstad: Pharos.

    Electronic dictionaries

  14. List of bridge terms. 2011. Compiled by Johan Dorfling. Contact


The adjudicators have adjudicated a record number of 14 unique dictionaries and language guides, each of which is a winner in its own way.

The Woordeboek vir die Gesondheidswetenskappe/Dictionary for the Health Sciences, published by Pharos, was selected as the winning dictionary of 2012, and received the ATKV Woordwys award.

According to the adjudicators, subject dictionaries such as this extensive dictionary do not always receive all the acclaim they deserve, although they are the most important proof of the vitality of any language. This dictionary enriches the language of science and technology.

This dictionary is recognised as an extensive subject dictionary containing the subject language of almost all areas of health and thus displays good corpus planning.

The dictionary also has a long history with many reprints as proof of the experts in the field of medicine and other fields who have dedicated themselves for many years to the creation of terminology.

Furthermore, this work is significantly extended and renewed and its explanatory and translating nature adds value for the language user.


A dictionary that warrants special mention in the field of culture is the Groot Woordeboek: Afrikaans en Nederlands, published by Pharos. For the first time, now there is a comprehensive dictionary that not only translates but also indicates the usage of the Afrikaans and Dutch words. With this dictionary, the cultural ties between Afrikaans and Dutch have been strengthened, particularly because the dictionary was also published in the Netherlands as ANNA (Afrikaans - Nederlands/Nederlands - Afrikaans.

  1. Beukes, A. & Pienaar, M. 2010. Veeltalige vertaalterminologie/Multilingual Translation Terminology. Pretoria: Van Schaik Uitgewers.
  2. Gouws, R. e.a. 2010. Grondslagfasewoordeboek: Afrikaans/English. Kaapstad: Maskew Miller Longman.
  3. Gouws, R. (red.) 2010. Fachwörterbuch zur Lexikographie und Wörterbuchforschung/Dictionary of Lexicography and Dictionary Research. Published in Europe.
  4. Labuschagne, F.J. & Eksteen, L.C. 2010. Verklarende Afrikaanse woordeboek. Kaapstad: Pharos.
  5. Rode, L. 2010. My HAT Storiewoordeboek. Kaapstad: Pearson.


The adjudicators were impressed by the child-friendly type page and layout of My HAT Storiewoordeboek, selected as the winning book. The panel's substantiation was as follows: "This dictionary's target market is children who cannot yet read by themselves, although it can be used to advantage by children who can read already.

"The dictionary comprises stories to be read to the children or by the children themselves, with innovative colour illustrations that will immediately captivate any young child. The stories are aimed at expanding the child's vocabulary. Therefore the word to be learned appears in a different colour than the text, and likewise the words that are linked through meaning to that word, such as synonyms and antonyms. Thus the father or mother who is reading to the child can emphasise these words. For example, with the target word "ingewikkeld", this word, as well as the words "maklik" and "moeilik", are used in the story in a way that enables the child to begin to see the connection between the words. This represents excellent typographical practice. The relevant words appear at the back of the book under Woordeskat.

The typeset used is very legible and the entire text appears "clean" and "open". The panel is convinced that this story dictionary is very suitable for the target market for which it has been written, namely all young Afrikaans-speaking pre-schoolers. The illustrations also take this target market into account. The value of this little dictionary as educational instrument can hardly be underestimated. The panel is convinced that this resource could help establish the dictionary culture that is so sadly neglected in our school system."


The dictionary, Fachwörterbuch zur Lexikographie und Wörterbuchforschung/Dictionary of Lexicography and Dictionary Research, deserves special mention, as Prof Rufus Gouws of the University of Stellenbosch, and also editor of the Afrikaans section of this international dictionary, explains below:

"The work on this dictionary was started because internationally there was a need for standardised terminology for lexicography. Through the years, theoretical lexicographers had designed models for subject dictionaries for other disciplines. But now, it had to be proved that lexicographers could also make a dictionary for their own discipline. Dictionaries talk about words and words had to be found to talk about dictionaries. This dictionary has a unique character - and this same uniqueness is found at various levels. It is a lexicon offering both a brief and more extensive explanation for each term. Eventually, there will be a comprehensive offering of lexicographical terms in the four sections. These explanations are in German but the brief explanation also has an English translation. The processing also provides literature references to other sources where the relevant terms are discussed. There is an indication of related and opposite terms and, very important, translation equivalents in nine languages: Afrikaans, Bulgarian, English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. In the fourth section, there will be an alphabetical register of equivalents for each of the nine languages. With this, for example, an Afrikaans term can be found with the cross-reference to the manipulation of the term in the dictionary. The alphabetical section of the dictionary is preceded by a so-called 'systematic introduction'. This is a text offering a brief overview of lexicography as theoretical discipline - a concise manual! From the manipulation in the central texts, there are also cross-references to more extensive discussions of specific terms in this systematic introduction. Afrikaans has been chosen as one of the languages of this dictionary because theoretical lexicography and terminology are firmly established in Afrikaans."


  1. Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreëls. 2009. Tiende, verbeterde en omvattend herbewerkte uitgawe. Taalkommissie van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns. Kaapstad: Pharos.
  2. Geldenhuys, J.D.U. & Viljoen-Smook, E.E. 2009. Business Dictionary/Sakewoordeboek. Fifth, revised and updated edition. Cape Town: Pharos.
  3. HAT Sakwoordeboek. 2009. Eerste uitgawe. Kaapstad: Pearson.
  4. HAT Skoolwoordeboek. 2009. Eerste uitgawe. Kaapstad: Pearson.
  5. My eerste HAT. 2009. Eerste uitgawe. Kaapstad: Pearson.
  6. Prinsloo, A.F. 2009. Annerlike Afrikaans: woordeboek van Afrikaanse kontreitaal. Eerste uitgawe. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis.
  7. Prinsloo, A.F. 2009. Spreekwoorde en waar hulle vandaan kom. Tweede hersiene uitgawe. Kaapstad: Pharos.
  8. Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal. Dertiende deel (R). 2009. Eerste uitgawe. Stellenbosch: Buro van die WAT.


Dr Anton Prinsloo's Annerlike Afrikaans: woordeboek van Afrikaanse kontreitaal, has won the ATKV-Woordwys award as "exceptional book in which the compiler has recorded and brought together in one volume, the waning regional forms" according to the adjudicators. The location or region is also indicated in which these witty and original words and adages are used. This regional language provides earthy expressions rich in sound and language enriching such as katiekablomstert when you are in love, silly or frivolous, or if you put on airs (Brandvlei, Calvinia, Kenhardt, Malmesbury, Vredenburg). In Namibia, you ride on a martelpyp when you ride a bicycle. And in Stellenbosch they call you kippig if you are near-sighted or have poor vision (like a chicken). In Worcester, the devil is called Holboude, while in Bloemfontein you should not stretch across the dinner table without asking, because then you are said to have losieshuisarms.

According to the adjudicators Annerlike Afrikaans is "a reference resource for expert and layman by which Afrikaans lexicography, Afrikaans linguistics and the Afrikaans fun reading market are enriched".


In 2008, there was only one entry, namely: Smit, A.J. (red.) Opvoedkundewoordeboek/Teaching Dictionary of Education (self-published). Also see no. 6 at 2008.

All six volumes of the Teaching Dictionary of Education were adjudicated.


According to the adjudicators the Opvoedkundewoordeboek/Teaching Dictionary of Education as winning book is justified in deserving recognition" because it supports the functions of Afrikaans as academic language".

Prof Adriaan Smit began compiling the Education Dictionary on his own initiative and at own cost already in 1970 because he had realised that there was a great need for a bilingual education dictionary for this important discipline which was committed to the youth and their emotional well-being.

This copious dictionary comprises six volumes of approximately 400 pages each, of which the last volumes appeared in 2008 - the same year in which Prof Smit turned 85.


  1. Eksteen, L.C. 2007. Beknopte verklarende woordeboek (Afrikaans). Kaapstad: Pharos.
  2. Kromhout, J. e.a. 2007. Skoolwoordeboek met bylaag (Afrikaans-Engels/Engels-Afrikaans). Kaapstad: Pharos.
  3. Louw, P. (ed.) Oxford Skoolwoordeboek/School Dictionary (Afrikaans-English/English-Afrikaans). Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  4. Pheiffer, F. (ed.) 2007. Kernwoordeboek/Concise Dictionary (Afrikaans-English/English-Afrikaans). Cape Town: Pharos.
  5. Prinsloo, A. 2007. Sleng: Woorde, uitdrukkings en hul herkoms. Kaapstad: Pearson.
  6. Smit, A.J. (red.) Opvoedkundewoordeboek/Teaching Dictionary of Education (self-published).
    This dictionary comprises six volumes:
    Volumes 1, 2 and 3: Afrikaans-English
    Volumes 4, 5 and 6: English-Afrikaans
    Volume 1 - from A to G - and Volume 2 - from H to O - both from Afrikaans to English was published in 2007.
  7. Van Wyk, G.J. (red.) 2007. Etimologiewoordeboek van Afrikaans - supplement. Stellenbosch: Buro van die WAT.


Phillip Louw's Oxford Skoolwoordeboek/School Dictionary (Afrikaans-Engels/English-Afrikaans) was selected as the winning book. The adjudicators substantiated their decision as follows: "The contribution to Afrikaans; the originality and renewal of the sources; the focus on a specific target user group, as well as the structure, contents and representation of each dictionary were important criteria in the adjudication of the above dictionaries. Eventually, the Oxford Afrikaans- Engels/English-Afrikaans Skoolwoordeboek/School Dictionary (hereafter abbreviated as OAES) was selected as the winning dictionary.

The OAES is a new dictionary aimed at a clearly defined target user group, namely learners in South African schools. The dictionary wants to help these learners to improve spoken and written language. It reflects modern language usage and presents the data in an accessible way."