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Dr Eleanor Cornelius

Name: Eleanor Cornelius
Location: B-Ring 506 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Linguistics Staff, Faculty of Humanities, Rated Researchers  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0)11 559 3638/2694


About Prof Eleanor Cornelius

​Areas of Specialisation

Plain (Legal) Language, Legal Translation, Language and the Law, Forensic Linguistics

Eleanor Cornelius obtained the qualification DLitt et Phil in Applied Linguistics from the University of Johannesburg in 2012. She teaches modules in text editing and psycholinguistics at undergraduate level and honours level. In addition, she supervises master’s and doctoral studies. Dr Cornelius gained experience in both academic and professional contexts. She is a fully accredited simultaneous interpreter in two directions (English-Afrikaans; Afrikaans-English).

Dr Cornelius started her career as a language practitioner at the Bureau of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal in Stellenbosch, after which she joined in the Department of Afrikaans at the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University, and subsequently the Department of Afrikaans at the University of Fort Hare. In 1998, Dr Cornelius was appointed principal language practitioner in the State Language Services of the Department of Arts and Culture, where she worked as a translator of government documents such as legislation, policy documents, speeches etc. The biggest challenge of Dr Cornelius’s career arrived when she assumed the position of deputy director of language planning at the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB). She was tasked with establishing dictionary units for the each of the eleven official languages. By the time she left PANSALB to join the Rand Afrikaans University in 2002, all eleven units were established and fully functional. At the former Rand Afrikaans University, Dr Cornelius was responsible for the establishment and management of a foundation programme, and later extended degree programmes, for underprepared students in the Faculty of Humanities. Dr Cornelius managed these programmes for the past six years. At the beginning of 2008, Dr Cornelius relocated to the Department of Linguistics and Literary Theory. She has a longstanding relationship with this Department, since she has been teaching practical legal translation and interpreting in a part-time capacity for many years.

She has read papers at a number of local and international language conferences and academic development conferences. Dr Cornelius also regularly presents workshops on the topic of “Plain language”. She has also presented seminars on the topic of her doctoral research ‘n Linguistiese ondersoek na die verstaanbaarheid van verbruikersdokumente vir die algemene Afrikaanssprekende publiek. She is often called upon to review papers for publication in scholarly journals and she acts as external examiner for various universities.

Dr Cornelius serves on the council of the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (the International Federation of Translators) and she is the vice-chairperson of the South African Translators Institute (SATI). She is also a member of the Accreditation Committee of SATI, a member of the Linguistic Society of South Africa (LSSA) and a member of the South African Applied Linguistic Association (SAALA).


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals:

Cornelius, E. 2015. Defining ‘plain language’ in contemporary South Africa. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 44: 1-18.

Cornelius, E. 2015. Sinskonstruksies kenmerkend van regstaal. Litnet Akademies, 12(3), December 2015: 239-273.

Pienaar, M. & Cornelius, E. 2015. Contemporary perceptions of interpreting in South Africa. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 24(2): 186-206.

Cornelius, E. 2013. Die benutting van leserskommentaar by die herskryf van ‘n verbruikersdokument in gewone Afrikaans. LitNet Akademies, 10(3): 507-546. -verbruikersdokument-in-gewone-afr/

Cornelius, E. 2011. The curious case of legal translation. Literator, 32(1): 121-143.

De Bruin, K. & Cornelius, E. 2011. Self-directed learning and career-decision making. Acta Academica, 43(2): 214-235.

Cornelius, E. 2010. Plain language as alternative textualisation.Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2010,28(2): 171–183.

Cornelius, E. 2010. ‘n Verkenning van regsvertaling as ‘n “spesiale geval”. Journal of Language Teaching, 44(1): 71-87.

n. Journal of Language Teaching, 38(1): 117-130.

Articles in Non-Accredited Journals:

Cornelius, E. 2011. The consumer as reader: Empowerment through language. Muratho, 11(1): 9-13.

Cornelius, E. 2012. The spotlight on … legal translation. Muratho, 12(1): 13-17.

Contributions to Books/Enclyclopaedias:

Cornelius, E. 2016. Exploring and developing legal translation competence: learning from the old dogs. In: Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. & Thelen, M. (eds.). Translation and Meaning, Part 11. Proceedings of the Łódź Session of the 6th International Maastricht-Łódź Duo Colloquium on “Translation and Meaning”, Held in Maastricht, the Netherlands, 21-22 May 2015.

Cornelius, E. 2013. Establishing lexicography units. In: Gouws, R.H., Heid, U., Schweickard, W. & Wiegand, H.E. (eds.), Dictionaries: An International Encyclopedia of Lexicography. Supplementary volume: Recent Development with Special Focus on Computational Lexicography (HSK 5.4). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Chapter VI, Article 33: 574-580.

Groenewald, C.J. (ed.) 1988. Gemeenskapsverhoudinge en verhoudingsorganisasies in die Wes-Kaap: ‘n Ondersoek deur die Studiegroep vir die Bevordering van Gesonde Gemeenskapsverhoudinge. Department of Sociology, University of Stellenbosch. (ISBN 07972 0201 3).​​