Pierre de Villiers Pienaar-Biography, Age, State of Origin

Pierre de Villiers Pienaar-Biography, Age, State of Origin

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Pierre de Villiers Pienaar (1904–1978) was a South African Afrikaans academic and Professor at University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and later at University of Pretoria, who pioneered Speech Language Therapy in South Africa and specialising in Audiology and Lexicography as well as being an Afrikaans author. As Lexicographer in 1973, he was part of the group of authors that established the Afrikaans Explanatory Dictionary (“Afrikaans Verklarende Woordeboek”) alongside Prof M.S.B. Kritzinger and Prof F.J. Labuschagne. 

 Early life and education 

Pierre de Villiers Pienaar was born on 11 August 1904 on the farm, ‘Elandsfontein’, Gatsrand (currently in the Fochville district), that was destroyed in The Anglo-Boer War during the scorched earth text campaign. He attended the primary farm school on ‘Elandsfontein’, and then went to Boy’s High, Potchefstroom, where he matriculated in the first class in 1921. In 1922 he entered the University of the Witwatersrand and the Johannesburg Teachers Training College. He received the B.A. degree in Education the beginning of 1925, and later that year the Honours B.A. degree in the first class. In 1926 the University of the Witwatersrand awarded him the degree Master of Arts with distinction for his research in phonetics and general linguistics.[4] The following year P. was awarded a Union Bursary to further his studies in Utrecht, Netherlands (September 1927 – April 1928), and Hamburg, Germany (1928–1929), where he continued his research in general linguistics and the phonetics of Afrikaans at the Department of Experimental Phonetics of the University of Hamburg. Here, under the leadership of Prof. G. Panconcelli-Calzia, he was awarded the PhD degree in 1929. 

As a note of interest, the farm ‘Elandsfontein’ mentioned above was the farm where renowned Boer War scout, Danie Theron, was temporarily buried after his death in combat in the Fochville area during September 1900. (Theron was reburied in 1903 to the family cemetery of his late fiancée Hannie Neethling, on her father’s farm Eikenhof.) 

Academic career 

P. taught at several schools on the Witwatersrand and Nylstroom (1926–1927 and on his return to South Africa, 1930–1932).  In 1933 he was appointed lecturer in the Department of African Languages, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, under the headship of Prof. C.M. Doke. He was promoted to senior lecturer in Phonetics and Logopedics in 1938, and through his efforts the first diploma course in Logopedics in South Africa was instituted soon after he had established the Speech, Voice and Hearing Clinic at this university. He developed this section of the Department of African Languages to such an extent that, in 1944, it became the separate Department of Phonetics, Linguistics and Logopedics with P. as head and also director of the associated Speech, Voice and Hearing Clinic. Through his efforts the University of the Witwatersrand in 1948, instituted a four-year degree course with Phonetics and Logopedics as major subjects, the first of its kind in South Africa. He remained head of this Department till the end of 1956. In 1957 he joined the University of South Africa for two years as Professor of Afrikaans and Netherlands Linguistics. During this time he put forward proposals to create a professional degree course in Logopedics at the University of Pretoria. 



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