About the Journal

Focus and Scope

Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics (SPiL) is an annual/biannual open access, peer-reviewed international journal, published by the Department of General Linguistics, Stellenbosch University. The papers published in SPiL are intended for scholars with an interest in linguistics and related disciplines. SPiL provides a platform for scholars to share knowledge in the form of high quality empirical and theoretical research papers, case studies, literature reviews and book reviews.

Though many of the contributions originally took the form of working papers – presented for critical discussion – all have been subjected to review. Some of the papers appearing in SPiL may be published later in a revised or extended form elsewhere.

Peer Review Process

Peer review is an essential part of formal scholarly communication, and lies at the heart of the scientific method. Peer review assists the editors in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper. Reviewers need to recognize the importance of their role and commit to contributing high quality work to the process of publishing scholarly research.

Two reviewers are approached for each manuscript, at least one of whom is from outside Stellenbosch University. If there is a significant discrepancy between the two reviewers' judgments of an article, a third reviewer is approached.

Reviewers are requested to evaluate the manuscript on the basis of, amongst other things:

  • whether the title is appropriate;
  • who the likely target reader is, and what the importance of the topic is for the target reader;
  • the likelihood that the article will be read and cited by others;
  • the (original) contribution the manuscript makes to existing knowledge on the subject;
  • whether the reference system and reference list are complete, adequate and appropriate;
  • whether the paper is clearly written and logically presented; and
  • whether the manuscript deserves to be published in SPiL.

Open Access Policy

Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics (SPiL) is an Open Access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of Open Access.

Publication Ethics & Publication Malpractice Statement

The editors of SPiL and SPiL Plus are committed to following best practices on ethical matters, as monitoring publishing ethics and preventing publication malpractice are important aspects of the editorial and peer-review process.

Editors, authors and reviewers are expected to conform to the standards of ethical behaviour and plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.

The following duties outlined for editors, authors, and reviewers are based on COPE's Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers and ASSAf’s National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Peer Review for South African Scholarly Journals.


The editors of SPiL are responsible for final publication decisions.

It is the editors’ responsibility to ensure the quality of material published, champion freedom of expression, maintain academic integrity, be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed and constantly improve the journal in order to meet the needs of readers and authors.

It is the editors’ responsibility to ensure that confidentiality is maintained in the review process, both in terms of the material under review and the identity of reviewers and authors.


Authors should adhere to a basic set of principles which include: reported findings and/or conceptual insights must be original; reports must contain, or permit reference to, sufficient detail of the methods and materials used in the study to permit replication in the hands of other scholars; reports must maintain integrity in that no inconsistent data are omitted or fabricated data presented; the (statistical) treatment of data must be thorough and the conclusions reasonable; the existing relevant literature must be appropriately and fairly cited; authorship must conform to the notions of responsibility and credit; speculative deductions and postulations must be clearly specified and kept to a minimum; acknowledgement of funding sources and possible conflict of interest must be complete, and author affiliations provided which reflect both the period of the study and the present situation.

Peer reviewers

Peer reviewers contribute to the editorial decision.

It is a reviewer’s responsibility to be objective, to be prompt, to treat material under review in confidence, and to avoid conflicts of interest.

In particular, reviewers should scrutinise the methods and results of papers under review in terms of consistency, interpretability and likely reproducibility; identify gaps that could or should be filled to enhance the interpretability and strength of the findings and/or insights; suggest how the paper can be improved in terms of style, length and focus; assess the proper citation and referencing of previously published studies, including the critical issue of the originality of the work; contest conclusions not justified by the results or arguments presented; and ‘place’ the work in the existing matrix of knowledge in the relevant area or field.

Article processing charge/Page fees

In order to cover some of the costs of publication, SPiL will be instituting an article processing charge (page fees) for authors affiliated with South African Higher Education institutions as from February 2015. Authors who do not receive subsidies from their institutions or do not have access to publication funding will be eligible to apply to the publisher for a full waiver. The charge will be levied once the article has been accepted for publication and sent for copyediting. The fee structure is as follows:

  • Articles 10 pages or less: R1250
  • Articles between 11 and 20 pages: R1850
  • Articles more than 20 pages: R2500

This journal do not charge submission fees.

Digital Preservation

SPIL. This journal is in the process of migrating from the Stellenbosch University preservation platform to the PKP PN (Preservation Network) platform.


This journal programme cannot read the ORCID iD.  Please do not add it when you Register or when submitting a paper.

After Registration, can you Edit your Profile and then insert the ORCID iD, or please send your ORCiD ID, along with the name of the journal to, scholar@sun.ac.za to add to your Profile.

Stellenbosch University researchers/authors can create an ORCID iD here.

ORCID iD is a persistent, unique, numeric identifier for individual researchers and creators. It distinguishes you from researchers and creators with the same or similar names.  ORCID iD is similar to ResearcherID, Scopus Author ID, ISNI and other systems for identifying and distinguishing researchers and creators.

Sources of Support

The Department of General Linguistics acknowledges the contribution made by the Fonds Neerlandistiek Suider-Afrika to the ongoing publication of SPiL.

Journal History

The logo on the front cover depicts Simon van der Stel, Dutch governor of the Cape of Good Hope from 1679 to 1699, and the founder of Stellenbosch. We have chosen to portray Van der Stel in our logo for reasons of symbolism that relate to his historical significance, his intellectual qualities, and his creole descent. Simon van der Stel was the man who, in founding the town of Stellenbosch, took a deliberate initiative towards establishing the permanency of the young Dutch settlement at the Cape of Good Hope. He has been portrayed as a man endowed with special intellectual qualities, who set great store by clear, factual thinking --- a quality which we value. His creoleness, to us, is symbolic both of the meltingpot from which emerged the South Africa of the 18th century and of the kind of future that we envisage: a future unmarred by the racist divide that plagued our country in the past. Our commitment to a future free of racism, as well as our reasons for portraying Simon van der Stel in the SPiL logo, are stated more fully in SPiL 17 of 1988.