Jan Renkema (1948) studied General Linguistics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He started out as a teacher of Dutch and History, and later became linguistic advisor to the Dutch Parliament. He got his Ph.D. in 1981 with a dissertation on ‘The Language of Government’ (1981) and was appointed at the then recently founded Faculty of Linguistics of Tilburg University, where he kept teaching until 2014. Furthermore, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Berkeley, extraordinary professor of Cultural Sciences at the Dutch Open University and endowed professor of Dutch Language Usage on behalf of the Dutch language society Genootschap Onze Taal.

Besides his regular work as a teacher and researcher, Renkema was senior editor of the monthly magazine on language use Onze Taal, supervisor of the New Bible translation, composer of the preamble to the (preface of the) official word list as stipulated by the Dutch Spelling Law of 1995, and founding editor of Document Design, later editor-in-chief of Information Design. He also carried out projects for the Dutch Internal Revenue Service.