Other Linguistics News

Database of Policy Consultations

Remove 28 November 2016

BAAL members may be interested to know that the Campaign for Social Science maintains a database of policy consultations, searchable by region, committee, and/or topic. The Campaign for Social Science is sponsored by the Academy of Social Sciences, of which BAAL is a member.

The policy monitor database can be accessed here


Tess Fitzpatrick, BAAL Chair

In memoriam René Dirven (1932-2016)

Remove 28 November 2016

René Dirven, who has died aged 83, was one of those rare editors who was always full of ideas. René`s guiding principle was his commitment to the cause, Cognitive Linguistics, and to the community. In fact, it was the drawing together of the community which was his particular concern.

René pursued his ideas with determination and will. He supported young scholars at the beginning of their careers and provided a platform for their work in the Mouton book series Cognitive Linguistics Research, a publishing venue which René edited together with Ron W. Langacker for more than two decades. Many of the young scholars whose works appeared in this very series in the early nineties and beyond are now well-known researchers thanks to René's commitment and dedication to supporting the next generation.

From the publisher's perspective, to work with René always meant to have an active partner who replied quickly, held strong opinions, unceremoniously decided tricky questions and fought for his disciples. How typical that even in the last years of his life, when he had almost lost his eyesight, he still continued to work tirelessly, writing and remaining in good spirits. Equally unforgettable are those wonderful wine tastings in Landau with Martin Pütz and friends where publishing ideas were hatched over drinks and pretzels.

Both in his capacities as organizer of landmark conferences (LAUD/ICLC) and as editor of the Cognitive Linguistics Bibliography and the book series Cognitive Linguistics Research, René influenced and shaped the scholarly landscape of Cognitive Linguistics as much as hardly anybody else did.

All colleagues at Mouton, long-serving and newcomers alike, are grateful for his exceptional contribution to Cognitive Linguistics and to scholarly publishing. We are honored to have known him and will keep his memory alive.

Ms. Birgit Sievert, Senior Acquisitions Editor, De Gruyter Mouton

New Online Platform for Teachers of Japanese in the UK

Remove 17 October 2016

Sayoko Yamashita and Alessandro Benati will be launching a new online platform for teachers of Japanese in the United Kingdom.

The Daiwa Foundation is hosting the launch of the platform on the 17 October from 2-4 pm at 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London, NW1 4QP. Please visit the website at: http://www.dajf.org.uk/

The online platform for learning and teaching Japanese grammar has been made possible by two research grants secured from the Sassakawa Foundation Japanese MEXT Fund Support (Japanese Ministry of Education Scientific Research Fund Basic Research (Type C) #16K02821).

This is a free event and everybody is welcome! Please contact Ms. Nancy Wong to register, or for any queries about the event at: Nancy.Wong@greenwich.ac.uk

The two authors have recently published a book on learning and teaching Japanese: Theory, Research and Pedagogy in Learning and Teaching Japanese Grammar, Palgrave.

Hope to see you on the 17 October!

Prof. Alessandro Benati, Greenwich University

TLANG opposes post-Brexit xenophobia

Remove 17 October 2016

Like many around the country, the TLANG team have been shocked by the upsurge of xenophobia and racist hate crime which the police believe have been triggered by the BREXIT vote https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/11/police-blame-worst-rise-in-recorded-hate-on-eu-referendum . The outcome of the vote seems to have been interpreted by some as permission to hate, or rather to express that hatred through abuse and violence. As part of the TLANG Project (website) we are working with the East European Advice Centre, housed in the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) building in Hammersmith, London. As widely reported in the media, POSK came under racist attack with graffiti smeared over its front door the day after the EU Referendum.


Aspects of the BREXIT campaign, designed to raise fear and anxiety over migration, have encouraged this response, as has the campaign of disinformation on migration conducted by some sectors of the press. As concerned citizens we join with others in deploring this increase in xenophobic and racist hate crime, and in demanding legal penalties for those who engage in it, as well as seeking ways of preventing such incidents in future.

We also note with concern reports of abuse arising from linguistic xenophobia. Linguistic xenophobia or symbolic linguistic violence involve abuse directed to others who are speaking another language, or speaking with a ‘foreign’ accent. It can range from subtle disapproval, to open expressions of hostility, to extreme physical violence. This is how Barbara Drozdowicz, director of the London-based Eastern European Advice Centre, describes the issue and its impacts on its victims:

Poles and other Eastern Europeans [EU 2004 and 2007 accession nationals] have been victims of racially-motivated harassment at work and in schools for the last 10 years at least. Symbolic linguistic violence, for example singling Polish workers out to ban them from using the Polish language during breaks, has been so deeply normalised that many of us treat it as a deal we have to accept when moving to the UK. Linguistic responses follow: many Eastern Europeans refuse using mother tongue among friends in the public transport, or changing first names to make them sound more British. The post-referendum wave of hate speech acts only as a reminder that migrant and BME communities are always vulnerable to tensions lurking under the cover of political correctness and words hurt as much as slap in the face.

It is a basic human right that people feel free to express themselves in their own language without exposing themselves to abuse. Instances of such abuse should be documented and recorded, and reported to the police.

To add your name to the list of academics opposing this wave of new racism, please contact Angela Creese, a.creese@bham.ac.uk.

Lancaster University / NHS Trust survey

Remove 11 October 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to ask you to help our team of researchers at Lancaster collaborating with the NHS trust in Blackpool by filling in this survey: https://lancasteruni.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5sXsmyZEYoZTtEV)

Our aim is to discover what textual features contribute to the ease and difficulty of understanding health-related information among monolingual and multilingual readers. Please feel free to share and distribute the link to the survey.

Judit Kormos, Robert Davies and Michael Ratajczak

James E. Alatis Prize for Research on Language Policy and Planning in Educational Contexts

Remove 1 September 2016

TIRF – The International Research Foundation for English Language Education – established the TIRF James E. Alatis Prize for Research on Language Policy and Planning in Educational Contexts to honor the contributions of our outstanding educator and association founder and leader to the field. With this message, we are inviting nominations for the 2017 Alatis Prize competition.

For this year’s prize, we invite nominations of outstanding articles or chapters that were published during calendar years of 2015 or 2016. TIRF will only consider publications nominated by someone other than the author(s) of the published work.

A prize of $500 will be awarded for an article or chapter published in English and dealing with some aspect of language policy or planning in educational contexts. Submissions may be articles published in scholarly peer-reviewed journals or peer-reviewed chapters in edited books.

Nominations are due by September 1, 2016. For more information about TIRF’s Alatis Prize, further details pertaining to important dates, and to learn about the nomination procedures, please visit http://www.tirfonline.org/grants-prizes/alatis-prize/.

Kathi Bailey, President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, TIRF

Funding for proposals to investigate the validity of the Global Scale of English

Remove 30 September 2016

Pearson is inviting researchers in the fields of language testing, second/foreign language education, linguistics and applied linguistics to participate in our 2016 external research programme. Faculty members, doctoral students as well as qualified freelance researchers are invited to submit proposals to investigate the validity of the Global Scale of English (Pearson metric of English language proficiency, aligned to the CEFR) and related learning, teaching, and assessment resources and products:

We are offering research funding up to £10,000.

The deadline for application is September 30, 2016.

Please visit http://pearsonpte.com/ wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ 26959953_research_call_2016.pdf to learn more about the research areas and application procedure.

Additional questions can be sent to veronica.benigno@pearson. com

Implications of EU Referendum for UK Social Science

Remove 19 September 2016

The Academy of Social Sciences has today issued Professional Briefing 8: The Implications of the EU Referendum for UK Social Science, analysing the relationship between UK social science and the European Union in the context of the debate about the future development of research after the referendum.

This followed the first in the Academy’s Summer Programme of events, held Tuesday 14th June, Professor John Curtice’s lecture on A nation at unease with itself? Britain on the eve of the EU referendum, in which Professor Curtice cast a clear eye over the polling results to date and laid out the demographic disparities emerging between the Leave and Remain sides. Full report and slides

Next event:

After the EU Referendum – where next for social science?

Thursday, 30th June 2016 5.30-7pm

33 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AG

On 23 June the electorate have a once in a generation opportunity to vote on the UK’s membership of the EU. The result will shape the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe for decades to come. David Cameron has described it as “the most important decision that the British people will have to take at the ballot box in our lifetime”. The implications of the vote for UK social science are of keen interest to the whole social science community.

The panel will be chaired by Professor James Wilsdon FAcSS and will include Professor Jane Elliott FAcSS (ESRC); Professor Graeme Reid (UCL), Jon Deer (LSE and EASSH) and Professor Antje Wiener FAcSS (University of Hamburg).

A drinks reception will follow the discussion, kindly sponsored by Taylor and Francis.

To register or to find out more information, including the full event programme, please visit https://socialscienceeudebate.eventbrite.co.uk.

Birkbeck Applied Linguistics Seminar Recordings Available

Remove 19 September 2016

The Department of Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck regularly hosts Bloomsbury Applied Linguistics Seminars. Speakers are eminent researchers from the UK and abroad. For the last academic year, they included Dr Andrea Revesz (IoE – UCL), Professor Btja Gomes de Mesquita (University of Leuven), Professor Suzanne Quay (International Christian University, Japan), Professor Monika Schmid (Essex), Dr Kazuya Saito (BBK), Professor Rodney Jones (Reading), and Dr. Luke Plonsky (IoE - UCL). For those who have missed these excellent talks for various reasons (distance, time conflict etc.), we have recently opened our digital archive where you can see recordings of all previous talks with power point slides.

Kazuya Saito, PhD

The Multicultural Fitness Community promotes intercultural communication and community development through physical fitness and the arts

Remove 13 September 2016

Initially inspired by the dynamic Zumba lessons of professional fitness instructor Kazuki Miyata, the Multicultural Fitness Community was established by Stephanie Ann Houghton PhD (Faculty of Art and Regional Design & Graduate School of Regional Design at Saga University, and licensed Zumba instructor), Dana Angove (Faculty of General Education, Saga University, and licensed Zumba instructor) and Peter Roux (Faculty of General Education, Saga University) in Japan. The Multicultural Fitness Community promotes intercultural communication and community development through physical fitness and the arts by developing educational programmes and events to connect people of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Activities and events to date include Zumba dance-fitness, Latin dance, aerobics and yoga, as well as international food events focusing on health, nutrition and culture, and open classes within Saga University. The Multicultural Fitness Community forges links with the wider community through communication and collaboration with Kazuki Miyata, Latin American Culture Centre NPO Tiempo Iberoamericano in Fukuoka, Studio Ellibe photography studio in Fukuoka and Kouraku Kiln in Arita, Japan. New invitations to collaborate would be more than welcome.


Stephanie Ann Houghton PhD

Value of Languages Report

Remove 13 September 2016

BAAL members may be interested to see this new report on “The Value of Languages”


Tess Fitzpatrick, BAAL Chair