BAAL has more than ten Special Interest Groups (SIGs), set up by BAAL members to meet particular applied linguistic needs. Each SIG has their own Executive Committee. The SIGs meet at least once a year and provide a range of services to their members.

Membership of SIGs is free to BAAL members. If you are a BAAL member and wish to join a particular SIG at any time, please contact the SIG Coordinator via the appropriate SIG page. You can be a member of any number of SIGs.

Here is a list of all the BAAL SIGs, with access to their websites:

Corpus Linguistics SIG

The Corpus SIG was established within BAAL in 2003 by applied linguists with a special interest in the uses of corpora and of corpus methodologies within applied linguistic research.  The aims of the SIG are:

  • to bring together applied linguists with interest in the uses of electronic language corpora
  • to provide opportunities for researchers to exchange information regarding their work, and to debate key theoretical and methodological issues in corpus-based research 

 We welcome anyone with an interest or specialisation in corpora and aim to bring together researchers, teachers and other practitioners both in the UK and beyond.

Health and Science Communication SIG

The Health and Science Communication (HSC) SIG provides a specialist forum for the development of research at the intersection of applied linguistics and health/science communication. In this ever-expanding field, we bring together researchers who employ concepts and methods from applied linguistics with researchers from other disciplines, such as sociology, medical humanities, anthropology, media studies, psychology and cultural studies. Through this interdisciplinarity, the HSC SIG provides opportunities to explore and discuss key issues and current advancements in health and science communication from multiple perspectives.

Humans, Machines, Language (HuMaLa) SIG

Our SIG was founded in March 2024, as a successor to the 2020-24 Horizon-funded international COST network, ‘Language In The Human-Machine Era’ ( Our interests are in language technologies that merge humans and machines. From AI-enabled smart assistants to mobile AR and VR headsets, we are interested in the ways that new technologies will transform many subdisciplinary areas of applied linguistics, from language teaching to language policy, from intercultural communication to translation and literacies. Emerging language technologies will usher in opportunities and risks; we are here for balanced critical insight into them all.

Intercultural Communication SIG

Over the past two decades, the central importance of appropriate ‘culture learning’ has been increasingly stressed by applied linguists with an interest in the interface between language, thought, social interaction and language learning.  Language learning is perceived as the best place within the educational field for the learning of and about culture, reflecting the powerful associations and interrelationships between language and culture.  The BAAL IC SIG provides a forum for applied linguists, business trainers, language teachers and the wider public to engage in debate about the nature and potential application of key concepts in the field to language learning and teaching.

Language Curriculum SIG

The Language Curriculum SIG offers a platform which brings together researchers, educators, and educational policy makers interested in researching, designing,
implementing, and evaluating different types of curriculum (intended/official, enacted, taught, learnt, hidden, assessed) that support language learning across contexts, systems, levels of education, and programmes. The SIG seeks to become a site of convergence to discuss how different aspects of applied linguistics are/can be incorporated in documents and decision-making processes that organise educational provision on a range of language-related matters. We are also a space to discuss the ideological, political, social, cultural, and language-in-education policy-driven forces behind curriculum development.

Language, Gender and Sexuality SIG

The BAAL Language, Gender and Sexuality Special Interest Group provides a forum for researchers to discuss and debate issues and promote development in this area. The key aims of the group are:

  • to bring together UK-based researchers (and others from outside the UK) interested in the area of sexuality, gender and language
  • to identify, engage with and further knowledge of key issues in gender, sexuality and language study, including study of the relations between language, gender and sexual identity
  • to explore a range of past and current work with a view to contributing to prospective developments in the field, both in the UK and abroad
  • to promote language, gender and sexuality study as a field which brings together a range of theoretical and methodological approaches in ways which are productive for applied linguistics as a whole

The group is interested in exploring language, gender and sexuality issues from a range of theoretical, methodological and disciplinary perspectives.

Language and Education for Social Justice SIG

Established in Spring 2023, the Language and Education for Social Justice SIG aims to bring the term social justice to the fields of applied linguistics and language education in order to encourage individual, institutional, and collective processes of research, teaching, and community engagement. This SIG encourages applied linguists and language educators to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions as researcher/activists and teacher/activist who work towards transforming classrooms, schools, communities, and the larger societies through critical, anti-oppressive, and transformative pedagogies.

Language and New Media SIG

We take ‘new media’ to represent the wide range of communicative contexts often referred to as ‘digital discourse’ and ‘computer-mediated communication’ (CMC). We are interested in all aspects of language use that occur in new media environments. The SIG’s objectives are to:

  • build a community of scholars, especially although not exclusively based in the United Kingdom, who are contributing to work in the field of CMC.
  • develop work in CMC by providing opportunities to present new research, formulating guidelines for research practices, sharing and developing methods for the collection and analysis of computer-mediated data.
  • support new researchers who are developing applied linguistic research in the field of CMC.
  • develop and make available case studies which stimulate innovative uses of new media in teaching language and applied linguistics.

Language and Race SIG

This SIG will provide the space to facilitate the development of cutting-edge and critical research on the intersections of language and race. More specifically, this SIG will focus on how language and race are co-naturalised to have an effect on racialisation – the process of giving meaning to how race functions to marginalise or privilege particular sections in society.

Language in Africa SIG

We welcome all researchers with an interest in applied linguistic and sociolinguistic issues to do with language in Africa, and have a wide membership in Africa as well as the UK. Our objectives are to:

  • explore how educational, political and social contexts affect the learning and teaching of languages in Africa, and learning through more than one language.
  • investigate various sociolinguistic aspects of language in use in Africa
  • support and promote the work of African scholars and others engaged with language issues inside African institutions and NGOs, as well as those currently studying in the UK.

Language Learning and Teaching SIG

The Language Learning and Teaching (LLT) SIG aims to:

  • bring together researchers conducting Language Learning and Teaching research in the UK and abroad
  • explore a range of past and current work
  • identify key issues, and
  • engage in methodologically and theoretically well-tuned debate

Language Policy SIG

The goal of the Language Policy SIG is to serve as a forum to discuss, critically engage with, and research topic areas including but not restricted to:

  • Language Policy and Planning
  • Language-in-Education Policy
  • Language Policy and Practice
  • Corpus Planning
  • Language Policy and political theory
  • Critical Language Policy
  • Research methods in Language Policy
  • Language Policy and interdisciplinarity

Linguistic Ethnography Forum SIG

The Linguistic Ethnography Forum (LEF) brings together researchers conducting linguistic ethnography in the UK and elsewhere. It seeks to explore a range of past and current work, to identify key issues, and to engage in methodologically and theoretically well-tuned debate. Linguistic Ethnography holds that language and social life are mutually shaping, and that close analysis of situated language use can provide both fundamental and distinctive insights into the mechanisms and dynamics of social and cultural production in everyday activity.

Linguistics and Knowledge about Language in Education (LKALE) SIG

The BAAL LKALE SIG offers a forum for researchers applying linguistic theory to developing pedagogic meta-language(s) for teaching and learning across the curriculum in formal education contexts in the UK for L1 and L2 students, from primary to HE.  This includes teachers’ perceptions of language variation within and between languages within the classroom. Its aim is to build up a body of expertise to inform public policy and debate on the teaching of grammar, literacy and associated meta-language, to support classroom teachers, HE lecturers and teacher trainers in preparing students for further and higher education and employment. The SIG’s  expertise parallels that of  the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB)  Education Committee and provides a pool of BAAL members to contribute to the cross-association organisation CLIE (Committee for Linguistics in Education). 

Multilingualism SIG

The Multilingualism SIG aims to:

  • foster the development of a broad-based community of researchers in applied and sociolinguistics with expertise in multilingualism and linguistic diversity;
  • create opportunities for the exchange and cross-fertilisation of ideas among researchers examining multilingualism in applied and sociolinguistics;
  • promote the value of multilingualism and linguistic diversity within UK academia and British society;
  • make a major contribution to raising the profile of multilingualism in BAAL.

Professional, Academic and Work-based Literacies (PAWBL) SIG

The goals of the PAWBL SIG are to:

  • provide a forum for those researchers who are working on academic, professional or work based literacies or (as is increasingly the case) at the interface of two or more these dimensions.
  • develop and extend the network of scholars working within this area – both within the UK and transnationally who are seeking to develop robust research methodologies using a range of concepts and methods from applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, literacy studies, anthropological linguistics, linguistic ethnography
  • develop work in literacy studies providing opportunities to present new research as well as critically revisiting ‘classic’ studies and approaches
  • support new researchers who are developing applied linguistic research in the field of academic, professional and work based literacies
  • involve potential stakeholders and practitioners in debates arising from findings through involvement on the SIG’s events
  • develop and make available case studies and heuristics which stimulate the use of research findings by policy makers and practitioners.

Research Synthesis in Applied Linguistics SIG

Research Synthesis in Applied Linguistics SIG aims to:

  • Promote the values and practices of research synthesis (reviews that follow a systematic methodological approach) in Applied Linguistics and language education in advancing research and research-practice dialogues;
  • ​Discuss and advance methodological traditions and issues of conducting different types of research synthesis;
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary dialogues with specialists in research synthesis in other disciplines (e.g., education).

Testing, Evaluation and Assessment SIG

BAAL TEASIG is an organisation run by a group of applied linguists, lecturers, teachers, and researchers who share an interest in the role of applied linguistics in language testing, evaluation, and assessment. The SIG aims to promote the discussion and dissemination of research and ideas relevant to a wide range of topics in applied linguistics and language testing. We aim to encourage informed discussion and collaboration between those with an interest in applied linguistics and those concerned with creating, revising, measuring, validating, conducting, delivering, and receiving language assessments. ​It is our goal to provide a friendly and welcoming environment through our yearly conference and regular Spotlight webinar events, where members of the community can exchange and dynamically cross-fertilise new and innovative ideas from differing fields within applied linguistics.

Vocabulary Studies SIG

The BAAL Vocabulary Studies Special Interest Group (Vocab SIG) provides a platform within BAAL for anybody who has an interest or specialisation in vocabulary. The Vocab SIG serves as a forum to discuss and critically engage with research on the description, processing, teaching, learning and assessment of vocabulary. One of the main aims of the Vocab SIG is to bring together researchers, teachers and trainers in the field of vocabulary in the UK and elsewhere. The BAAL Vocab SIG also aims to provide opportunities to explore current vocabulary related research and consider implications for future research.

Finally, here is information on:

How to set up a new SIG

British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)