67th Annual Conference of the International Linguistic Association

Richards Bay, South Africa, 15 - 18 June 2023

Hosted by the University of Zululand

Conference Theme: Rethinking Language and Linguistics for Liberatory Epistemologies and Ontologies

Renewed calls for the decolonisation of education from the #RhodesMustFall movement of 2015 and beyond have re-directed the attention of scholars and public commentators to the often-problematic roles of dominant European languages such as English in formal education, especially in formerly colonised countries. The debates, and contestations which that movement has animated over the past few years have invited closer scrutiny of what Pennycook and Makoni (2020) identify as “the complicities between applied linguistics, colonialism, and capitalism”. This foregrounds the immensely powerful impact – either negative or positive – of language policies and practices across social, cultural, economic, and political domains. In this regard, the enduring negative legacies of colonial misclassifications and mis-standardisation of indigenous languages continue to pose serious challenges today, to both linguists (applied, socio- and educational linguists) and language teachers in schools and universities at all levels.

This means that the need to rethink language and linguistics is urgent especially in terms of how they can contribute positively to ongoing debates on decolonisation of education in the formerly colonised world and also regarding language minorities in the so-called developed countries. There is an urgent need for alternative codes and an expanded conceptual repertoire to redress historical linguistic misconceptions and to promote language practices that recover and enhance African and Global South epistemologies and ontologies. This is critical to an understanding of knowledge production as “a territory” (Moetsi, 2016) to which marginalised, formerly colonised, historically disadvantaged, and excluded people have legitimate claims. New, liberatory approaches to language and linguistics would enhance the life chances of such populations by helping reclaim their “self-worth, power and creativity” in a world that is increasingly hostile to them.

This international multidisciplinary conference invites papers that explore such possible approaches from formal linguistics, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics. We look forward to presentations that move beyond dominant monolingual and metalinguistic assumptions and examine new possibilities in multilingualism, language learning, languages of learning and teaching (LoLT) in education, literacies, and language rights. We are particularly interested in perspectives from/about the Global South and indigenous communities which complicate and question received ways of thinking about language, literacy, and linguistics. Themes include but are not limited to:

    • Multilingualism and heritage language practices in Africa
    • The role of language in the decolonisation of the curriculum
    • Language and decolonisation of pedagogy
    • Digital and computational skills in languages and linguistics
    • English as LoLT in (South) Africa
    • Standardisation of indigenous languages
    • Growing use of English as LoLT in non-English speaking European universities
    • The political economy of tests such as IELTS and TOEFL
    • Grassroots language and literary studies
    • Language acquisition versus language learning
    • Local language/linguistic practices in global social media
    • Liberatory/emerging language and linguistic epistemologies/theories

In keeping with the ILA tradition, we also invite individual papers or posters on other areas of linguistics. Each presentation should last no more than thirty minutes, including time for questions and discussion. This year’s conference will accommodate both in-person and hybrid (synchronous videoconferencing) contributions. Please indicate your preferred modality when you register.

Guidelines for Proposals

Papers and Posters

A paper or poster title and abstract of between 300 and 400 words, excluding references, is required along with a summary abstract for the conference booklet of no more than 150 words. The author's name, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and phone number must also be included.


A brief presentation/rationale of about 200 words should argue for the relevance of the theoretical/applied content in language, linguistics or literacy that will be explored and examined during the workshop. Objectives, a brief description of the activities to be implemented during the session, and a maximum of five reading references should be included in the proposal. A separate brief CV (100 words) of the workshop leader/s indicating relevant workshop/instructional experience is also required.

All proposals will be blind reviewed for quality and originality. Submissions should mainly contain new material and must not have been published previously to be considered. All proposals should be submitted via the official Registration Form: https://forms.gle/Mui5iPTR9JYmLeNK8 by Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

Proposal acceptances will be sent by Monday, March 27, 2023. The author(s) whose proposals have been accepted for the ILA Annual Conference must register by the Saturday, April 15, 2023 pre-registration deadline in order to be included in the Conference Program.

Conference Registration Information

It is necessary to become a member of the ILA to participate in the annual meeting (but not in the one-day K-12 Teachers’ Workshop, which is open to non-members). One can become a member of the ILA at any time. Reduced membership and conference registration rates are available to students, retirees, contingent faculty, K-12 teachers, and residents of soft-currency countries. Please register here.

Pre-Registration fees (received by May 15, 2023)
Regular Rate: $100
Reduced Rate: $50

Registration fees (from May 16, 2023)
Regular Rate: $150
Reduced Rate: US $100

For registration payments, go to www.ilaword.org

Conference Venue

BON Hotel
Richards Bay, South Africa

The best way to arrive in Richards Bay is to fly into Richards Bay Airport (RCB), which is only 15 minutes from the BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay, via Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport, JNB). Alternatively, international travellers can fly to King Shaka International Airport (KSI) in Durban via Cape Town International Airport (CPT) or O.R. Tambo (JNB).King Shaka (KSI) is a two hour drive to the BON Hotel in Richards Bay, so we recommend the first itinerary.

Further Information

Inquiries may be sent to the Conference Organizers:
Professor Mogomme Masoga – MasogaM@unizulu.ac.za
Professor ZG Buthelezi – ButheleziZG@unizulu.ac.za
For further information about the International Linguistic Association, visit www.ilaword.org
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