Inaugural Event, Sat 2 Sept

(See bottom of this page for the AGM the day before.)

The Language Policy SIG's inaugural event will take place at the end of the BAAL annual conference at the University of Leeds, on Saturday 2 September, 1pm-3.30pm.

The plenary speaker will be Professor Bernadette O'Rourke, School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University.

The event will also include time to discuss how we want the group to develop.


1 - 1.30 pm: Refreshments (conference participants are welcomed to bring their packed lunch)

1.30 - 1.45 pm: Introduction from SIG co-convenors Dr. Elisabeth Barakos and Dr. Florence Bonacina-Pugh

1.45 - 2.30 pm: Plenary, Professor Bernadette O’Rourke. Shifting paradigms - 'new speakers' and language policy

2.30 - 2.45pm: Q&A

2.45 - 3.30pm: Planning ahead, and concluding remarks

Abstract of plenary talk

In this talk I will look at language policy through the ‘new speaker’ lens and explore the many ways in which research on new speakers to date links to the discursive and ethnographic approaches that have recently come to the fore in language policy literature. In recent years notions such as ‘new speakerness’ and ‘new speakers’ have begun to be used by some scholars to describe the social and linguistic practices of speakers which exist outside what were considered traditional native-speaker communities (O’Rourke and Pujolar 2013: 56). These include contexts where attempts are made to revitalise autochthonous minority languages. It can also include urban settings characterised by different forms of migration and transnational, flexible workplaces. The new speaker lens cross-cuts a range of multilingual contexts and has been used to explore parallels across the varied sociolinguistic trajectories and repertoires of new speakers.

Research on new speakers in the context of language policy and planning draws attention to the speakers themselves, how they are affected by language policies and how they negotiate, or resist official policy and planning measures along the way. I will explore the impact of language policy on the process of becoming and being a (new) speaker of a given language and implications on speaker legitimacy and access to resources. My discussion with refer to ongoing research on the topic by members of the New Speaker Network. Members of this research group have examined the opportunities and challenges involved in becoming a new speaker of a language and implications for policy in a multilingual Europe.

Bernadette O'Rourke, short biography

Bernadette O’Rourke is Professor in Sociolinguistics at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the role of language in the construction of social difference and social inequality in multilingual societies. She is Chair of the EU COST Action New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges (20013-2017).


To help us with catering, please register below.

We look forward to seeing you there,

Florence and Elisabeth.


On Friday 1st of September, we will hold our first AGM at 10.40am until 11.15am in Baines Wing 1.15. Anyone interested to hear more about the SIG is welcome to attend.

  • Chairs: Dr. Elisabeth Barakos and Dr. Florence Bonacina-Pugh


  1. Introduction and apologies
  2. Introducing the SIG and its aims
  3. Introducing the committee
  4. Update on recent SIG activities
  5. Welcoming members
  6. Communications
  7. Accounts and finance issues
  8. SIG events
  9. AOB

The Language Policy BAAL Special Interest Group

1st Annual General Meeting

Friday 1st September


Leeds University

Attended by*:

Elisabeth Barakos; Florence Bonacina-Pugh; William Cook; Chisato Danjo; Yongcan Liu; Marilyn Martin-Jones; Rachel O’Neill; Susan Stewart.

*If you attended this meeting and are not listed above, please let us know and we will add you to the list of attendees.

Apologies from:

Dave Sayers; Taehee Choi


1. Co-convenors’ report: Florence Bonacina-Pugh and Elisabeth Barakos

History of the formation of the SIG

In late 2016, Elisabeth Barakos and Florence Bonacina-Pugh together originated the idea of creating and managing a forum of exchange with and for like-minded people engaged in language policy matters. The SIG is now in its first, probationary year with a functional committee, mailing list, web page and inaugural event happening on Saturday 02 September 2017. The SIG will hopefully be approved at the end of this year as a fully fledged BAAL SIG.

Aims of the LP SIG

to nurture a community of practitioners and scholars interested in the theory, methodology and practice of Language Policy processes; to create opportunities for dialogue between the research community, practitioners, policy makers and the wider public; to stimulate critical and socially responsible enquiries into national, European and international policy issues including but not limited to examining the linguistic aspects of the pursuit of social justice; to foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration amongst language policy scholars working within different paradigms by organising various colloquia and events; to further the creation of research tools and resources to enhance our analyses, understanding and critiques of policy texts, discourses and practices.

Conceptualising LP and welcoming a diversity of approaches:

  • Language Policy is a process that encompasses a plethora of social and discursive practices
  • Language Policy shapes, and is shaped by, historical, structural and agentive processes that take effect on various social layers.
  • Language Policy permeates all domains of life, from e.g. multilingualism in businesses to minority language rights, EU policies on modern languages education, and the impact of Brexit on UK language policies.
  • Language Policy is a vibrant and interdisciplinary field which requires a diversity of approaches in theory and method to unpack the discourses, ideologies and practices around us.
  • The Language Policy SIG is a forum to discuss, engage with and research diverse takes on language policy and provide empirical accounts.

Recent activities of the LP SIG

  • Online election of a Coordinating Committee
  • Writing of the SIG constitution
  • Creation of a website
  • Creation of a mailing list
  • Setting up a SIG bank account
  • Inaugural event

Introducing the LP SIG committee

  • Co-Convenors: Elisabeth Barakos (Aston University) Florence Bonacina-Pugh (The University of Edinburgh)
  • Membership Secretary: Tae-Hee Choi (The Education University of Hong-Kong)
  • Treasurer: Yongcan Liu (University of Cambridge)
  • Events secretary: Rachel O’Neill (The University of Edinburgh)
  • Communications secretary: Dave Sayers (Sheffield Hallam University)

Election of the coordinated committee

  • Members of the Coordinated Committee are elected for a (renewable) period of three years at LP SIG’s annual general meeting (AGM), which is normally held during the BAAL annual conference in September
  • Elections should be staggered so that the committee roles are held by a combination of both new and old people.
  • Initially, the treasurer and membership secretary will hold the post for two years whilst the rest of the committee will hold their role for three years.

2. Membership secretary’s report: Elisabeth Barakos on behalf of Taehee Choi

  • Membership is free in our SIG
  • Number of members: 323 as of August 28 2017, and keeps growing.
  • The SIG members using their institutional emails represent 38 countries, and all continents.
  • Over 30 % of the SIG members also signed up for BAAL

3. Treasurer’s report: Yongcan Liu

  • A community/business account has been successfully set up with HSBC and is expected to be fully functional in mid September 2017
  • A £200 start-up grant has been allocated to the SIG committee by BAAL to support SIG activities and events for the first year
  • The inaugural SIG event is free, and we are considering various funding possibilities to make the SIG finance sustainable in the future
  • Au audited annual financial report will be submitted by the end of the financial year

4. Events secretary’s report: Rachel O’Neill

  • Our inaugural meeting is on Saturday 02 September 2017 at 1 - 3.30 pm in Baines Wing SR 2.08
  • Keynote Speaker Prof. Bernadette O’Rourke on Shifting paradigms - 'new speakers' and language policy
  • Further events planned:
    • Aston University (dates to be agreed - May/June 2018)
    • Track SIG at BAAL 2018 conference
    • University of Edinburgh 2019 (May 2019)

5. Communications secretary’s report: Florence Bonacina-Pugh on behalf of Dave Sayers

6. AoB

Attendees made the following suggestions for future activities of the SIG:

  • The Language Policy SIG and the LEF SIG could think of collaborating on the topic of the ethnography of language policy.
  • The Language Policy SIG could think of holding e-seminars
  • The Language Policy SIG could try and plan events for stakeholders and the wider community.