Language Policy Forum 2019

Language policy: Lenses, layers, entry points

30-31 May 2019, University of Edinburgh, UK

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Our 2019 conference leads on from our highly successful inaugural conference in 2018 at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, where delegates from over 20 countries met to discuss a diversity of issues in language policy. This year we have another vibrant, diverse, international and interdisciplinary crowd. Non-presenting attendees are welcome as well - welcome all!


The online programme is here, or there is a printable version (including the map below) here. The online programme may subsequently be updated if necessary.

The book of abstracts is available here.

The local organising committee: Rachel O'Neill (chair), Wilson McLeod, Florence Bonacina-Pugh, Hao Zhang, Joe Simpson and Mai Nguyen.

Email inquiries to:

Delegates: how did it go? Please complete our short feedback survey!

MAP OF Key locations

A) Main venue, 50 George Square. B) Rapid Networking (10:20 day 2), Informatics Forum, Charles Street. Pre-conference social (8pm, 29 May) AND post-dinner after party (30 May), St Andrews Brewing Co., 32-34 Potterrow. C) Conference dinner (30 May), Ciao Roma, 64 South Bridge (advance booking only).


Plenary speakers

Reader in Language Support and Revitalisation

SOAS, University of London, UK

Professor of Educational Linguistics

Kings College London, UK

Resilience in Language Policy: Discourses and Practices

This plenary talk examines how the notions of sustainability and resilience in language policy relate to the three elements of Spolksy’s (2004) model of language policy: language management, language practices and language ideologies.

Illustrating my talk with examples from my research on language revitalisation, policies and practices in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, I look at the roles of potential stakeholders from all policy levels in language management – individuals, families, communities, institutions, and local, national and supranational governing bodies. I will examine language practices and ideologies, and their implications for sustainability in language policy: especially linguistic purism, and how language activists and language planners deal with the inevitability and nature of language change, in light of Folke’s (2006) assertion that resilience “concerns the capacity for renewal, re-organization and development … in a resilient social-ecological system, disturbance has the potential to create opportunity for doing new things, for innovation and for development”.

These strands will be brought together in a consideration of the sustainability of language policies and language management at various policy levels. I will look at possibilities for accommodating change and growth, in language and in human resources. I will include discussion of whether an overall vision and/or strategy is a requirement for sustainability. These notions will also be related to Fishman’s concept of “ideological clarification”.

Policy Incommensurability: Assimilation and monolingualism in contemporary diversity in the UK

Ethnolinguistic diversity is now regarded as a permanent feature of society. Social integration is recognised as a society goal and ethnic diversity is celebrated in policy rhetoric. On the ground, however, there is a strong tendency for government policies to continue to treat monolingualism in English and (putative) monolithic Britishness as the unmarked norms in civil society.

In this talk I will explore the impact of this view on aspects of schooling education and migration policies. More specifically I will focus on (a) the curriculum provision for English as an Additional Language (EAL) in schools, and (b) the English language requirements for new citizens. I will support my arguments firstly by providing a brief genealogy of education policy trajectories regarding linguistic diversity over the past 50 years, and secondly by an analysis of the language model underlying the current English language requirements for new citizens.

It will be shown that the current policies misrecognize the nature of contemporary diversities in society. This discussion will include policy texts and draw on studies in the fields of language education, language policy, language testing, linguistic anthropology, sociocultural theories, and the emerging discipline of raciolinguistics.

Advice panel on writing monographs

In last year's conference we scheduled a panel of journal editors to give advice for prospective authors. This year we're running a similar panel for early career researchers, on the subject of writing monographs. Four experienced monograph authors will give their top tips about the long and winding road of writing, submitting, editing, proofing, and everything in between!

Julia Sallabank, SOAS, University of London: Attitudes to Endangered Languages: Identities and Policies, Cambridge University Press, 2013

Joseph Gafaranga, University of Edinburgh: Bilingualism as Interactional Practices, Edinburgh University Press, 2018

Lisa McEntee-Atalianis, Birkbeck, University of London: Identity in Applied Linguistics Research, Bloomsbury, 2018

David Cassels Johnson, University of Iowa: Language Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Joining the Language Policy BAAL SIG

Updates and preliminary discussions will take place on the mailing list of the Language Policy special interest group. The group is open to all, and free to join:

Registration and fees

**EXTENDED REGISTRATION DEADLINE: presenters, May 10; non-presenters, May 15**

Please register via this link (BOTH presenters and non-presenters).

We are aiming for maximum inclusivity in this conference, at all career stages, and taking into account variations in job security throughout academia. Please note that to keep costs to a minimum, lunch will not provided. There is, however, a cafeteria on site as well as many restaurants and shops nearby.

  • Employed full-time, BAAL non-member: £120
  • Employed full-time, BAAL member: £100
  • Non-BAAL fractional, non-BAAL student with conference funding: £60
  • BAAL fractional, BAAL student with conference funding: £50
  • Retired, unemployed, student without conference funding: £20

Delegates are welcome to bring family or friends to the conference dinner. They will each need to pay the £17 dinner fee at the conference front desk, and they will be given a receipt.

Draft presentation/poster upload for sign language interpreters (deadline 15 May)

Please upload a draft of your presentation or poster by Wednesday 15 May. This does NOT need to be entirely complete and will NOT be used for the conference itself. It is only for the sign language interpreters to become familiar with your terminology, structure, etc. You can bring an updated version with you. Please upload your file here.


We aim for maximum accessibility, including physical location and navigation of buildings. The venue is fully accessible, with level access and lifts between floors.

We are extremely grateful to SCILT for supporting BSL / English sign language interpreting at the conference. Please contact Events Organiser Rachel O’Neill ( to discuss, which can be in BSL by Skype / Facetime.

A phone signal is available on most networks throughout the campus. There is also campus-wide eduroam (works with any university login), and a guest wifi signal (login details will be given during the conference).

If you have other accessibility needs, please also email to discuss.

Suggested nearby Accommodation

food at the conference

Teas and coffees are included in the conference fee and shown on the programme. Lunch is not included, but is available to buy cheaply in the cafe in 50 George Square. The conference meal is on Thursday 30th May at nearby Ciao Roma (advance bookings only). When you pay the conference fee you will have the option of booking the conference meal too at £17. This is a first course and a glass of wine or soft drink. Other events will be added to this web page.