The Integrationalists

Christopher Hutton

The International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication (IAISLC) was founded in 1998. The IAISLC Executive Committee currently comprises: Stephen J. Cowley (University of Hertfordshire, University of KwaZulu), Daniel R. Davis (University of Michigan), Harjeet S. Gill (Patiala University), Roy Harris (University of Oxford), Jesper Hermann (University of Copenhagen), Christopher Hutton (University of Hong Kong), Dr Adrian Pablé (University of Hong Kong), Nigel Love (University of Cape Town), Talbot J. Taylor (College of William & Mary), Michael Toolan (University of Birmingham). The Secretary is Professor Toolan, Department of English, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. (M.Toolanbham.ac.uk). Members of the association are researching a wide range of topics and themes, including: psychology of language and language acquisition, the semiotics of writing, history of linguistics, philosophy of language, literary and legal discourse, language, normativity and ideology, names and naming, language and epistemology, language and artistic creativity. Papers by integrational scholars appear regularly in the journals Language and Communication (founded by Roy Harris, edited by John E. Joseph and Talbot J. Taylor) and Language Sciences (edited by Nigel Love). The Association’s website is at: http://www.integrationists.com/IAISLC.html.

Conferences organized by the Association have been held in London (July 2000), New Orleans (March 2002), Birmingham (July 2004), Cape Town (December 2008), Hong Kong (May 2010). The Cape Town conference was held in collaboration with the Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication, with the theme ‘The Native Speaker and the Mother Tongue’. In May 2010 an international colloquium was held in Hong Kong organized by IAISLC and the School of English, The University of Hong Kong, with the title ‘Linguistic Theory in the 21st Century: Integrational Perspectives’.

The Hong Kong conference was intended to encourage open and general discussion of the aims and methods of linguistics. Themes included: the disciplinary autonomy of linguistics; linguistics, semiotics and theories of the sign; indeterminacy and theories of meaning; lay-oriented linguistics; integrational linguistic method (of enquiry, analysis, and argumentation); the nature of linguistic ‘data’; integrational linguistics in the university curriculum. There was also a special session on comparative China-West studies of language and linguistics, reflecting the strategic research theme of the Faculty of Arts, looking at cross-cultural issues in the understanding and representation of language, interactions between linguistic traditions, the nature of writing systems, the status of the term ‘dialect’, etc. This was a truly international conference, with a good mix of postgraduate students and academics at various stages of their career. The conference was attended by twenty-two delegates, eighteen of whom came from outside Hong Kong (Australia, Mainland China, Denmark, Germany, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States). Papers from the China-West session are to be published in the Journal of Oriental Studies; other papers will appear in a special issue of Language Sciences. Plans for the next conference have not yet been finalized but it is hoped that it will take place in 2011.

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