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Scholars from 40 Nations Coming to SBU for 25th IAWE Conference

Sridhar sn
Sridhar sn
S.N. Sridhar

The Mattoo Center for India Studies and the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies are sponsoring the 25th conference of the International Association of World Englishes (IAWE 25) June 15-17 at the Charles B. Wang Center. The conference theme is World Englishes in a Multilingual World.

Founded in 1992, the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE) is an academic society that brings together scholars working in the field of English language, linguistics, literature and cultural studies and convenes conferences in the U.S. and internationally. Of the previous 24 conferences, only nine were hosted in the U.S. The association’s flagship journal, World Englishes, is now in the 43rd year of publication.

Scholars from 40 countries will participate in this year’s conference to discuss the paradigm of “World Englishes.” The spread of English worldwide has been an unprecedented linguistic phenomenon, and has resulted in there being more non-native speakers than native speakers.

The pluralistic conception of English has transformed many scientific fields, such as linguistics, psychology, sociolinguistics, stylistics, pragmatics, lexicography, bilingualism, second and foreign language acquisition and teaching.

David crystal
David Crystal

Long held as “sacred cows,” the privileged status of the native speaker, the taboo against language mixing and the discrimination against foreign accents are being challenged. There is a rethinking of fundamental questions: What is knowledge of a language? What is Standard English? Whose language is standard? Is there or should there be one international standard of English? Should it be the native speaker’s English? Is it racist to insist on native speaker English? Does it marginalize the developing world? What model of English should be taught in schools and textbooks? How is English used around the world? What is bilingual creativity in literature, social media, advertising, and other areas? Why do bilinguals switch or mix languages?

These and other questions will be debated by more than 120 scholars attending the IAWE 25. Scholars attending represent Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, the United Kingdom, UAE, Ukraine, the United States and Zambia.

Friedrich pic
Patricia Friedrich

Plenary speakers Tobias Bernaisch (Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany), Patricia Friedrich (Arizona State University), Nkonko Kamwangamalu (Howard University) and Rajend Mesthrie (University of Cape Town, South Africa) will present exciting research related to World Englishes. A leading world authority on English and a member of the British Academy, David Crystal (University of Bangor, Wales, United Kingdom) will address the conference.

SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Professor of Linguistics and India Studies and Director of the Bishembarnath & Sheela Mattoo Center for India Studies S.N. Sridhar serves as president for the International Association of World Englishes and conference chair of IAWE 25.

“Stony Brook is an ideal site for this conference; it has been one of the influential centers for research on World Englishes and multilingualism for over four decades,” he said. “It has preeminent scholars in several departments and centers which focus on cognate disciplines, such as, linguistics, multilingualism, second language acquisition, English language and literature, literary translation, writing and rhetoric, globalization, the teaching of English as a second language, and foreign language teaching, as well as flourishing programs in many Asian and European languages.”

Nkonko head
Nkonko Kamwangamalu

As a testimony to this multitudinous aspect of English, the conference is co-sponsored by a large number of academic units of Stony Brook University, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Africana Studies, the Department of English, the Department of Linguistics, the Department of Languages and Cultural Studies, the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, the Center for Multilingual and Intercultural Communication, the Language Learning Research Center, the Institute of Globalization Studies, the Intensive English Center, International Academic Programs, and the World Language Teacher Preparation Program.

To learn more about the conference or to register for the conference, visit the IAWE 25 conference website.

— Beth Squire

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