Top International Linguistic Organization in the World

The Linguistic Society of South Africa is a member of the General Assembly of the Comité International Permanent des Linguistics (CIPL), an umbrella international linguistic organization, otherwise known as the Permanent International Committee of Linguists. The CIPL is a global organization, which was established to assist in the development of linguistic science. The CIPL General Assembly comprises about 50 national and international organizations worldwide, all dedicated to linguistic development.  

In this post, we highlight top linguistic organizations in the world and their core functions and jurisdictions. Note that most of these organizations are part of the General Assembly of the Comité International Permanent des Linguistics. A good number of language agencies, localization experts and transcription services in Pretoria are affiliated with these international linguistic organizations. They are also affiliated with National linguistic organizations, such as the Linguistic Society of South Africa and the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL)

Applied Linguistics International Association

The organization is also known as Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA) or International Association of Applied Linguistics. AILA was founded in 1964 in France. It is an international federation of national and regional associations of Applied Linguistics. AILA comprises over 8,000 members across the globe. These people are researchers, policymakers/practitioners that are active in the field of Applied Linguistics.

From its name, AILA is focused on the field of applied linguistics. The field of Applied Linguistics is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary area of research and practice, which involves practical language and communication problems that can be identified, analyzed, or solved by applying available theories, known methods, and results of Linguistics. It also deals with the development of new theoretical and methodological linguistic frameworks in solving these problems. 

Because of its direct involvement in practical, everyday linguistic problems, especially those related to communication, applied linguistics differs from general linguistics. Applied linguistics deals with issues ranging from aspects of the linguistic and communicative competence of individuals to language and communication-related challenges in and between societies. Typical examples include language variation, multilingualism, linguistic discrimination, language conflict, language planning, and language policy. All these are areas that the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée is concerned with.

African Academy of Languages (ACALAN)

The African Academy of Languages was founded on December 19th, 2000, based on the presidential decree of His Excellency Alpha Oumar KONARE, the then President of the Republic of Mali. This decree established a Mission for the African Academy of Languages (MACALAN). The Mission subsequently became the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) later in January 2006, following the adoption of its statutes by the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the African Union, as a specialized institution of the African Union.

ACALAN is saddled with the responsibility of developing and promoting African languages so that they can be used in all domains of the society in partnership with the languages passed on to African nations from colonization: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. The mission of the African Academy of Languages are: 

  • To encourage the formulation and establishment of vigorous and articulated language policies and the sharing of experiences in policy-making and implementation in the Member States of the African Union as a means of using African languages in a wider range of domains without abandoning the use of colonial languages.
  • To identify vehicular cross-border languages and establish commissions to develop and promote them, on the basis that African languages will serve to forge the linguistic and cultural unity of Africa to maximize resources and minimize costs.

In achieving this mission, ACALAN splits into 5 functional organs, which are :

  • The AU Conference of Ministers of Culture – the supreme organ
  • The Governing Board – highest policy organ
  • The Scientific and Technical Committee – consultative organ
  • The Assembly of Academicians – advisory organ
  • The Executive Secretariat – administrative organ

Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States/Association de Linguistique du Canada et des États-Unis

The Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States (LACUS) was founded to create a forum for bolstering the free exchange of ideas and discussion on communication beyond traditional grammatical studies in the various traditional modes. The organization serves the two English-speaking countries in North America.

LACUS holds an annual forum at a university campus each summer, alternating between Canada and the United States. Its members come mainly from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. It publishes a selection of the papers presented at every forum, with revisions based on questions that were previously raised at the conference and on recommendations of anonymous reviewers. LACUS publishes its research work for the general public’s consumption once every year, and the volume typically appears within one year of each annual conference. 

International Phonetic Association (IPA)

The International Phonetic Association (IPA) is the leading and oldest representative organization for phoneticians. The organization was established in 1886 in Paris. In 2018, it marked its 130th anniversary of the first publication of the International Phonetic Alphabet and the formulation of the principles. The International Phonetic Association aims to promote the scientific study of phonetics and the various practical applications of that science. 

In addition, the IPA provides the academic community and translation companies across the globe with a notational standard for the phonetic representation of all languages – the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). IPA published the most recent version of the International Phonetic Alphabet in 2015. The IPA charts are re-issued every year. 

Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE)

The Societas Linguistica Europaea, otherwise known as the Linguistic Society of Europe, is the universal language body of Europe. Its purpose is to advance the scientific study of language in all its aspects in European countries and other parts of the world. The organization accepts membership from both Europeans and Non-Europeans. Members are entitled to access to Folia Linguistica and Folia Linguistica Historica, and two refereed linguistic journals of internationally recognized standing.

The SLE was founded in 1966 to advance linguistics, with a special focus on European languages. The organization has more than 1,000 individual members today, and it welcomes linguists of all kinds to join. The SLE constantly disseminates current research in linguistics and facilitates communication within the discipline through its website, its annual meetings, and its journals Folia Linguistica and Folia Linguistica Historica.  Before 1990, the SLE was an important meeting place for linguists from both western and eastern Europe. The venues for its meetings, as well as the appointment of presidents of the organization, are alternated between western Europe and eastern Europe.

The SLE also provides reference materials that guide educational institutions and translation companies in Europe and other parts of the world. The SLE organizes its annual meeting,  a four-day conference, every summer. Linguists and researchers are allowed to share their work in this meeting. However, due to the COVID-19 restrictions on traveling and gatherings, the 53rd Annual Meeting of SLE was held digitally. 

International Cognitive Linguistics Association (ICLA)

The International Cognitive Linguistics Association connects cognitive linguists from all over the globe through organized conferences and by sponsoring a major journal and book series in line with relevant research. It also uses other affiliated publication venues to propagate its cause. It maintains a regular email discussion with members and fosters regional affiliation among members.  The ICLA provides a community for researchers in cognitive linguistics and intending members looking to contribute to its research work.

Since cognitive linguistics deals with the relation of language to the human mind, including human cognitive and cultural models, the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, therefore, delves into other related fields, such as Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy (particularly about the study of categorization), and other fields steeped in the study of conventionalized knowledge systems applied in regular human interaction. Anyone is welcome to participate, including individuals and organizations, either as a researcher or as a learner. 

The organization started publishing a  review journal, the Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, in 2003, and other new journals followed right after that one. Cognitive Linguistics is currently edited by editor Ewa Dabrowska, who took the job in 2006. The journal has continued to serve as a very resourceful guide to both members and the rest of the public. Since its inception, it has continuously increased its reputation and prominence in Linguistics globally.

The ICLC was held for the first time in Seoul, Korea, in July 2005. Asia now has a robust membership base in the International Cognitive Linguistics Association. In 2011, the conference was held in Xi’an, China. To date, the ICLA has continued to foster the development of Cognitive Linguistics as a global discipline, while also improving its natural link with Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, and Cognitive Science.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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