2020 Call for Proposals


March 28 - 31, 2020
Denver, Colorado
Call for Proposals

The 2020 conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) will be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Nationally and internationally, the AAAL conference has a reputation as a comprehensive and stimulating conference. Conference participants can look forward to in-depth colloquia, paper, poster, and round-table sessions, as well as topical and thought-provoking plenary presentations, excellent book exhibits, and plentiful opportunities for networking.

Table of Contents

  1. Plenary Speaker and Invited Colloquia Information
  2. Strands
  3. Proposals
    1. Individual Papers
    2. Posters
    3. Roundtable Discussions
    4. Colloquia
    5. AV Equipment
  4. Proposal Format
  5. Evaluation of Proposals
  6. Proposal Policies
  7. Submission Process
  8. Requests for Meeting Spaces
  9. AAAL Travel Policy

AAAL began accepting submissions on June 1, 2019

Submission Deadline: July 17, 2019, 4:00 pm EDT

Acceptance/Denial emails will be sent out the middle of October 2019

You must be logged into the AAAL web site to submit a proposal. Current members, past members, and past guests may login here If you are new to AAAL and would like to submit a proposal without becoming an AAAL member, please click here to create a guest account.

Indigenous Language Scholar Support Fund

Plenary Speaker and Invited Colloquia Information

We have created an exciting program for the 2020 conference, reflecting the wide range of research interests in applied linguistics. Check out the plenary speakers and invited colloquia below: 

Plenary Speakers

Mileidis Gort, University of Colorado Boulder
"Biliterate writing development in early childhood: Insights from young Latinx bilingual children’s explorations of oral and written language"

Alison Mackey, Georgetown University
"Cognitive-Interactionist SLA: Findings, new methods, and the big picture"

Onowa McIver, University of Victoria
Indigenous language revitalization and applied linguistics: Paralleled histories, shared futures? What can we learn from each other?"

Suhanthie Motha, University of Washington
"Is an antiracist and decolonizing applied linguistics possible? Connecting the past to the future"

Deb Roy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Local Voices Network: bringing under-heard community voices, perspectives and stories forward for healthier public dialogue"

Invited Colloquia

"Re-articulations of language, race, and place in transregional settler colonialism"
Organizer: Patricia Baquedano-López, University of California, Berkeley

"Neuroscience of second language acquisition: Opportunities and challenges"
Organizers: Hyeonjeong Jeong, Tohoku University and Ping Li, Pennsylvania State University

"Learning languages with specific learning difficulties in the 21st century: Perspectives of identification, assessment, achievement and teacher education"
Organizer: Judit Kormos, Lancaster University

"Advances in the study of semiotic repertoires: mobilities, modalities, spatialities"
Organizer: Annelies Kusters, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

"Reflect, revisit, reimagine: Conversations on 40 years of ARAL"
Organizers: Meg Malone, Georgetown University and Shondel Nero, New York University

"Braided histories – braided futures of Indigenous language reclamation work:  Retelling ancestral stories – storying new Indigenous linguistic futures"
Organizers: Sheilah E. Nicholas, University of Arizona and Kari A.B. Chew, University of Victoria

"Degrees of difficulty to learn an additional language: the role of typological distinctions and linguistic distances between the languages involved"
Organizers: Job Schepens, Freie University; Frans van der Slik, Radboud University; and R. van Hout, Radboud University

"Construct validity in interpreter testing" (Joint Colloquium with ILTA)
Organizer: Helen Slatyer from the Translation and Interpretation Program at Macquarie University in Sydney


Proposals are welcome in the following topic strands:

New this year: You must select a primary strand for your submission. This is the strand in which your submission will very likely be reviewed and grouped. If applicable, please choose a secondary strand that also characterizes the submission. This will help conference organizers in preparing the conference program and in some instances, balancing size and coherence of strands. You must choose a primary strand; selection of a secondary strand is optional (but recommended).


Proposals are invited for individual papers, colloquia, posters, and roundtable discussions. The deadline for proposal submission is 4:00 p.m. on July 17, 2019 (EDT; UTC-4). If you need to renew your membership or create a guest account, you should do so at least 3 hours before the submissions deadline to allow for changes to take place in the system. Requests relating to membership or guest accounts later than this may mean that you are unable to submit your abstract by the deadline. 

INDIVIDUAL PAPERS: Papers are formal presentations on a contribution of original knowledge by one or more authors within a thirty-minute period, including 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion. Paper presentations will be organized into sessions of 2-3 papers grouped by strand or theme.

There will not be designated session chairs and presenters are responsible for keeping time. When their presentation time comes, presenters must announce their session title, introduce themselves briefly, and start their presentation. All presenters must present their work during their scheduled time. No time changes will be allowed even if the previous presenter is absent or has finished early. Each presenter must make sure that they respect their allocated time in order to allow for the other presenters in the session to set up their equipment and start on time.

POSTERS: Poster presentations are intended for face-to-face discussions of research. Posters are especially effective for information that can be presented visually (e.g. charts, graphs, tables, diagrams). Prospective presenters are encouraged to consider posters, because of the opportunity they provide for extended discussion with other researchers. There will be several poster sessions scheduled, each approximately 1.5 hours in length. Presenters are required to be present at their posters during the coffee breaks scheduled within the session to which they have been allocated. For the rest of the period, presenters may choose to stay at their poster board at their discretion.  The bulletin boards for mounting the posters are normally four feet by eight feet in size. One poster presenter will use the front and another presenter will use the back. 

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS: Roundtable discussions are an opportunity for informal, in-depth discussions between presenters and attendees on a specific topic. They are particularly well suited for works-in-progress and are not meant to be formal paper presentations.  The purpose is not to present on a finished project but rather to address a specific topic in such a way as to engender whole-group discussion.  The advantage of roundtable sessions is that they allow for stimulating conversations and networking opportunities among participants on shared research interests. Presenters are encouraged to prepare handouts or clearly visible laptop PowerPoint slides for key information needed to support the discussion.  

Roundtable discussions will be held in large rooms with several sessions taking place at the same time at different tables. Audience/participants then choose the table/topic of interest to sit at. Each table will be organized by strand or theme. Each presenter will be assigned to a table that seats up to ten attendees. Presenters will be allocated 30 minutes: 10-15 minutes to speak on their topic and 15-20 minutes for group discussion.There will be a time-keeper assigned to each roundtable session.  

COLLOQUIA: Colloquia allow for extended discussion on a particular topic, achieved through the organization of individual presentations (15-20 min in length) that are clearly linked to the colloquium theme and to each other.  A small number of colloquia are invited by the conference chair, but others may be proposed by AAAL members. Proposals for colloquia can be for either a one-hour or two-hour block of time. (Please note the change in colloquium length from previous AAAL conferences.)

Two-hour colloquia: The number of presenters and length of each presentation is left up to discretion of the colloquium organizer, as is the decision to include one or more discussants.  Because the purpose of this format is to foster dialogue among attendees, generous time allowance should be made throughout the colloquium for extended audience discussion of the papers presented. Colloquia proposers should state how time will be allocated across paper presentations, discussant remarks (optional), and audience discussion; this should be done without identifying presenters by name in order to preserve anonymity.

One-hour colloquia: This is a format designed to provide better coherence among the shorter 10-minute paper sessions offered at AAAL in previous years. Conferences in many other academic fields limit presentations of full papers to a maximum of ten minutes, in paper sessions that are thematically linked. This has some advantages: it encourages conciseness and focus and allows more time for discussion than the longer paper presentations. Sessions in this format will consist of three individual ten-minute papers within a one-hour time slot. Each paper is allocated up to two minutes for clarification questions, followed by  20 - 25 minutes of discussion after all three papers have been presented. The thematic linking of the three papers in the session was previously made by the AAAL conference organizing committee. This year, one or more of the authors of the three papers will serve as the colloquium organizer(s). Please note that the one-hour colloquia should not include an additional presenter in a “discussant” role; the discussion is managed by the authors of the three papers and/or colloquia organizer.

Colloquium organizers serve as the liaisons between participants in the colloquium and the AAAL conference program committee and are therefore responsible for all communication among the presenters and discussants.

AV EQUIPMENT: Please note that AV equipment will not be available for Posters or Roundtable Discussions. Presenters may bring handouts or use their laptops if they wish. However, be advised that the computers will have to operate on the battery as there will be no outlets.

Proposal Format

Please note the following word limits for all proposal types, including the colloquia components:

Title: 15 Words
Abstract: 300 Words

Please note that for a colloquium proposal:

  1. The colloquium organizer(s) must provide an overview of the entire colloquium, including title (15 words) and abstract (300 words), as well as information about the format/timing of presentation and discussion as noted above.
  2. Each individual panelist must also provide a title and abstract for their paper in the colloquium.  

Evaluation of Proposals

All proposals are evaluated by a team of reviewers according to each of the following categories:

  • Appropriateness and significance of the topic/issue/problem
  • Expectation of original research
  • Research design if an empirical study, including clearly stated questions, data sources, data collection procedures, and analytic approach
  • Conceptual framework if a conceptual study, including integration of topic into current thinking, clear exposition of treatment of topic and contributions to the literature
  • Manner of presentation (indicative of a clear and well-organized presentation)

Proposals for roundtable sessions will also be evaluated for each of the following categories:

  • Clarity of objectives and intended outcomes of the session
  • Methods planned to engage participants in the discussion

Proposals for colloquia will also be evaluated for each of the following categories:

  • Appropriateness and significance of the topic
  • Presentation of original and on-going research studies OR differing or dissenting perspectives on an important issue
  • Coherence and complementarity of the papers
  • Manner of presentation
    • Two-Hour Colloquia: clearly indicated schedule of activity with significant amounts of time allocated for discussion of the presentations and audience participation)
    • One-Hour Colloquia: i) three clearly indicated separate papers, each with content that lends itself to a 10-minute presentation; ii) a colloquium organizer (who must be one or more of the authors of the individual papers); and iii) a clearly indicated schedule that allows for a minimum of 20 minutes of discussion following the presentation of the three papers

Please note that if colloquia are accepted, the schedule of activity, including the order of presentations, will appear in the conference program as listed in the proposal and must be respected in the actual presentation of papers.

Proposal Policies

Individuals may submit a maximum of one abstract as first author, whether a paper (including papers presented in a colloquium), a poster, or a roundtable session. This means that an individual can only appear once as a first author on the program. First authors are expected to present the research bearing their name, but all authors are encouraged to share in the presentation of co-authored research.

The first author is considered the presenting author and must register for the conference.

An individual may take on an additional role as a colloquium organizer or discussant.  For papers, an individual may also appear as a co-author/co-presenter of another paper, provided they are not first author.

All proposals (for individual papers, posters, roundtable sessions, and colloquia) must represent original and unpublished work that is not yet available to the AAAL membership (with the exception of material from publications in press).

Proposals for all presentation formats will be double-blind peer-reviewed. Please ensure that any reference made to your previous work within the proposal does not include self-reference information that clearly identifies you or one of your co-authors. Avoid, for example, statements such as In a previous study, we (YOURNAME, date)Any proposal that does not respect the blind review format will be rejected.

Individuals who will not be attending the conference are discouraged from submitting proposals. Conference attendees highly value the discussion period with all authors at the conclusion of conference sessions. Presenters who know that they cannot attend the conference are asked to withdraw their proposals as soon as possible to give another presenter a place on the program. If unforeseen circumstances at the last minute dictate that a presenter cannot attend the conference, a substitute will be permitted.

The author’s confirmation of attendance and presentation signifies that the author will present the paper on the day and time assigned by the conference program committee. AAAL will not respond to or consider requests for a specific time slot.

Submission Process

Before submitting a proposal, please read the brief descriptors for each strand, which are available through the Call for Proposals on the AAAL website. Try to submit your proposal to the strand that most closely relates to your main theme. If you are unsure, please ask a colleague, professor, or supervisor who is familiar with AAAL Conference procedures.

Before submitting a proposal, remember to check your membership status (you need to be a member or have a guest account in order to submit your proposal). PLEASE REMEMBER: If you need to renew your membership or create a guest account, you must do so at least 3 hours before the submissions deadline.  Requests relating to membership or guest accounts later than this may mean that you are unable to submit your abstract by the deadline.

Requests for Meeting Spaces

Individuals or groups wishing to use rooms at the conference venue for meetings outside the conference program should make their requests using the Meeting Request Form, which will be automatically submitted to the conference team, no later than 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2019 (EDT; UTC-4).  Such meeting spaces may be required for sessions with journal editors, editorial board meetings, and other networking opportunities. Requests for meetings will be considered within the inevitable constraints of time and space available.

AAAL Travel Policy

As stated in the AAAL Standing Rules: 

Adjudicated conference presentations may not be done solely by telecommunication procedures; at least one co-author must be physically present at the conference.

i. Although in-person participation is prioritized, exception to this policy will be made in certain cases to allow for submission of a voice over PPT and speaker phone for Q&A segment with the session to be managed by a student volunteer. These accommodations may be made in the following circumstances, with supporting documentation of eligibility:

1. Medical circumstance of self or immediate family member which prevents travel
2. Denial or rejection of visa beyond a time frame which reasonably allows for travel accommodations to the conference, at the Conference Chair’s discretion
3. Citizenship of or current residence in a “travel ban” country

For further questions regarding this, please contact info@aaal.org


For questions regarding the academic aspects of the conference, including proposal submission policies, please contact conference@aaal.org.

For questions regarding the practicalities of how to submit a proposal or other technical questions, please contact aaal@confex.com.