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News & Press: AAALetter

From the 2019 Conference Chair

Wednesday, April 25, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Collins
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After the stimulating and successful event in Chicago, organized by Linda Harklau and her team, it is now time to start looking ahead to our next AAAL conference.  We will be in Atlanta, Georgia from March 9 – 12, 2019, at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.  We were last at this venue in 2010 when Heidi Byrnes was the Conference Chair.

If AAAL 2019 will be your first visit to Atlanta, you may want to consult this article to get a taste for some of what the city has to offer. However, you will be kept very busy with the range of conference sessions and events we are planning for you! In addition, you can also enjoy as many as three conferences in a single trip, as Atlanta will also be the site for the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) conference, just before AAAL (March 4 – 8), as well as for the TESOL International Conference immediately following AAAL (March 12 – 19).

At the Annual Business Meeting in Chicago I had said that I would share with the membership a little of the background that goes into planning the plenary/invited colloquia slate for a AAAL conference.  One key component is the assembly of a conference organizing committee.  I am privileged to have the expertise of colleagues Walcir Cardoso at Concordia University and Mela Sarkar at McGill University, and three Concordia University graduate student team members.  They are Associate Chair June Ruivivar, Clinton Hendry, and Lauren Strachan.  The team represents a broad range of research interests and methodologies, languages and cultures.  Collectively we speak/know/work in 13 different languages (Bengali, Bicolano, English, Esperanto, French, Mandarin, Mi-gmaq, Picard, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Tagalog).  In putting together the conference program for 2019 we have drawn upon this diversity.  We also worked with the AAAL executive to create an excel sheet that summarizes the complete conference content back until 1999.  This informed our choice of topics and invited speakers - and further allowed us to verify that our slate of plenary speakers and invited colloquia organizers had not previously served in their respective roles.  Indeed, some of our invited speakers have never presented at AAAL in any capacity.

You can look forward to plenary talks by Nick Ellis on implicit and explicit learning, Lenore Grenoble on language vitality and sustainability, Emma Marsden on open science initiative and applied linguistics, Iñaki Zabaleta on minority language media, and a joint plenary by Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada on collaborative relationships in classroom second language acquisition.  Also featured at the conference will be five invited colloquia on the latest innovative research on the applications of natural language processing tools (Scott Crossley); sociomaterial assemblages among school-aged multilinguals (Diane Dagenais); the assessment of lingua franca competence (Luke Harding); fandom and literacy development (Shannon Sauro); and the insights provided from taking different theoretical perspectives on the same language learning context (Paul Toth).  Other special events, some involving the local community in Atlanta (including Georgia State University, located just a few blocks from the conference hotel), others targetting the graduate student membership of the association are also being planned.  Watch the AAAL website and the upcoming issues of the newsletter for more information as plans develop!

The Call for Proposals is on the AAAL website, with proposal submissions opening on June 1, 2018 and closing on Wednesday, August 20, 2018 at 4pm (US Eastern Daylight Time).  Please note that the length of colloquia and the format of the 10-minute papers have changed - details can be found on the Call for Proposals.  We are also revising some of the strand descriptions, which will be posted soon. If you have any questions please contact us at

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Linda Harklau and her team for sharing their time and expertise with us as they planned for Chicago 2018. This included meeting with the Atlanta 2019 team during this year's conference to ensure a smooth passing of the baton. We will now do our best to hold onto it as we sprint towards the next AAAL destination. See you in Atlanta in March 2019!

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