Resolution on Guidelines for the Use of Language Analysis in Relation to Questions of National Origin in Refugee Cases

June, 2006

Whereas, The American Association for Applied Linguistics promotes principled approaches to language assessment and language policy and planning,

Whereas, language analysis has been used by a number of governments around the world as part of the process of determining whether asylum seekers’ cases are genuine;

Whereas, language analysis has been criticized on a number of grounds, and some uncertainty has arisen as to its validity;

Whereas, Guidelines for the Use of Language Analysis in Relation to Questions of National Origin in Refugee Cases were developed and finalized (June 2004) by the National Language and Origin Group composed of nineteen linguists (listed at the end of the Guidelines) from six countries (Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States of America) to address this issue

Whereas, for the reasons outlined in the Guidelines, it is advised that language analysis be used with considerable caution in addressing national origin, national identity or citizenship,

Whereas, endorsement of these Guidelines by appropriate professional associations greatly assist in the recognition of these Guidelines by governments and others in deciding whether and to what degree language analysis is reliable in particular cases;

Therefore be it resolved at the general business meeting of the American Association of Applied Linguists, convened on 19th day of June, 2006

  1. That The American Association for Applied Linguistics endorse these Guidelines without change;
  2. That The American Association for Applied Linguistics help to promulgate these Guidelines through its website, relevant publications, and professional meetings; and
  3. That The American Association for Applied Linguistics forward these Guidelines to l’Association internationale de’linguistique apliquee (AILA) to be considered for possible endorsement