Winner of Penny McKay Memorial Award 2022

The Penny McKay Memorial Award is jointly offered by the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA), the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) and the Association for Language Testing and  Assessment of Australia and New Zealand (ALTAANZ). This award honours Penny’s contribution to research and development in second/additional language education. We are delighted to announce that we have Dr Denise Angelo be declared the winner (details below).  

Many congratulations to Denise and her supervisor (Professor Jane Simpson, Australian National University) on this outstanding record of achievement.

Winner of Penny McKay Memorial Award 2022

Denise Angelo, awarded her PhD by the Australian National University in 2021 

Thesis Title: 

Countering misrecognition of Indigenous contact languages and their ecologies.


Professor Jane Simpson


This interdisciplinary thesis by publication centres on the phenomenon of misrecognition of contact languages in Australia and its real world ramifications such as the invisibility of First Nations students with these language backgrounds in the classroom. Students’ languages are pivotal to their ability to engage and achieve in classroom learning, so the potential effects of misrecognition are manifold here. At a system level, misrecognition of contact languages means teachers are not supported with relevant advice and students’ language strengths and additional language learning needs are not acknowledged. Despite the considerable presence of the contact language type in the Indigenous language landscape, this thesis shows that across the board there is little that responds to contact languages in systematic or constructive ways. This thesis shows us that we can respond and should do so. The wicked problem of contact language misrecognition is explored through a suite of interdisciplinary studies, harnessing multiple methodologies. The studies deal with policy analysis, language description, socio-linguistics, historical research, classroom education and community co-design. Each study contributes different perspectives on misrecognition and is suggestive of different paths to countering it. Motivating and guiding this research are grounded experiences with First Nations communities’ contact languages ecologies. These encompass a variety of classroom language puzzles, blockages and successes. On the flip side, this thesis finds that recognition of contact languages and their speakers can be fostered in just as many ways as misrecognition occurs. Examples developed and illustrated in this thesis include the Indigenous Language Ecology framework for policy makers and professional services deliverers such as educators. Another tool is the Community Vernacular Language Posters which focuses on fostering community and classroom language awareness. These have also proven a rich source of language and historical data for describing hitherto unrecognised contact languages.

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MAK Halliday Prize 2022 Announced

MAK Halliday Prize for Outstanding Research in Applied Linguistics: This award recipient Dr Carly Steele (Curtin University) has now been announced. The prize is awarded to an Early Career Researcher (post-PhD) with the best peer-reviewed journal article or book chapter published in 2022 with a focus on “making linguistics applied”.

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ALAA 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Three Minute Thesis!

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Welcome to ALANZ-ALAA-ALTAANZ 2022 Conference

ALANZ-ALAA-ALTAANZ 2022 Conference will be held at Rutherford House in central Wellington City, New Zealand

Dates: 25-27 November, 2022

We will be bringing an exciting programme of applied linguists from New Zealand, Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, and (we hope) the rest of the world, here in what’s been christened the coolest little capital city in the world. Explore the website, register early, and start making plans to join us in November 2022.

Prof John Macalister, Convenor

This year's theme: Applied linguistics in the Asia-Pacific region 

Website: https://www.alanz2021.co.nz/

Call for Papers Opening Soon! 

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Winner of Penny McKay Memorial Award 2021

The Penny McKay Memorial Award is jointly offered by the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA), the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) and the Association for Language Testing and  Assessment of Australia and New Zealand (ALTAANZ). This award honours Penny’s contribution to research and development in second/additional language education. We are delighted to announce that we have Bonita Cablies be declared the winner (details below).  

Many congratulations to Bonita and her supervisors (Associate Professor Russell Cross and Associate Professor Jessica Gerrard, The University of Melbourne) on this outstanding record of achievement.

Winner of Penny McKay Memorial Award 2021

Bonita Cabiles, awarded her PhD by The University of Melbourne on 30 April 2021 

Thesis Title: 

Participation and cultural and linguistic diversity: An in-depth qualitative inquiry of an Australian primary classroom


Associate Professor Russell Cross, 
Associate Professor Jessica Gerrard


Educating for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) learners emerged as a policy ‘problem’ that gained attention from the 1970s to the 1990s through Australian multicultural education discourse, but since then has been marked by policy decline and instability (Harris, 1995; Jakubowicz & Ho, 2014). Researching this anew, this study explored how the problem of participation can be understood in the context of CALD learners. Participation remains an eminent yet ambiguous ‘buzzword’ in the field of education (Black, 2011; Thomas, Whybrow, & Scharber, 2012). 

This study contributes to the discussion of participation by offering a conceptual framework to understand the practice of participation in the context of CALD learners. In deploying this conceptual framework, this research engages with Bourdieusian conceptual tools: field, capital, and habitus—as heuristic devices to critically explore participation as a social phenomenon occurring in a CALD learning context. This study asks: How is participation understood, practiced, and experienced in the context of a CALD primary classroom?

To critically explore the practice of participation in the context of CALD learners, this study undertook an in-depth qualitative inquiry of an Australian primary classroom. The class, referred to as Class 5/6k, was a highly diverse student cohort, culturally and linguistically, located in a major metropolitan city. The study found that many of the teachers’ taken-for-granted assumptions and practices about teaching CALD learners were constraining the students’ participation. This study also found that building social relationships was inherently challenging in a CALD classroom context. In foregrounding the subjective experiences of CALD learners, a key finding of this study has been the diverse and complex interests, needs, and capabilities of a highly diverse student cohort.

The primary contribution of this study is the articulation of a conceptual framework for understanding participation in the context of CALD learners. This is referred to as ‘the teaching triad of participation’ consisting of ‘positionality,’ ‘resourcing,’ and ‘sociality’. As illuminated through the empirical research, these constructs in the teaching triad function in a relational and dynamic manner. Thus, the study encourages continued exploration of teaching practices that can work towards empowering increasingly diverse learners in the classroom through a holistic approach that considers the three constructs in the teaching triad. Finally, this study also encourages reflecting on possibilities for future research including further exploration of the affective dimension of participation and an examination of how issues of race and gender intersect with cultural and linguistic diversity.

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ALAA 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Three Minute Thesis!

1st ($500): Bosheng Jing (UNSW). Long-term impacts of a Personalised English Language Enhancement (PELE) Cour

2nd ($200): Putri Gayatri (Newcastle). Blended Learning Model for EFL Teaching in Indonesian Higher Education

3rd (200): Van Tuyen Nguyen (Newcastle). An Exploration of Developing ICT-related Pedagogical Strategies in the Professional Development of EFL Teachers in Vietnam

For more information about the ALAA 3MT competition, see here

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Penny McKay Memorial Award - Applications now open!

The Penny McKay Memorial Award honours Penny’s contribution to research and development in second/additional language education. As a teacher, consultant, researcher, keynote speaker and professional activist, Penny McKay was a leader in language education in Australia and internationally. The Award is made annually for a doctoral thesis submitted at an Australian university in the preceding academic year.

Further information, including award criteria and the 2021 application form can be found here.

Please submit your application by November 1, 2021


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Christopher N. Candlin Memorial Lecture 23 November, 2020 - Registration open!

Presented by ALAA Distinguished Scholar and Service Award recipient

Professor Emeritus Joe Lo Bianco

This lecture will be scheduled in two parts:

  1. Pre-recorded lecture, available one week prior to the online forum
  2. Online Q&A forum, 23 November, 4.30-5.30pm (AEDT)

What kind of political activity is applied linguistics? 

What kind of political community are applied linguists?

What are the language problems we aim to solve?


Click on the following Eventbrite link to register:


Following your registration, and closer to the date, links to the pre-recorded lecture and online forum will be sent to registrants.


Please note that the online forum will be followed by the ALAA AGM, 5.30-6.00pm (AEDT). Participants are welcome to remain or leave at this point.

This is a free event and we encourage you to distribute this information to interested colleagues and post-graduate students.

Contact: Michelle.Kohler@unisa.edu.au



In the Christopher N. Candlin Memorial Lecture for 2020 I want to interrogate an advanced version of an old idea about the relation of knowledge and power.  I will probe who are we, as applied linguists, what is our claim to influence language teaching, language testing, or language policy, and what are the problems we aim to solve.  What power and status do we expect what we know, our technical expertise, to have in the polity of which we are part, the community of public life?  What are the language problems we are trying to understand and, dare I say it, solve?  Whether in political practice or political theory, just like in academic research and teaching, we encounter the dilemma of describing the world and wanting to intervene to change it. For applied linguists, in common with other academics, wanting to apply the knowledge we generate to social improvement raises the question of what kind of a 'political community' we are, and what claim we make for the knowledge we produce

In 1988 I was asked by Chris Candlin and Tim McNamara to contribute a chapter to a Festschrift they were editing in honour of the career of Terry Quinn, who had recently retired due to ill health.  My chapter was entitled Science or Values: the Role of Professionals in Language Policymaking, and appeared in their book titled Language, Learning and Community, (NCELTR, Macquarie University, 1989).  In the chapter I explored a concept some policy analysts identified as the 'technical-political' dichotomy, in which they imagined that the contours and content of knowledge were shaped by its ultimate destination aligned along a continuum from political purposes at one extreme and technical scholarly purposes at another.  I want to re-inform and re-frame key arguments of this understanding of knowledge focused more on who applied linguists are, and what the knowledge of applied linguistics is and does.  In doing this I will reactivate the dormant but critically important, issue of what is a language problem. 

The distinction between action and knowledge, power and information, is as old as antique philosophy.  This distinction isn’t an abstract rumination as posed by political philosopher Hannah Arendt in her 1958 meditation on the human condition.  In the wake of the horrors of war and hatred, she asked intellectuals to strive for a vita activa in preference to the socially disengaged vita contemplativa.  In each generation we frame the challenge of knowledge and action, and the problems these are directed towards understanding, in a new way, but always carrying similar elements. The dichotomy may be forced, or even extreme, but can we deny there is tension between the functions of knowledge for and in policy and politics, on the one hand, and in academic, scholarly or educational settings, on the other?   In language planning research and theory this issue, like the related but even more problematic idea of language problems, is a sleeper.  Scholars might deny the utility, robustness or validity, or even the very existence of 'language problems', but in policy and political settings some notion of language problems motivates most of the activity and the justification for paying any attention to language at all

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ALAA Three-minute thesis 2020 finals

Click here to register: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/alaa-3-minute-thesis-competition-tickets-124354681199

When: Thursday 15th October at 4pm (AEDT)

Where: Online via Zoom - details to be provided after registration

Finalists' preview videos now available online



Please note: This event is open to members and non-members. Feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues and students.  


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Vale Prof. Farzad Sharifian

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Professor Farzad Sharifian has passed away. Farzad was familiar to the ALAA community personally, as President (2014-2016) and as a pioneer in the field of Cultural Linguistics. His loss will be deeply felt. We include below a tribute to Farzad provided by Kate Burridge.


Farzad is considered internationally as the founder of the field of Cultural Linguistics. His publications have had an outstanding impact in the field with significant implications for many discipline areas including English language teaching, World Englishes, and intercultural communication.


International recognition of Farzad’s authority in the field is reflected in, for example, the fact that he was the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Language and Culture (John Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam/Philadelphia); the Editor of The Routledge Handbook of Language and Culture (Taylor and Francis); the Editor of the book series Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts(John Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam/Philadelphia); Series Editor of the Cultural Linguistics book series (Springer); the Series Editor of Routledge Advances in Teaching English as an International Language (New York London).

He has authored / edited eight books and published well over 70 journal articles and chapters. His monograph entitled Cultural Conceptualisations and Language (John Benjamins, 2011) was described by Professor Frank (Iowa University) as a book that “develops an exciting and highly innovative theoretical model that is long overdue” and “a pioneering work in many senses”. His most recent (2017) book Cultural Linguistics, (John Benjamins) was described by Kim Ebensgaard (University of Copenhagen) as “incredibly relevant to any researcher, teacher, or student with an interest in language and culture”. Farzad’s books on Cultural Linguistics have been translated into a number of languages, including Persian, Russian and Vietnamese.

Farzad was the recipient of multiple awards for his research and leadership including: President, Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) (2014-2016); Board of Directors, International Association for World Englishes (2013-2015); Supervisor of the Year (Dean’s Award for Excellence in Higher Degree by Research Supervision), Faculty of Arts, Monash University (2013); Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany (2012); Dean’s Award for Excellence in Early Career Research, Faculty of Arts, Monash University (2008); Award for Excellence in Early Career Research, Faculty of Arts, Monash University (Special Commendation; 2007); Australian Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Australian Research Council (2003); Dean’s Prize for Outstanding Research, Edith Cowan University, and also the Edith Cowan University’s Research Medal (2003).

Finally, Farzad’s contribution to the academic life of HDR students has not just been limited to outstanding quality of supervision. Farzad established the Michael Clyne Prize for Outstanding HDR Research in the area of Language and Society within LCL, by securing funding from several sources. And as a remarkable gesture of generosity and care for HDR students, Farzad set up The Farzad Sharifian Scholarship through a gift to Monash. A piece written for the Monash news and events website captured his dedication to students: 

"Arriving in Australia in 1998 with just $2000 in his pocket – the proceeds of selling his car in Iran – Professor Farzad Sharifian, Director of the Language and Society Centre knows first-hand the trials and tribulations that face our international students. He also understands the life-changing impact that a PhD scholarship can make."





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ALAA is committed to engaging in public debate and policy initiatives on a broad range of language-related issues that affect individuals, communities, and society. As such, we are regularly involved in preparing submissions and public statements, contributing to public events and media engagements.

Previous submissions are available to members via the member portal.

For further information about our advocacy work, please contact the President, ALAA.

Keep up to date through ALAA for developments in teaching, learning, research and advocacy in Applied Linguistics.