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A warm welcome to the website of ICL 20, the 20th International Congress of Linguists. The congress is to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre between the 2nd to the 6th of July 2018. The hosts are CIPL (Comité International Permanent des Linguistes), the LSSA (Linguistics Society of Southern Africa) and UCT (the University of Cape Town). Our partner organisations are given below. Please follow the links to find out more about these dynamic organisations.

The Congress is held every five years, and is meant to showcase current developments in Linguistics. The Congress will run over five days, have a plenary panel on linguistics in South Africa, nine plenary speakers covering a range of major sub-fields, 10 paper sessions each with its own focus speaker, up to 30 workshops, and several poster sessions. While speakers and topics are drawn from a wide international pool, ICL 20 will take the additional opportunity of showcasing African language research. It will also cover applied linguistic areas of research of vital importance to the African continent and the 21st century at large, with a special extended session on Multilingualism, Education, Policy and Development.

Please take a look at the pages on our Scientific Committee, our invited plenary speakers, session topics and call for workshop proposals and abstracts. If you haven’t visited Cape Town before, please also have a look at some of the images of a beautiful and diverse city. We look forward to welcoming you at the tip of Africa in July 2018.

Prof. Rajend Mesthrie

President ICL 20.
June 2016.

In conjunction with Prof. D. Bradley. President CIPL

Hosts & Supporting/Partner Associations


Comité International Permanent des Linguistes / Permanent International Committee of Linguists

Linguistics Society of Southern Africa

Southern African Applied Linguistics Association

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University of Cape Town
African Language Association of Southern Africa

South African Association for ​Language Teaching


Registration NOW OPEN!
27 June 2018 Online Registration Closes


Water situation in Cape Town
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2 - 6 July 2018


Prof. Alamin Mazrui and Kimani Njogu

This presentation explores some of the dialectics of the interplay between language, education, and political economy in Africa within the wider context of global inequalities and imbalances of power. It theory, it departs from the premise that language policies in education do not develop nor do they exist in isolation from the politico-economic forces at play in the societies in which they are pursued. Although African nations demonstrate a range of divergent policies and practices that have been shaped by different conjunctures of local realities, most have tended to manifest common patterns of dependency that have continued to influence both the direction and socio-economic consequences of education, due in part to processes of a global nature – from Francophonie to World Bank conditionalities, from neoliberal competition to the new dynamics of nationalist politics in the world. Drawing on a wide range of language instructional experiences and orientations in the African classroom, the presentation will seek to provide an analysis of language policy as a politico-economic construct in historical space, and an outline of potential alternative strategies for the linguistic “dehegemonization” of African education.


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