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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


Professor Elizabeth Lanza
University of Oslo

Recent approaches to the study of multilingualism address different stages of the lifespan: children, youth, adults and the elderly, and also issues that are relevant across the lifespan such as acquisition, attrition, linguistic practices, and language transmission and socialization. Psycholinguistic and more cognitively oriented approaches to the study of multilingualism have specifically addressed the lifespan perspective by studying language competence across various age groups, although a societal perspective often is generally missing. Sociolinguistic and anthropologically oriented approaches to multilingualism, on the other hand, generally do not deal with linguistic practices across the lifespan, although time scales have received more attention in sociolinguistic research. This paper will address multilingualism across the lifespan, focusing on the multilingual individual, social interaction and social practices in multilingual contexts, as well as the management of multilingualism, taking into account the various stages of the lifespan. A focus will be on recent developments concerning language acquisition, and language transmission and socialization. I will present an overview of each field, addressing developments in the respective fields from a lifespan perspective and will highlight how both psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic approaches can contribute to a better understanding of multilingualism.

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