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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 Paul Warren
Victoria University of Wellington

In keeping with the congress theme on The Dynamics of Language, this contribution considers recent trends in psycholinguistics that remind us that language and language users are fundamentally evolving and adaptive systems. In particular, I will focus on research that demonstrates that both life-long learning and recent experience shape how we process language. Since social indexicality is an important aspect of this experience, it has been increasingly recognised that our processing systems have to be sensitive to socially stratified variation. As a consequence we have witnessed greater collaboration between psycho- and sociolinguists in the area of variation and language processing. As an example of research in this area I will present some of my own research findings in the production and perception of a particular socially-stratified form of intonation, the high-rising terminal or ‘uptalk’ found in New Zealand English and other varieties. This research demonstrates amongst other things listeners’ sensitivity in their interpretation of intonational form to social characteristics conveyed by the speaker. 

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