ISLE 5 Conference Workshops

2. Varieties of English in the Indo-Pacific—English in Contact (VEIP-EIC)

Sociocultural Motivations of Language Use: Englishes of the Indo-Pacific Region

Kate Burridge (Monash University), Haidee Kruger, Pam Peters (Macquarie University, Australia)


Tuesday 17 July

14:30-14:45  Introduction
14:45-15:15 Pam Peters, Adam Smith, Tobias Bernaisch - The Antipodean Lexicon in Australia and New Zealand
15:15-15:45 Haidee Kruger & Bertus Van Rooy - Democratisation in the South African parliamentary Hansard? A study of change in modal auxiliaries
15:45-16:15 Carolin Biewer & Kate Burridge - Angloversals, varioversals or areoversals? Pronominal systems in Australasia
16:15-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-17:00 Verena Schröter - Degree of contact and subject omission in Asian varieties of English
17:00-17:30 Loy Lising & Tobias Bernaisch - A Study of Attitudes towards Varieties of English in the Philippines
17:30 Closing remarks

All timings are approximate.


In this workshop we are seeking contributions from scholars researching English used in different communities of the Indo-Pacific region, ranging from South Africa, India and Sri Lanka to Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands. Though papers are primarily sought from the network of 24 partners of VEIP-EIC (Varieties of English in the Indo-Pacific—English in Contact), the workshop is also open to pertinent submissions from outside VEIP.

The general workshop theme is the extent to which cultural forces work to shape linguistic developments in the English varieties of this area. The cultural values, beliefs and practices of speakers give rise to many of the linguistic habits of their daily discourse — and so it is that the cultural preoccupations of speakers can work to sculpt the phonological, lexical and grammatical aspects of their language, as well as their patterns of interaction.

The goal of the workshop is to present diverse approaches to the topic. Some contributors will take up theoretical perspectives, using different constructions of the relationship between language and culture, and applying these to their specific region (e.g. the approaches of Hofstede 2001, Enfield 2002; Sharifian 2017). Others will be more practical in nature, seeking real-life applications, as in the design and preparation of teaching materials appropriate to the cultural needs of the community (e.g. Kirkpatrick & Liddicoat 2017).

Presentations may draw on different structural features as a starting point to delve into the cultural dimensions of language use and linguistic development. They may take in different aspects of both the internal ecology (encompassing the language system and all sources of a variety, including possible substrate languages), and also the external ecology (encompassing sociolinguistic, sociocultural and historical aspects of the linguistic setting, and embracing such aspects as social identity, language attitudes, language policies, immigration patterns etc.) (see also Mufwene 2001).

Regions envisaged include: Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji); Micronesia (Palau, Saipan, Kiribati, Guam, Kosrae, Nauru); The Philippines; Hong Kong; Mainland China; Taiwan; Polynesia (Samoa, Cook Islands); India; Sri Lanka; Singapore; South Africa; Uganda; Australia; New Zealand.

Suggested topic areas could include, among others:

  • cultural keywords
  • extraterritorial influences in accent and lexis
  • reflections of cultural differences in grammar
  • pragmatic norms and cultural values
  • language planning and policy
  • educational applications
  • language acquisition in multilingual communities
  • language attitudes.

Workshop contributions will be the standard twenty minutes per presentation plus ten minutes for discussion. As described above, papers will be solicited from VEIP partners; the workshop is also open to outside submissions. Abstracts will be reviewed by convenors and members of the VEIP executive.


Enfield, Nicholas (ed) 2002. Ethnosyntax: Explorations in Grammar and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hofstede, Geert 2001. Culture's Consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA.

Kirkpatrick, Andy, & Liddicoat, Anthony. J. 2017. Language education policy and practice in East and Southeast Asia. Language Teaching, 50(2), 155–188.

Mufwene, Salikoko S. 2001. The Ecology of Language. Cambridge: CUP.

Sharifian, Farzad 2017. Cultural Linguistics: Cultural conceptualisations and language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

VEIP-EIC is a collaborative network between key scholars in English regional linguistics based in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. It was established through endorsement by the Union Academique Internationale (May 2015), and by the Conseil International de la Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines (September 2015).

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This page last modified 22 May, 2018 by Survey Web Administrator.