History of IAWE Inc.
The Roots of IAWE
The roots of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE) can be traced back to conferences held in 1978 which raised issues based on the rapidly increasing numbers of non-mother tongue users of English. These conferences provided the impetus for a more realistic approach and a new framework for looking at English in global contexts. They proposed concepts such as appropriateness, intelligibility, comprehensibility, and interpretability as pragmatic factors that determine the uses of English as an international and intra-national language. In May of 1992 the IAWE was created with the aim of establishing links among those who are involved with any aspect of world Englishes.
Conceptualizations of World Englishes
The conceptualization of world Englishes within a sociolinguistic framework actually goes back to the early 1960s (Kachru 1965) and mid 70s (Smith 1976). However, organized efforts in discussing the concept of world Englishes and its formal and functional implications were not initiated until 1978. It was during that year, just three months apart, that the international and intranational functions of English became the focus of two independently organized international conferences.
The first conference was organized by Larry E. Smith April (1-15) at the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA to probe issues opened up in Smith (1976). The second was organized by Braj B. Kachru (June 30-July 2), at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, USA. These conferences had considerable conceptual similarities and shared several participants. The conferences resulted in two publications, Smith (ed. 1981) and Kachru (ed. 1982, 2nd edition, 1992).
At the end of the conference in Honolulu, the participants signed a statement and an agenda for the future which articulated their views. In that conference, as Kachru and Quirk observe: "There were almost as many varieties of English--native and non-native, Western and non-Western--as there were participants, including voices from Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, the Philippines, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and the USA. Numerous cultural, lingustic, ideological and other differences could be found among the participants, but they all had this one thing in common: all of them used the English language to debate, discuss, and argue questions which concern both native and non-native users of English, as well as global uses of English in various sociolinguistic contexts in different parts of the world." (Smith ed. 1981:xiii)
The conference in Urbana "broke the traditional pattern of such deliberations: no inconvenient question was swept under the rug. The professionals, both linguists and literary scholars, and native and non-native users of English, had frank and stimulating discussions. The English-using community in various continents was for the first time viewed in its totality. A number of cross-cultural perspectives were brought to bear upon our understanding of English in a global context, of language variation, of language acquisition, and of the bilinguals' - or a multilinguals' - use of English." (Kachru ed. 1982: xiii-xiv)
At these conferences the questions discussed included: the sociolinguistic and political contexts of the countries where English is used as a non-native language; the factors which determine the retention of English after the end of the colonial period; the sociolinguistic and linguistic profile of each variety, particularly with reference to their range of functions and depth of societal penetration; and the linguistic and other processes of nativization and acculturation.
The Honolulu Conference Position Paper
The Honolulu conference resulted in the following statement on behalf of the participants (Kachru and Quirk 1981:xvii-xvix):
The statement asks for more than a shift in emphasis; it seeks a new direction consistent with the identities and functions of world Englishes.
During the past decades, special colloquia were organized as part of the annual International TESOL, and once with IATEFL in Belgium, and twice with the Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT 1986 and 1987, see Lowenberg ed. 1988.)
In 1986 (August 6-13), yet another conference, "Language and Power: cross-cultural dimensions of English in media and literature, was organized " at the East-West Center in Honolulu. This conference was more specific and its aims were:
A variety of theoretical and applied research areas were identified and discussed with special reference to what are termed the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle of world Englishes. These included:
(Kachru and Smith eds. 1986: 117)
IAWE Formally Launched
At the 1988 International TESOL convention in Chicago, the Interim Committee, which organized the 1986 conference in Honolulu, met and formed the International Committee for the Study of World Englishes (ICWE). One charge of ICWE was to establish a network of interested scholars working on various aspects of world Englishes. In 1992 (April 2-4), the ICWE met at the University of Illinois at Urbana, as co-sponsor of a conference of "World Englishes Today." At this Conference the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE) was formally launched.
Kachru, Braj B. (1965) The Indianness in Indian English. Word, 21, 391-410.
Kachru, Braj B.. ed. (1982) The other tongue: English across cultures. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. pp. 301-326.
Kachru, Braj B. and Larry E. Smith. eds. (1986) The power of English: cross-cultural dimensions literature and media. Special issue of World Englishes, 5: 2-3.
Lowenberg. P. ed. (1988) Language spread and language policy: issues, implications and case studies. (GURT 1987). Washington DC: Georgetown Univerrsity Press.
Smith, Larry E. (1976) English as an international auxiliary language, RELC Journal, 1976, 7 (2). Also in Readings in English as an International Language (ed. by L. Smith, 1983) pp.1-6.
Smith, Larry E. ed. (1981) English for cross-cultural communication. London: Macmillan.
Past Presidents of IAWE
Larry E. Smith 1993-1996
Braj B. Kachru 1997-1998
Anne Pakir 1999-2000
Ayo Bamgbose 2001-2002
Kingsley Bolton 2003-2004
Margie Berns 2005-2006
Bertus Van Rooy 2007-2008
Daniel R. Davis 2009-2010
Zoya G. Proshina 2011-2012
Suzanne Hilgendorf 2013-2014
A Cultural Warrior Rests His Case
Nanyang Technological University
Tej K. Bhatia
Syracuse, NY USA
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY USA
Cecil L. Nelson
Indiana State University
Immediate Past President
Terre Haute, IN USA
Arizona State University
Secretary/Treasurer (Any questions about membership should be addressed to her)
Tempe, AZ USA
Urbana, IL USA
Kamal (Meena) Sridhar
Stony Brook, NY USA
Daniel R. Davis
University of Michigan-Dearborn
(Editor of World Englishes)
Dearborn, MI USA