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Coming up… live-streamed presentations on language ideology and corpus linguistics

9 December, 2019

This week, our co-director Nick Palfreyman is presenting on language ideology at the University of Jyväskylä (Monday) and on corpus linguistics at Lancaster University (Thursday) – both presentations will be live-streamed, and details of how to find these events can be found below!

Language on a pedestal: Ideological valorisation of language and its effects

This roundtable seminar, which takes place on Monday 9 December 12:15-13:45 (UK time), brings together researchers from across Europe to discuss ideological valorisation of language in a range of contexts. Languages covered include Dutch, English, Welsh, and Indonesian Sign Language. Nick will present alongside Elizabeth Peterson, Dave Sayers and Stefan Grondelaers.

To register and receive livestreaming details, fill in the very short form on the seminar webpage. Nick’s presentation will be in BSL with interpretation into English and Finnish Sign Language.

Here’s the URL for the live stream:

On that page you should be prompted to enter a ‘path key’. It is: language733


Nick standing on frozen Lake Jyväsjärvi, Jyväskylä, last January

Weird and non-WEIRD: Introducing the Corpus of Indonesian Sign Language (BISINDO)

On Thursday 12 December 15:00-16:00 UK time, Nick will present at the UCREL Corpus Research Seminar series. The abstract for his presentation can be found here, and explains what WEIRD refers to. If you want to know why the BISINDO Corpus is ‘weird’, you will have to tune in to the presentation, which will hopefully be live-streamed (details will also be posted in an update here).

Come and join us at Sign10! The CfP is now open

6 November, 2019


We are delighted to share the news that the Call for Papers for SIGN10, the tenth in our SIGN conference series, is now open!

SIGN10 – which is to be hosted by Prof. Onno Crasborn and his team at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands – takes place on 17-18 August 2020, with a Summer School (10-14 August) and pre-conference workshop (16 August).

The three invited presenters are: Lynn (Lina) Hou (University of California, Santa Barbara), Kangsuk Byun (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and Martje de Meulder (University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht).

The local co-ordinating team has launched a website with lots of useful details about the conference:

Here are two key dates for your diary:

1 January 2020: deadline for submitting abstracts

17 February 2020: notification of acceptance

If you have any questions about the conference, don’t hesitate to contact the team at


Nijmegen, in the Netherlands (more details about the city at!)


Presentations by our PhD student

18 September, 2019

Our PhD student Eilidh Rose McEwan presented her work on the agency of deaf learners at several events this summer. She delivered a presentation at a ‘PhD Masterclass’ hosted by the Development Studies Association in Milton Keynes on 19 June. She was grateful for a grant of £300 which was provided for this by UCLan’s Institute for Citizenship, Society and Change. She also presented her project in July at the 6th International Postgraduate Conference on Modern Foreign Languages, Linguistics and Literature at UCLan, and in August at a conference hosted by the European Sociological Association in Manchester, where her talk was about the agency of deaf Indian learners of English specifically.


Eilidh presents her PhD work on the agency of deaf learners in July at UCLan’s 6th International Postgraduate Conference on Modern Foreign Languages Linguistics and Literature


SIGN10 announcement: Join us on 16-18 August 2020 in the Netherlands

9 August, 2019

We are delighted to announce that SIGN10, the next event in the series of international conferences of sign language users, will take place at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, in August 2020. We look forward to working with our SIGN10 partners at Radboud University on the further steps.

The dates are as follows:

16 August 2020          Pre-conference workshop

17-18 August 2020     SIGN10 conference

This time the local organising team are also planning to host a SIGN10 Summer School on 19-23 August. The Radboud University link to events is here.

Spread the word and look out for more information soon!


iSLanDS celebrates the graduation of PhD student Rita Huhua Fan!

23 July, 2019

iSLanDS PhD student Rita Huhua Fan has celebrated her graduation at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre (Wednesday 17 July).

Rita’s innovative research was linked to our deaf literacy project in India, and her thesis is titled: ‘An e-learning ecosystem for Deaf young adult learners’ English literacy attainment’. She was supervised by Ulrike Zeshan, Nick Palfreyman and Daniel Waller (Head of UCLan’s School of Language and Global Studies).

Rita UZ graduation shorter

Dr. Huhua Fan (Rita) is joined by two of her supervisors, Ulrike Zeshan and Nick Palfreyman.

We asked Rita to share her impressions with us on this momentuous occasion. She said: “It has been a great pleasure to attend my graduation ceremony at UCLan today – a real once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

“I’m grateful for the companionship of my supervisors and friends at this rewarding and special moment, as they have been extremely supportive during my PhD journey. I’ve also enjoyed catching up with former colleagues at iSLanDS: I’m proud of what they have achieved in the field of Deaf education and sign language research.”

She continued: “iSLanDS remains a leading institute for innovative research, and I am deeply honoured to study with this outstanding team.”

iSLanDS staff adapted

Staff and friends of the iSLanDS Institute celebrate with Rita!

All of the staff at iSLanDS would like to take this opportunity to wish Rita the very best – she has been working at UNESCO for two years, and we are sure she will continue to have an interesting and fruitful career!

Our symposium explores sociolinguistic variation in the Asia-Pacific region

22 July, 2019

How do the signed and spoken languages of the Asia-Pacific region compare in terms of sociolinguistic variation? This was one of the central questions addressed by our Symposium, held on 12-13 July 2019 at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The Symposium, which was possible thanks to support from the Leverhulme Trust and UCLan, attracted around 30 participants from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Germany, Austria, Australia and New Zealand, among others.

Symposium 3

Some of the Symposium’s participants on the afternoon of 13 July.

The opening keynote presenter, Professor Rachel McKee (Victoria University of Wellington), was able to attend thanks to Distinguished Collaborator funding provided by UCLan. She shared research on motivation and innovation in indexing Māori identity in New Zealand Sign Language.

Symposium 1

Distinguished Collaborator Professor Rachel McKee gives the opening presentation.

Sign languages discussed on the first day include the village sign language Kata Kolok (Katie Mudd, Hannah Lutzenberger), Culture Sign in Papua New Guinea (Lauren Reed), Hong Kong Sign Language (Linghui Eva Gan), Indian Sign Language (Ulrike Zeshan) and Indonesian Sign Language (Nick Palfreyman). For spoken languages, Yoshiyuki Asahi examined variation in Japanese, and Hae Sung Jeon looked at phonological changes in Korean.

Symposium 5

Symposium organiser Nick Palfreyman with Rachel McKee and Susanne Maria Michaelis.

Our second keynote presenter, Susanne Maria Michaelis (University of Leipzig), opened day two by discussing variation across Asian and Pacific creoles. Other presenters explored Japanese Sign Language (Keiko Sagara), Chinese Sign Language (Junhui Yang) and Tibetan Sign Language (Theresia Hofer), while Ralf Vollmann presented findings on a multilingual environment in Malaysia, and Phoebe Tay looked at the deaf community in Singapore.


Sociolinguist Dr. Adam Schembri offers reflections on the state of the art.

The Symposium, which was also livestreamed, was brought to a close with insightful reflections by Adam Schembri (University of Birmingham), who reminded us, among other things, that there is no language that is not social.

Symposium 2

Presenters at the conference dinner prove that language is indeed social!

Symposium organiser, Nick Palfreyman, said “I would like to say a big thank you to all who have taken part in the Symposium, especially the presenters and our fantastic supporting team (Danielle, Davide, Deborah, Eilidh, Phil and Priscila).

“Together, we have explored some of the fascinating sociolinguistic diversity of the Asia-Pacific region, and all participants contributed to the wider dialogue that is emerging between spoken and signed language sociolinguists.

“Participants expressed a desire to take this dialogue further, and we look forward to building on the links that we have made on future occasions.

“In the meantime, readers might like to check out some of the live reports on twitter, using #SocVarAP .”

Symposium promotion

Follow our Symposium using livestream!

11 July, 2019

Our Symposium on Sociolinguistic Variation in the Signed and Spoken Languages of the Asia-Pacific region took place on 12-13 July 2019 (#SocVarAP), and this page contained details of how to access the livestream. The final programme is still available here for those who are interested, and the book of abstracts is here.

The languages of the livestream were the same as those of the conference – British Sign Language (BSL) and English. Updates are still available on twitter using #SocVarAP.