ICAAL 7 Business Meeting


University of Kiel, October 1, 2017, 2:30 pm

Meeting chair: Paul Sidwell

Minutes: Tobias Weber

Attendees: 23

1. Taking stock of ICAAL7

- The attendees acknowledge the successful organization by John Peterson

- There is general agreement that the number of participants (around 25–30) and the time format (45 minute slots, consisting of 30 minutes for presentation and 15 minutes for discussion) was successful

- Constant availability of coffee/cookies and choice of restaurants is also appreciated

- On the negative side, costs and time to reach Kiel are mentioned; however, this was already known when Kiel was chosen as the conference venue

2. Continuity group

- At ICAAL5 (ANU, Canberra, 2013) an ICAAL committee was formed; however, its mission was not clear and therefore it did not work out

- Paul Sidwell mentions that some people favor a formal organization

- John Peterson suggests that members of the committee should be given specific jobs (secretary, president etc.); Paul Sidwell agrees but mentions that this was rejected by some people at the ICAAL5 business meeting

- Roger Blench mentions that the committee list established at ICAAL5 is not up-to-date

- Paul Sidwell proposes the establishment of a CONTINUITY GROUP ensuring the continuity of the ICAAL meetings and taking care of the webpage; this proposal is accepted

- Paul Sidwell argues that the continuity group should only consist of people who are actively involved and who will ensure the organization of the meetings

- Roger Blench suggests that the organizer(s) of the next meeting should also be in the continuity group; Paul Sidwell counters that this is not necessary to ensure the continuity of the meetings; the meeting favours Paul's view.

- Nicole Kruspe is happy to be listed on the continuity group, as are Mathias Jenny, Paul Sidwell, and Felix Rau

- Bikram Jora nominates John Peterson as member of the continuity group, Paul Sidwell nominates Tobias Weber as secretary; both nominations are accepted by the attendees

- Mathias Jenny agrees to take care of the webpage; Paul Sidwell is secondarily responsible

- Thus, the following people are elected to form the continuity group:

- Mathias Jenny (mathias.jenny [AT] uzh.ch): webmaster

- Nicole Kruspe (nicolekruspe [AT] gmail.com)

- John Peterson (jpeterson [AT] isfas.uni-kiel.de)

- Felix Rau (felix.rau [AT] gmail.com)

- Paul Sidwell (paulsidwell [AT] gmail.com): chair

- Tobias Weber (tweber [AT] isfas.uni-kiel.de): secretary

- The main purpose of the continuity group is to guarantee consistence and to facilitate and assist in the local organization of ICAAL meetings; furthermore, the continuity group is responsible for the abstract reviewing process

- Hiram Ring remarks that the AA family is well represented in the continuity group (reflecting Munda and SEAsian specialists, and individuals from various continents)

3. Webpage

- John Peterson admonishes that communication channels should be clear

- Roger Blench suggests that people of previous meetings should be contacted, i.e. email addresses should be made available to the meeting organizers

- Paul Sidwell mentions that Doug Cooper created the icaal.org webpage; however, it is not up-to-date

- The ICAAL projects site (sites.google.com/site/icaalprojects/, originally set up by Mathias Jenny for the AA Handbook) is maintained and has so far served as an informal ICAAL site

- Mathias Jenny suggests that it would be better to have only one webpage which is up-to-date

- The attendees agree that the ICAAL projects site should become the only ICAAL site

- Paul Sidwell will inform Doug Cooper of this decision

4. Venue of the next ICAAL meeting

- Paul Sidwell reminds attendees of the discussion at the ICAAL6 business meeting in Siem Reap about the frequency and venue of the meetings; it was decided that the meetings should be held alternatingly in the AA speaking area and on other continents every 2–3 years; Paul Sidwell and other attendees favor every 2 years

- The following institutions are willing to hold the next meeting:

- University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City

- Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore

- Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute, Pune

- Gauhati University, Guwahati

- North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong

- University of Dhaka

- Unfortunately the South Asian bids are not very concrete

- Paul Sidwell favors a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City with its good infrastructure; furthermore, the potential local organizer, Đinh Lư Giang, has experience in organizing international conferences (he was the organizer of SEALS19 in 2009)

- Felix Rau agrees: this could also bring in Vietnamese scholars; furthermore, it is easily reachable from neighboring countries

- Roger Blench remarks that South Asia barely has scholars working on AA languages

- There is broad consent that ICAAL8 should be held in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019, either at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities or in a hotel

- Paul Sidwell will notify the relevant people and also acknowledge their willingness to organize the meeting

- Roger Blench asks at what time of the year the meeting should be held; attendees prefer September

5. Working group

- ICAAL6 in Siem Reap saw the establishment of working group meetings dedicated to specific topics

- The first workshop on AA syntax was held in Chiang Mai in September 2016; it was financially supported by the University of Zürich and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena (hotel costs and some travel costs were covered); participants were requested to send in drafts before the meeting, which was a very successful approach; an edited volume will be published by Brill next year; currently papers are under review

- At ICAAL6 it was suggested that regular ICAAL meetings and more specific workshops should be held alternatingly; this suggestion was accepted and is also approved at the present business meeting

- The next workshop on AA syntax is planned to be held next September, tentatively again in Chiang Mai; the topic will be “Argument coding in AA”, again in diachronic and areal perspective; Paul Sidwell proposes a focus on text collections, which could be uploaded on the webpage

- Details on the workshop will be announced on the webpage

- Hiram Ring will set up a contact list

- Ryan Gehrmann wants to know whether there will be a normal abstract submission process or personal invitations; Mathias Jenny clarifies that there will be an abstract submission process; drafts of the full papers are to be circulated before the meeting; funding is also sought; the process will be started by early next year

6. Publications

6.1 New Brill series

- There is a new Brill series on grammars and sketches of languages of Southeast Asia, edited by Paul Sidwell and Mathias Jenny

- Paul Sidwell explains that Brill is very supportive and will also create a grammar database (not limited to Southeast Asia), available online at some point

- Ryan Gehrmann asks whether this database will be open-access; Paul Sidwell replies it will probably be reached via institutional access

- John Peterson mentions that there is also a Brill series on the languages of South (and Southwest) Asia edited by himself and Anju Saxena; the grammars (and potentially also sketches) will also be linked in the database; the two series are not in competition

6.2 The future of the Mon-Khmer Studies Journal

- Paul Sidwell suggests that the Mon-Khmer Studies Journal (MKS) is effectively defunct

- Mahidol University could not sustainably sell the printed journal

- Brian Migliazza suggested to bring it online, which subsequently happened

- Some years ago Paul Sidwell stepped down as editor-in-chief; Mahidol agreed to step up but failed to do so effectively

- Discussion about the future of MKS: nobody has strong views about the continuation of MKS

- Roger Blench mentions that LTBA switched to a commercial publisher and asks whether this is also viable for MKS

- Paul Sidwell remarks that in contrast to MKS, LTBA has a very strong editorial board; furthermore, the publisher has to contract with the owner, which is problematic for MKS/ICAAL (and also Mahidol and SIL)

- John Peterson asks whether an open-access online journal could be a solution; Mathias Jenny replies that JSEALS already exists for this purpose

- Paul Sidwell mentions that a new AA journal could in principle be set up irrespective of MKS; but both Paul Sidwell and Ryan Gehrmann argue that it is not necessary to have a specific AA journal

- Paul Sidwell mentions that Mark Alves, the managing editor of JSEALS, is willing to facilitate special AA issues in JSEALS; such special issues could be published regularly

- Roger Blench proposes a stand alone proceedings publication of ICAAL7; Mathias objects, arguing that there is little demand for low-key, specialised publications

- Hiram Ring is willing to take care of a special issue in the JSEALS series

- Paul Sidwell will bring forward the suggestion for a special issue in JSEALS to Mark Alves

- Details on the special issue will be announced on the webpage

- Paul Sidwell will inform Mahidol of the decisions taken at the present business meeting, that no one is willing to step forward as a new editor-in-chief

- MKS online repository will still be available via sealang.net for many years

6.3 SICAL (=ICAAL2) proceedings

- Paul Sidwell informs attendees that SICAL (=ICAAL2; the Second International Conference on Austroasiatic Languages, held in Mysore in 1978) papers were recovered in Hawai‘i some years ago

- They are almost ready for publication, with PDFs created by David Stampe and Paul Sidwell

- Some of the papers were published elsewhere in the meantime

- David Stampe undertook to finish the publication process but have not done so yet

- Piers Vitebski will meet Stampe and Donegan them soon and discuss the matter

- Paul Sidwell and Piers Vitebski will make sure that the papers will still be published in some form

7. Handouts and slides

- The ICAAL7 participants are invited to send their handouts, papers and slides to Tobias Weber at tweber [AT] isfas.uni-kiel.de

- The conference materials will be deposited in an archive to be created soon

The business meeting is closed at 4:00 pm


ICAAL 6 Business Meeting

30 July 2015, 13:30 – 14:00

Siam Reap, Cambodia

Chairmen: Roger Blench, Paul Sidwell, Gérard Diffloth

Minutes taken by: Kevin Bätscher

Total number of attendees: 26

Roger Blench opens the meeting, thanking the conference planners and participants.

1 Venue of next ICAAL

Paul Sidwell addresses the planning of the next ICAAL meeting, and presents two main proposals:

· A first offer was presented during ICAAL5, namely to hold the meeting in Dhaka. This offer was not tied to any particular time.

· A second offer came in from Pune Graduate College in India, which already hosted the 3rd ICAAL.

Mathias Jenny brings up a third proposal, jointly presented by INALCO and CNRS in Paris, who have a strong interest in hosting a future meeting.

Horo Luke suggests another venue for the next ICAAL meeting: the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. He explains that although this university does not have an independent Linguistics department, the Humanities department includes the Centre for Linguistics and Technological Sciences, which engages in the interdisciplinary study of linguistics, engineering and computer science, and focuses on speech recognition & synthesizing. Horo Luke refers to Dr. Priyankoo Sarmah as the contact person who would be in charge of the organization of the future conference.

Neither of these proposals came with specific details. Decision on location of next meeting is put aside for the moment. Applicants are asked to send details of their proposals (including dates, location information, photos) to Mathias Jenny to be posted on the icaalprojects website.

2 Working group

Mathias Jenny suggests that future ICAAL meetings be reduced in frequency, possibly to be held every 3 years, instead of every 2 years (the latter recommended at the previous business meeting in Canberra in 2013). In addition to this, a smaller, more focused working group could meet between full conferences. Such a Working Group would more readily solicit external funding and produce programmatically focused output (e.g. pursue discussion and publication on specific research questions) somewhat like the ICAAL 3 Pilot Picnic held at Siem Reap in June 2006 . Roger Blench seconds this proposal.


Ryan Gehrmann supports the idea of a working group. He agrees that the focus is lost in a broader setting of a larger group.

Mathias Jenny emphasizes that the working group would not be in competition with the ICAAL meeting, but rather an addition to it. He asks for details about possible venues of future ICAAL meetings to be sent in an email, which should include specifications about the venue, and include photos.

Gérard Diffloth supports the idea of a working group that would focus on a specific topic.

Paul Sidwell specifies that the working group would get together within a year from the time of this meeting. It would be an opportunity for a more focused discussion with a written output. He also supports Mathias Jenny's idea of holding the next ICAAL meeting in 3 years instead of in 2 years.

Gérard Diffloth disagrees, arguing that people would lose touch with each other in 3 years, and suggests a 2-year interval.

Andrew Hsiu thinks that proper organization of a conference is more important than its frequency.

Roger Blench wants to keep future meetings in the region of South-East Asia, also for financial reasons.


A vote on the frequency of future ICAAL meetings results in a tie, with 12 votes for both a 2-year and a 3-year interval. Therefore, the decision is postponed.

Paul Sidwell reminds people to provide details on possible future venues.

3 Editorship of the Mon-Khmer Studies journal

Paul Sidwell (assisted by Brian Migliazza) has been in charge of editing the e-journal of Mon-Khmer Studies since 2012. He announces that he would like to delegate this workload to someone else by the end of the year. No one has so far volunteered to take on this responsibility.

In response to Todd Bequette's questions about the qualifications required for this position, Paul Sidwell explains that an editor needs to have good organizational skills, and willing to take the responsibility of keeping in touch with authors and to make sure that the contacts are up to date. Before the e-journal was started, the editorial board would get together once a year at Mahidol. Paul Sidwell explains that this previous arrangement was not frequent enough, and that it was difficult for all board members to gather. Hence, he suggests that either one person take on this responsibility, or otherwise a group who can easily communicate, be this through email or otherwise.

In response to a question by Roger Blench, Paul Sidwell clarifies that editors are not in charge of formatting, but that is now the responsibility of the authors. Relevant videos for assistance are available on YouTube.

Roger Blench and Felix Rau volunteer to be part of a new team, but do not want to take on the full responsibility of main editor. Discussions on the future and/or reform of MKS will continue informally through the rest of the year and Paul will visit the Mahidol campus in September for discussion on site.

4 Varia

A participant asks that contact information be publicly accessible, and Mathias Jenny replies that the ICAAL Projects webpage already fulfills that function.

Roger Blench calls the meeting closed at 14:01.


ICAAL 5: Minutes of the business meeting

Meeting convened 5.15 pm Thursday September 5th, Drawing Room, University House, Canberra.

Attendees: Paul Sidwell, Mathias Jenny, George van Driem, Felix Rau, Michel Ferlus, K.S. Nagaraja, V.R. Rajasingh, Sikder Murshed, Elizabeth Hall, Kevin Bätscher, J.D. Mayuri, Stephen Self, Meng Vong, Frederic Pain.

Acting Secretary: Kevin Bätscher

Acting Chair: Paul Sidwell


1. ICAAL Committee

2. Venue of next ICAAL meeting

3. Publication plan

1. Establishment of a new ICAAL committee

This committee supersedes all previous committees.

No formal structure of office bearers proposed at this time.

George van Driem is nominated by Paul and accepted, subsequently George nominates Paul, Paul nominates Mathias, Mathias nominates Felix, Felix nominates Nagaraja, Nagaraja nominates Sikder Murshed, Sikder nominates Meng Vong, George also nominates Michel Ferlus.

Only Rajasingh declines Nagaraja’s nomination, otherwise there are no objections.

Hence, the committee going forward are:

George van Driem (george.van.driem [AT] gmail.com)

Paul Sidwell (paul.sidwell [AT] anu.edu.au)

Mathias Jenny (jenny [AT] spw.uzh.ch)

Felix Rau (felix.rau [AT] gmail.com)

K.S. Nagaraja (ksnagaraja2006 [AT] gmail.com)

Sikder Murshed (murshedsm [AT] hotmail.com)

Meng Vong (meng_ifl [AT] yahoo.com)

Michel Ferlus (jrmferlus [AT] orange.fr)

Furthermore, the following people are going to receive an invitation to join the committee: Nick Enfield, Nicole Kruspe, Gerard Diffloth, Niklas Burenhult, Weera Ostapirat, Justin Watkins.

These people will automatically be on the committee once they accept the invitation.

The duties of the committee are to decide on locations for future conferences, as well as their organization, publication of papers, etc.

Paul Sidwell declares the new committee as constituted.

2. Where and when is the next ICAAL meeting going to be held?

Two possible venues for the next ICAAL meeting have been suggested:

1. University of Dhaka; and

2. Royal Academy of Cambodia (Phnom Penh)

2.1. Sikder Murshed suggests that the next ICAAL meeting be held in Dhaka. He mentions the following advantages of that venue:

1. There are three indigenous AA groups in Bangladesh, and we could have a one-day workshop during the meeting to bring them in.

2. Bangladesh lies in the middle of SE and South Asia. It would be easy and cost-efficient for local scholars to travel there.

3. Accommodation is economical, and the university can provide volunteer workers.

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Dhaka has 15 full-time faculty members and was established 23 years ago. Students are now being encouraged to work on local indigenous languages. It would be the first time for the University of Dhaka to host an international linguistics conference.

Sikder Murshed asks for a letter of approval from the committee that he could present to the university.

Dhaka could be ready as soon as 2014, but 2015 would be just as well. Considering the climate, winter – specifically October to February – would be the best time to hold the meeting.

2.2. Meng Vong suggests Phnom Penh for next year’s meeting. He will ask for the institution’s permission. He estimates that it could be organized by the end of 2014 (possibly December), but he would need to check that.

Accommodation is available, and there is good infrastructure.

George suggests that it would be optimal if we strove to keep the HLS and ICAAL spaced apart. Mathias says that we should have more frequent meetings. We would need about 30 good presentations to make a reasonable meeting. People agree it would be possible to get enough quality papers for next year (end of 2014).

Since we have two proposals for next year’s venue, we should find out first how long the bureaucracy takes in both countries. The University of Dhaka is autonomous, i.e. they would not need to seek approval from the government; therefore organization would be quick and easy. Cambodia would take about four months to just process the application.

Consensus: we actively pursue meetings in the next two years and wait for written confirmation from Dhaka and Phnom Penh.

Mathias suggests that in the future, we will post decisions and information about future meetings on the ICAAL Projects (https://sites.google.com/site/icaalprojects) website.

Both Meng and Sikder will send the most beautiful pictures of their respective venues to Mathias, who will make sure that they get promoted on the ICAAL Projects website. Additionally, they will provide any other relevant information, such as rough budget planning, possible external funding sources, information about their departments, tourist attractions, recommendable beers, etc.

3. Publication plan

We will have a special issue of Mon-Khmer Studies for the papers of this year’s conference (ICAAL5).

Authors are asked to submit drafts by end of this year (2013), papers will be finalized in March, 2014. Publication will be shortly thereafter.

Mathias nominates Paul as editor, and vice versa. Felix is nominated as the third editor. All accept and are agreeable.

Paul declares the meeting closed at 6.15 pm.