About SALA

A very brief, and not quite complete, history of SALA

(by Hans Henrich Hock with help from Alice Davison)


The foundation for SALA, the South Asian Languages Analysis Roundtable, was laid during the 1978 Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It consisted in a “Conference on South Asian Languages and Linguistics”, organized by Hans Henrich Hock and Braj B. Kachru, with support from Yamuna Kachru and Rajeshwari Pandharipande. The Conference attracted many of the top South Asian linguists from both North America and South Asia, and the response was so positive that it was decided to offer similar meetings in the future. There was to be a series of “International Conferences on South Asia” and a series of meetings with more limited, North American scope — SALA. Unfortunately, the tradition of international conferences was short-lived and ended after the third Conference, held 1982 in Mysore. As a consequence, there was an increasing tendency to broaden the scope of SALA beyond North America, with meetings in India (1997, 2005), the United Kingdom (1998), Germany (2001), and many other venues since then. (See the list of SALAs at the end of this document.)

From the beginning, SALA Roundtables were organized on an ad-hoc basis, without a formal organization behind them. The advantage has been that, even though the University of Illinois hosted the first three Roundtables, this was not interpreted as establishing a monopoly; and soon other institutions followed suit in hosting the Roundtables. The disadvantage is that there are no formal membership lists that can be drawn on for calls for papers, and there is no mechanism by which future host institutions can be easily identified. Nevertheless, through informal exchange of mailing lists and through a sufficiently large number of institutions volunteering to host SALA meetings (sometimes with some coaxing by Hans Henrich Hock), there has been an amazing and truly impressive succession of yearly meetings — only a few years (1996, 2000, 2007, 2012, and 2013) were without SALAs.

The first three meetings, held at the University of Illinois were organized by the same members of the UIUC Linguistics Department as the original Conference on South Asian Languages and Linguistics, with Hans Henrich Hock chairing the planning committee in 1979 and Yamuna Kachru in 1980 and 1981. After 1981, SALA began to be rotate between different universities, organized by local committees with support from national and international committees.


SALA meetings so far:


1   1979           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

2   1980           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

3   1981           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

4   1982           Syracuse University, Syracuse

5   1983           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

6   1984           University of Texas, Austin

7   1985           University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

8   1986           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

9   1987           Cornell and Syracuse Universities

10 1988           University of Washington, Seattle

11 1989           University of Wisconsin, Madison

12 1990           University of California, Berkeley

13 1991           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

14 1992           Stanford University

15 1993           University of Iowa, Iowa City

16 1994           University of Pennsylvania

17 1995           University of Texas, Austin

18 1997           Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

19 1998           York University, UK

20 1999           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

21 2001           University of Konstanz, Germany

22 2002           University of Iowa, Iowa City

23 2003           University of Texas, Austin

24 2004           SUNY, Stony Brook,

25 2005           University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

26 2006           Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, India

27 2008           South Asia Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin

28 2009           Northern Texas University, Denton

29 2011           Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, India

30 2014           University of Hyderabad, India

31 2015           University of Lancaster, UK

32 2016           University of Lisbon, Portugal

33 2017           Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland