On 11-13 December 2017, the Strand 2 conference on Language Standardization and Linguistic Variation in Asia from Sociolinguistic Perspectives took place at the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo campus (UNNC) in China. The international conference was organised by Prof Nicola McLelland and Hui (Annette) Zhao, with the assistance of Prof Anwei Feng and other colleagues at UNNC. Members from Strand 2, Prof Wendy Ayres-Bennett, John Bellamy and Jiaye (Jenny) Wu, also attended the conference and participated in the discussion.
The conference featured four keynotes, Prof Anvita Abbi, Prof Imtiaz Hasnain, Dr Luo Lian, and Prof Minglang Zhou, who discussed the challenges and practices of language standardisation in different countries and communities. There were also 19 presentations from 20 presenters who are based in various institutions around the world. The conference covered not only various languages and communities in China but also those in Hawai‘i, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand. In addition to the presenters, the conference attracted many local participants who joined in the discussions.
The event offered an excellent opportunity for researchers working on language standardisation and variation in an increasingly multilingual Asia to present their research and exchange ideas for future collaboration. More importantly, this conference brought together researchers of different research backgrounds: discourse analysts, historical sociolinguistics, quantitative researchers, scholars working on under-represented language varieties (e.g. sign languages, minority languages) and early career researchers including several current PhD students and recent graduates. It has provided a platform to further our understanding of language standardisation, language variation and multilingualism in Asia and beyond.