The Ninth
(ISLOJ 9) 

20-21 May 2023 
Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA

Joint ISMIL/ISLOJ Keynote speaker: Dwi Noverini Djenar, University of Sydney

The island of Java is home to several major world languages. Javanese—spoken mainly in Central and East Java— is among the world’s most widely spoken languages in number of native speakers. It has one of the oldest and fullest recorded histories of any Austronesian language. It also has been of considerable interest to scholars because of its unique speech level system. Sundanese—spoken in West Java— has over 27 million speakers, and Madurese—spoken on the neighboring island of Madura and throughout parts of East Java— is the third largest local language, with up to 13 million speakers. Geography, history, and typology bind these languages with linguistically related languages on the neighboring islands to the east, Bali, where Balinese is spoken, and Lombok, where Sasak is spoken, each by about 3 million speakers. Each of these languages displays a range of dialects, isolects, continua, and contact varieties and yet they have received relatively little attention from linguists. With this symposium, we offer an opportunity for scholars working on any aspect of Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Balinese, Sasak, or any non-Malay language spoken on these islands, to come together and share their findings. We aim to encourage and promote continued research on these important and unique languages.

Abstracts are invited for papers to be presented on any linguistic topics dealing with the languages of Java and its environs—Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Balinese, and Sasak. Papers on other languages will be judged according to their relevance to the symposium topic. Papers are welcome from any subfield of linguistics and using any approach or theoretical background. Studies of non-standard(ized) versions, dialects, and isolects, including contact varieties, are particularly welcome. All papers are to be presented in English.

Anonymous one-page abstracts (data and references may be on a second page) should be submitted in electronic form (PDF and MSWord) to the following address:

isloj.linguistics AT

Please indicate your name, affiliation, and title of abstract in the body of the email. Please also indicate if you would like to participate in the special session on m/Minimalism (see below).

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 9 January 2023

Notification: 23 January 2023

[Early submissions also possible; notifications will be made within two weeks of receipt of submission.]

Given the potential difficulty in obtaining a US visa, abstracts from presenters who need to obtain a visa may be submitted at any time prior to the deadline, and a determination will be made within two weeks of submission.

Special Joint ISLOJ/ISMIL Session on m/Minimalism in ISMIL/ISLOJ Languages

Different varieties of Indonesian, Javanese and other ISLOJ/ISMIL languages have been described as conforming to the general Western-Malayo Polynesian (Indonesian-type language) typological pattern characterized by moderately agglutinating morphology, symmetric voice systems, and fixed SVO word order. Alternatively, they have been described as languages with free word order, more isolating morphology, and no or few lexical category distinctions—typologically more like mainland SEA languages. Part of this discrepancy arises from the difference between standard and non-standard varieties. Malay is a macro- language that encompasses a range of native Malay varieties spoken in and around the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo; other varieties are based on a lingua franca Malay spoken throughout the Indonesian archipelago; modern colloquial Indonesian varieties; and the highly structured and standardized Indonesian. Javanese, by contrast, has many regional varieties, but its standard variety is based on a prestige variety spoken in the region of traditional political and cultural power. The existence of this range of varieties has led to much research around the question of how minimalist ISMIL/ISLOJ languages are from a typological perspective, especially the non-standard varieties (inter alia Gil 2001, 2005, 2013, 2015; Conners, Bowden, and Gil 2015; Jackendoff and Wittenberg 2014; Enfield 2017; Polinsky and Potsdam In Press) Not only are these varieties relevant for a cross-linguistic understanding and accounts of language complexity, the typological profile of ISMIL/ISLOJ varieties also raises challenges for how best to account in various theoretical frameworks, such as in Minimalism (Chomsky 1995, ff). This special joint ISMIL/ISLOJ session invites papers to address these issues surrounding minimalism and/or Minimalism in light of any of the following questions:

  • How complex are ISMIL/ISLOJ languages cross-linguistically, compared to other Austronesian languages, standard vs. non-standard varieties, between isolects/dialects?
  • How can various theoretical frameworks account for phenomena in ISMIL/ISLOJ languages – particularly more functional (e.g., usage-based, constructionist approaches) or generative frameworks (e.g., the Minimalist program)?
  • How do ISMIL/ISLOJ languages inform various theoretical frameworks, both typologically and formally?

m/Minimalism Keynote speakers:

Eva Wittenberg, Central European University

Maria Polinsky, University of Maryland, College Park

Please note that the 26th International Symposium on Malay-Indonesian Linguistics (ISMIL 26) will be held adjacent to ISLOJ 9, on 20-21 May, 2023. Both conferences will take place at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa.

Inquiries: gil AT

Further information: