Call for Abstracts

The Twenty-Fourth
(ISMIL 24)

15-17 May 2020
Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA


Papers presented at ISMIL are concerned with the Malay/Indonesian language in any of its varieties.  In addition to the standardized versions of Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia, papers are particularly welcome dealing with non-canonical isolects such as regional dialects of Malay and Indonesian, contact varieties, and other closely related Malayic languages.  Papers may be in any of the subfields of linguistics, and may represent variegated approaches and diverse theoretical persuasions. Presentations at ISMIL are delivered in English.


Persons wishing to present a paper at the symposium are invited to submit a one-page abstract in electronic form (preferably pdf, but MsWord also acceptable) to David Gil at the following address:

gil AT

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 14 February 2020

Notification: 1 March 2020

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 notification will be provided within two weeks of submission.



Bradley McDonnell, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Peter Cole, University of Delaware

Thomas Conners, University of Maryland

David Gil, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Peter Slomanson, University of Tampere

Hooi Ling Soh, University of Minnesota


ISMIL 24 will be one of a triple-header of related conferences all to take place in Honolulu:

Eighth International Symposium on the Languages of Java (ISLOJ8), 14-15 May

Thirtieth Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistic Society (SEALS30), 18-20 May


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, betweenisolects/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:

Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland)

Nick Enfield (University of Sydney)

Eva Wittenburg (University of California, San Diego)

Special Joint ISLOJ/ISMIL Plenary speaker: Dwi Novi Djenar (University of Sydney)


Further information:

Inquiries: gil AT