A brief 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. The LSA that year held 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, and thus SALA was born. 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 page.)

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 meeting, 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.

  1. 2019    INALCO, Paris
  2. 2018  University of Konstanz, Germany
  3. 2017  Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland
  4. 2016  University of Lisbon, Portugal
  5. 2015  University of Lancaster, UK
  6. 2014  University of Hyderabad, India
  7. 2011  Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, India
  8. 2009  Northern Texas University, Denton
  9. 2008  South Asia Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin
  10. 2006  Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, India
  11. 2005  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  12. 2004  SUNY, Stony Brook,
  13. 2003  University of Texas, Austin
  14. 2002  University of Iowa, Iowa City
  15. 2001  University of Konstanz, Germany
  16. 1999  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  17. 1998  York University, UK
  18. 1997  Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  19. 1995  University of Texas, Austin
  20. 1994  University of Pennsylvania
  21. 1993  University of Iowa, Iowa City
  22. 1992  Stanford University
  23. 1991  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  24. 1990  University of California, Berkeley
  25. 1989  University of Wisconsin, Madison
  26. 1988  University of Washington, Seattle
  27. 1987  Cornell and Syracuse Universities
  28. 1986  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  29. 1985  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  30. 1984  University of Texas, Austin
  31. 1983  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  32. 1982  Syracuse University, Syracuse
  33. 1981  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  34. 1980  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  35. 1979  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The 36th South Asian Languages Analysis Roundtable (SALA-36) will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal.