Plenary Sessions

Distinguished researchers and scholars in the field of English language education and applied linguistics have been invited to share their invaluable insights and experience in these plenary sessions.

Professor Vijay Bhatia
City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Genre as Interdiscursive Performance in Professional Practice
About the Speaker
About the Talk
Discourse and Genre Analysis has played a key role in the conceptualisation, development, and recognition of professional discourse as an important field of inquiry in applied linguistics. In doing so, it has also been instrumental in widening the scope of applied linguistics to include areas such as organizational, management and corporate practices, translation and interpretation, and even information and visual designing within its purview. In more recent research, genre has gone beyond its primary concern to analyze and understand discursive practices in various academic and professional contexts to integrate discursive and professional practices in order to account for interdiscursive performance in specific contexts. Drawing on some of the key aspects of critical genre theory to account for interdiscursive performance in professional communication, I would like to suggest that it is perhaps one of the best resources available for the demystification of institutional, organizational and corporate practices.
Vijay Bhatia retired as Professor from City University of Hong Kong and is now an Adjunct Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include, (Critical) Genre Analysis of academic and professional discourses in legal, business, promotional, and in new media contexts; ESP and Professional Communication; simplification and easification of legal and other public documents. Three of his books, Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings and Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based View, and Critical Genre Analysis are widely used in genre theory and practice.
Professor Janet Holmes
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand
Researching the Impact of “The Culture Order” in Professional Workplace Contexts
About the Speaker
About the Talk
Building on our theoretical model developed to analyse workplace discourse in its wider socio-cultural context (Holmes, Marra and Vine 2011), this presentation discusses and illustrates the concept of the “culture order” (Holmes 2016).  Drawing on data collected by the Wellington Language in the Workplace Project (LWP) team, I will demonstrate ways in which the culture order impacts on workplace interaction. The examples include intercultural interactions between New Zealanders and Chinese migrants in white collar workplaces, between New Zealanders from different ethnic backgrounds, and between new and experienced workers in professional contexts. The presentation will also illustrate how  teaching and learning resources based on the LWP team’s research have been developed to assist new migrants as they enter the New Zealand workforce.
Janet Holmes is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Associate Director of the Language in the Workplace Project at Victoria University of Wellington ( She has published on workplace discourse and language and gender, and many topics within pragmatics and discourse analysis, including intercultural communication. Her most recent books are Research Methods in Sociolinguistics (co-edited with Kirk Hazen), The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality (co-edited with Susan Ehrlich and Miriam Meyerhoff), Leadership, Discourse, and Ethnicity (co-authored with Meredith Marra and Bernadette Vine), and Gendered Talk at Work.  With her research team, she is currently investigating the discourse of those involved in the tourism industry and analysing the language used in eldercare facilities in order to assist those seeking work in these areas.
Professor Ken Hyland
The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Academic Interaction: Where’s it all Going?
About the Speaker
About the Talk
The view of academic writing as an objective and faceless kind of discourse has been replaced by a new orthodoxy of interactivity in recent years. We now see writers as taking a stance to convey their attitudes, personality and credibility and seeking to engage readers by explicitly bringing them into the discourse.  But while the relentless search for rhetorical evidence of these features in a range of different languages, disciplines and genres has become something of a cottage industry, it is uncertain whether interaction in writing is a new development or whether growing applied linguistic interest just makes it seem so.  In this presentation I explore how interaction has changed in recent years, asking whether academic texts are becoming more interactional and if so in what ways and in what fields.  Based on a corpus of 2.2 million words from the same leading journals in four disciplines from the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences at three periods over the past 50 years, I explore changes in the use of stance and engagement.  The surprising results seem to suggest changes in rhetorical conventions which accommodate more explicit interpersonal interactions in the sciences and more detached practices in the soft fields.
Ken Hyland is Chair Professor of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Centre for Applied English Studies at the University of Hong Kong. He was previously a professor at the University of London and has taught in Africa, Asia and Europe. He is best known for his research into writing and academic discourse, having published over 200 articles and 26 books on these topics and received over 26,000 citations on Google Scholar. His most recent books include a third edition of Teaching and Researching Writing (Routledge, 2016), The Routledge Handbook of EAP (co-edited with Philip Shaw, Routledge, 2016), Academic Publishing (Oxford University Press, 2015), Academic Written English (Shanghai Foreign Language Press, 2014), Disciplinary Identity (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and Innovation and Change in Language Education (edited with Lillian Wong , Routledge, 2013.). He is founding co-editor of the Journal of English for Academic Purposes and was co-editor of Applied Linguistics. Ken is an Honorary professor at Warwick University and a Foundation Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities.
Professor Anna Mauranen
University of Helsinki
Academically Speaking: English as the Lingua Franca
About the Speaker
About the Talk
Academia is in the midst of major upheavals: in a globalized world, competition for research funding, jobs, good students, and positions in international league tables is getting tougher – and while all this is going on, linguistic landscapes are being turned about. Students, teachers, and researchers have become highly mobile, making their careers in different locations. English has become the unquestionable global lingua franca. At the same time, most scientists and scholars today find themselves in multilingual environments, where people move skillfully between languages, even if English is the most widely shared resource. How do we understand successful academic English in a world where the majority of its users speak it as an additional language? This paper looks into changing position and shape of English as a lingua Franca (ELF) in the academic world. ELF is a complex form of language contact, which is viewed from three key perspectives: the cognitive, the micro-social /interactional, and the macro-social. The talk draws on spoken and written academic ELF corpora, compiled at the University of Helsinki: the spoken ELFA corpus and the written WrELFA corpus. It is argued that academics make good use of their varying repertoires of English in co-constructing meanings and academic knowledge.
ANNA MAURANEN is Professor of English at the University of Helsinki. Her main areas of research and publications include English as a lingua franca, corpus linguistics, modelling spoken language, and academic discourses.  She is co-editor of Applied Linguistics and a former co-editor of the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca. She is currently the director of a collaborative language and brain research project “Chunking in language: units of meaning and processing (CLUMP)”, corpus-based research projects on spoken and written academic English as a lingua franca (ELFA & WrELFA,, and the director of a research consortium on Global English. She has compiled several corpora: the ELFA corpus on Spoken English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings, the WrELFA corpus, Written English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings, The Corpus of Translated Finnish (CTF), and has participated in the compilation of the MICASE Corpus of Spoken Academic English and the FECCS Corpus (Finnish-English Contrastive Corpus). Her major publications include: Exploring ELF (C.U.P., 2012), Linear Unit Grammar (with Sinclair 2006), Translation Universals - Do They Exist (2004), Cultural Differences in Academic Rhetoric (1993). She is currently the Pro-vice-Chancellor of the University of Helsinki.
Professor John Swales
University of Michigan
United States
Standardization and its Discontents (with Apologies to Sigmund Freud)
About the Speaker
About the Talk
I will first attempt to offer some thoughts about the trends and emerging themes in English for Academic Purposes. This will be followed by a hopefully mildly entertaining series of vignettes illustrating the vagaries and oddities of the academic world, mostly drawn from our own universe of academic discourse. These unusual pieces of academic prose thus deal with the inventive and the extraordinary, and they include imaginary authors, confessionals, egregious reviews, strange contracts, dangerous teaching materials, unhappy titles, narratives and fantasies. In closing, and more seriously, I will assess the opportunity cost of standardization in academic and scientific journals; in particular, its consequences for publishing internationally, and for those of us who assist others attempting to do so.
John M. Swales was appointed Visiting Professor of Linguistics and Acting Director of the ELI in 1985, positions that were confirmed two years later. Prior to this, he worked at the University of Aston in Birmingham, UK and, before that, at the University of Khartoum. Among his numerous publications are Genre Analysis: English in academic and research settings (Cambridge, 1990), Other Floors, Other Voices: A textography of a small university building (Erlbaum, 1998) and, with Christine Feak, Academic Writing for Graduate Students (U-M Press, 2012). He officially retired in 2007, but continues to work on various projects.