The English Linguistic Society of Japan (ELSJ) was founded in November, 1983 at the inaugural convention held at Sophia University and marked 32 years of history as of November, 2014. The ELSJ was founded to contribute to the progress and development of synchronic and diachronic studies on English and linguistic theory. To fulfill this purpose, it has held annual meetings and published journals and newsletters. The number of members at the time of founding was around 780 and has grown to 1,400 at present.
The ELSJ has pursued its development and attempted to stimulate academic activities with a focus on the following four areas: (1) Promotion of academic activities and betterment of administration of the ELSJ, (2) Internationalization of the ELSJ, (3) Establishment of an electronic management system and digitization of research results, (4) Improvement of the system of honoring of members. These four areas are interconnected and the details given in one area are not necessarily confined to that area and may make contributions to other areas.
(1) Promotion of academic activities and betterment of administration of the ELSJ:
To make the ELSJ meetings more attractive, we began to publish a Conference Handbook for the annual Conference in 1988, and the conference proceedings JELS in 1995. We further introduced two types of workshops: regular workshops in 1991, and student workshops, which are organized and run by student members, in 2002. We started to hold the ELSJ International Spring Forum in 2008, an international meeting where the official language is English.
The journal English Linguistics (EL) was issued once a year from the founding year of the Society and biannually from 1999 to meet the needs of our members. We launched the Editorial Advisory Board in 2002 with around 40 distinguished overseas researchers as its members. The conference proceedings JELS, which used to be distributed only to members registered at the annual conference, came to be distributed to all members of the society in 2011.
The Public Relations Committee was established in 2009, and the ELSJ Awards Committee in 2011, to supplement the Editorial Board and the Conference Organizing Committee, two committees established at the time of founding. Furthermore, the Guidelines for Deterring Misconduct in Research Activities and the ELSJ Regulations on Information and Management were put into force in 2014.
Our home page, which was made available in Japanese in 1999, was completely redone in April, 2005. An English version was also made available in conjunction with the renewal. Our new home page both in Japanese and English includes more information concerning journals (EL and JELS) and meetings (the annual Conference and the International Spring Forum), which internationalizes the ELSJ in a global age and accelerates the international accessibility of the research results of our members.
(2) Internationalization of the ELSJ:
In addition to initiating the International Spring Forum in 2008, we signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the English Linguistic Society of Korea (ELSOK) in 2012 to establish a reciprocal relationship so that we can facilitate and promote cooperative research projects. Based on the MOA with the ELSOK, the two societies invite speakers to each other’s annual conference/forum, and members of each society are entitled to submit papers and abstracts to the journals, conferences and forums of the other.
The International Spring Forum was initially organized on a small scale in order to offer an opportunity for paper presentations in English by junior researchers. Year by year with the passage of time, it has turned into a truly international conference where an active exchange is made among participants and invited speakers from inside and outside Japan.
(3) Establishment of an electronic management system and digitization of research results:
In order to transmit research results of our members internationally, we started to distribute a CD-ROM version of EL attached to our journal EL in 2004. We further decided in 2009 to digitize, release on the website of J-STAGE, and make open-accessible those back issues of EL (from vol. 1 to vol. 22, 1) since whose first publication more than four years had passed. Archiving the back issues of EL has continued since then, and the time elapsed from the first publication to archiving was shortened from four years to two years in 2013. The conference proceedings JELS was converted into a CD-ROM version in 2013.
In parallel with the digitization of research results, computer-aided network systems for electronic submission to EL and electronic application for presentation of papers and organization of workshops at the Conference/Forum were established in 2007 in place of the previous paper-based systems. Electronic application for the ELSJ Young researcher Award was also introduced in 2008. Contact between the ELSJ and its members is now carried on through e-mail.
(4) Improvement of the system of honoring of members:
In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of ELSJ and with the aim of encouraging the research of young members, the ELSJ Young Researcher Award was established in 2003. To further promote research activities and make the ELSJ more international, and at the same time to provide opportunities to mid-career researchers, the ELSJ Award was established in 2008. The ELSJ Special Award in 2003 and the ELSJ Distinguished Service Award in 2007 were also founded for the commemoration of individuals who have rendered extraordinary services to our society.
In 2010, the EL Research Promotion Award was introduced by the Editorial Board. Furthermore a new tripartite awarding system, beginning in the academic year 2011, was introduced: the ELSJ Prize, the ELSJ Senior Researcher Award, and the ELSJ Junior Researcher Award. The details of these three awards are provided in the document “The ELSJ System of Honoring Outstanding Academic Achievements.”
In 2014, the EL Research Promotion Award was renamed the EL Research Paper Award. In 2015, the Best Speaker Award for the annual Conference was introduced. In 2016, the Best Speaker Award for the International Spring Forum was introduced. In 2018, the two Best Speaker Awards were renamed the Best Paper Awards.
For the last 32 years, we have made endeavors in the four areas above in order to advance the aims of the Society. We remain committed to the further development of the ELSJ and will continue to make every effort to promote and support the research activities of our members.