Welcome to the Association of Contemporary African Linguistics!

We regret to announce that our colleague Mike Cahill (1954-2024) passed away on Friday, June 21st, after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer. Mike completed his PhD (Linguistics) at Ohio State University in 1999. He taught at Dallas International University and served as the SIL Linguistics Coordinator from 1998 to 2010. He was the International Orthography Services Coordinator and a Senior Linguistics Consultant for SIL.
Mike was the secretary for ACAL from 2014 when the association was formed to May 2024.


The Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL) was first convened in 1970 and has since been held every year at various sites throughout North America. The affiliated Association of Contemporary African Linguistics, founded in 2013 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, has the same mission: to advance and sustain the linguistic study of African languages. The Association (with the same acronym) seeks to continue and provide stability to that tradition and to the conference itself. The Association solicits support from ACAL’s attendees to guarantee the conference’s stability into the future.

We as an organization welcome all members from any country or background.

JOIN ACAL! Official ACAL membership is required for you to give a paper at the annual ACAL conference, lets you see contact information and interests of other ACAL members, and helps support African linguistics. See the ACAL Membership tab.

Selected Proceedings of ACAL conferences are currently published through Language Science Press. You can download – for free – papers from past conference proceedings beginning with ACAL 45, as well as other African books, at the Contemporary African Linguistics site. You can also find links to these as well as information about proceedings before ACAL 45 proceedings at our Past Conferences tab.

Next ACAL Conferences

ACAL 56 (theme: African Languages in Diaspora) will be hosted at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities from May 15-17 2025. The conference website is here: https://z.umn.edu/acal56 and abstract submission can be found here: https://easyabs.linguistlist.org/conference/ACAL56/. The early deadline for abstract submission for those needing visas is September 1, 2024 (decision will be by the end of September). The final abstract submission deadline for all applicants is January 10, 2025.
ACAL 55 was hosted by McGill University in Canada, 2-4 May 2024, under the leadership of Martina Martinovic. The conference web site is https://acal55.mull-lab.org/.