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Our History

Our History

Established in 1980, The Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics started with a group of applied linguists who got together frequently to discuss, over wine and cheese at home, linguistics and English language teaching, amongst other things. The idea of setting up an association to formalize this kind of meeting and to provide a forum for ideas exchange was first proposed by the late Mr. Ray Tongue, who then worked as a consultant to the Advisory Inspectorate of the Hong Kong Government Education Department. It was supported by colleagues in Hong Kong Polytechnic, Hong Kong University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Among the founding members were Peter Barnes and John Hunt of the Hong Kong Polytechnic and John Gibbons and Graham Lowe of Hong Kong University. HAAL started with a membership of about 50, and now the number almost doubles.

HAAL holds regular seminars through each academic year, usually at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, whose speakers include many linguists and applied linguists from home and abroad. Both established figures and newcomers are invited to give presentations as long as their topics are relevant and interesting. The Association tries to strike a balance between overseas and local speakers, and between individual papers and panel discussions. Well-known figures who have addressed HAAL include Michael Halliday, Jack Richards (a former Chairman of HAAL), David Nunan, Ron Carter, Lyle Bachman, Liz Hamp-Lyons, and Merrill Swain.

HAAL is not only a place where you can enjoy inspiring seminars, but also an organisation where you get to meet  colleagues from other institutions, and to keep yourself up-to-date with the developments in the realm. We conduct a Research Forum/Conference every few years. In addition to these academic activities, a social event is organised annually for members to get familiar with each other under a relaxing atmosphere. 

The best way to find out more about HAAL is to participate in the seminars and join us for dinner afterwards -- but why not simply apply for membership right now?

Current Committee

Current Executive Committee

Past Members


President: Gavin Bui (HSUHK)

Secretary: Mable Chan (HKBU)

Assistant Secretary: Emily Lui (HKCC-PolyU)

Treasurer: Barry Bai (CUHK)

Outreach Officers: Benjamin Moorhouse (HKBU), Dennis Chau (HKMU)

 Webmaster: Qing Ma (EdUHK)

Immediate Past President: Jim Chan (HKU)

Members: Phoenix Lam (PolyU)

Ricky Lam (HKBU)

Carmen Lee (CUHK)

Danny Leung (HKMU)
Matthew Sung (CityU)

Past Executive Committee

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