History

The Association for Language Awareness (ALA)  was founded on 12th April 1994 by the following people:

Mike Scott (First Chair)
Sabine Jones  (First Treasurer)
Peter Garrett (First Secretary)
Joyce M. Angio (Committee member)
Leo van Lier (Committee member)

In Memory of Prof. Leo van Lier

LeovanLierWith great sadness we learned that Prof. Leo van Lier passed away on December 23rd 2012.

Prof. van Lier was one of the original members and founding fathers of the Association for Language Awareness. He became a member in 1992 and was on the Editorial Board of the journal « Language Awareness » from the start until November 2012. His contributions to our association will always be remembered.

Prof. van Lier dedicated a huge part of his life to the field of language teaching and learning and published widely in areas that included the theoretical framework of educational linguistics, second language acquisition, pedagogical grammar, computer-assisted instruction, discourse analysis, and bilingual education. Leo van Lier was also the editor of the Modern Language Journal.

His special focus was on language awareness, ecology of learning, authenticity, identity, and socio cultural theory. His work was innovative and crucial and it will remain a major force in the discourse of Language Awareness.

From 1986 until 2012 Leo van Lier taught at The Monterey Institute of International Studies. Before that he taught at the University of Northern Iowa, in Britain, and Peru as well as in Mexico, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands.

Leo van Lier was an international, multilingual and multicultural scholar who gave lectures and workshops in Dutch, English, Spanish and German around the world. He was a dedicated visiting professor in many universities around the globe.

Quite a few of us who had the joy to cooperate with Leo remember that whenever he spent time with us, he would run every morning, also on cold and foggy days and coming out of the fog he would just smile.

Leo’s down to earth and mellow manner made him an exceptional, special and human colleague.

The committee and all the members of the Association for Language Awareness will miss his dedication to the teaching and learning of languages, and in particular to issues related to language Awareness.

Nobody can express this better than Leo himself:

« Language is as important  to human beings as water is to fish. Yet, it often seems that we go through life as unaware of language as we suppose the average fish is of the water it swims in. … Language awareness can be defined as an understanding of the human faculty of language and its role in thinking, learning and social life. It includes awareness of power and control through language, and the intricate relationships between language and culture »

(van Lier, 1995 in his book « Introducing Language Awareness »).

Our thoughts and sympathy are with his wife Aida and his two sons Jan and Marcus and their families.

Leo, we are sad you left us but happy you were with us.
You will always be our dear colleague and friend.
Thank you for your thought provoking ideas, interesting talks and theoretical input.

Claudia Finkbeiner, Joanna White, Richard Aplin, Josep Cots and Carl James on behalf of the Association for Language Awareness, 10th January 2013