History of the LAGB

For more information, see Dick Hudson's paper in the Journal of Linguistics on the history of the LAGB.

Content last updated 24 August 2009. If you can fill any of the gaps, please contact us!

The beginning

  • The LAGB grew out of the Linguistic Circle at Hull University, founded and run by the Germanist Jeffrey Ellis during the later 1950s, and increasingly attended by linguists from other parts of the country.
  • The title "LAGB" defeated the rival candidate "British Linguistics Association" ("BLA").
  • The first extended LAGB meeting took place at SOAS in London from Friday 30 October to Sunday 1 November 1959. The meeting was attended by 25 members and guests. (Information supplied by Fiona Marshall after checking the LAGB archives.)
  • The pattern of meetings evolved gradually:
    • At first, there were two weekend meetings per year, both during term time; by 1963, one was in the Easter break and the other was in November. During the 1960s and 1970s there were years with just one meeting: '71, '73 and '74, and possibly also '64, '65 and '76.
    • At first the meetings were tied geographically to Hull, but from 1962 one per year was held elsewhere and after 1964 the principle of choosing a different university for each meeting was established.
    • In 2003 it was resolved to reduce the meetings to one longer one per year, in the hope of increasing attendance.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s conference programs were sparse by later standards; there was often a social event such as a walk on the second afternoon, and one of the president's jobs was to invite/persuade members to offer papers.

History of LAGB meetings

You can see a full list of meetings and their details on our past meetings page.

LAGB Presidents

The information about the early years was supplied by Neil Smith.


Jeffrey Ellis


Neville Collinge


Frank Palmer


John Carnochan


John Lyons


Robert LePage


Eugenie Henderson


Neil Smith


Ruth Kempson


E. Keith Brown


Greville Corbett


Richard Hudson


Andrew Spencer


April McMahon


Kersti Börjars


Ad Neeleman


David Adger

Sources and acknowledgements

The information on this page and on our past meetings page was collected and compiled by Dick Hudson.

  • The following individuals have supplied information:
    • Neil Smith (list of presidents)
    • Ewa Jaworska (list of meetings)
    • Oscar Collinge, Frank Palmer, John Lyons (early years)
  • Details of meetings come in part from:
    • Published record in the Journal of Linguistics
    • Circulars and minutes preserved in the LAGB's (incomplete) archives

The LAGB archive

At present, the LAGB archive is located in a box at the University of Manchester. There is a general outline of its contents here.

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