Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR) is the largest and prestigious conference where researchers involved in sign language research from around the world present their research findings and discuss them with each other. It is governed by the board of the Sign Language Linguistic Society (SLLS – www.slls.eu). The first conference was held in Rochester, USA in 1986, and since then it has been held every three years mainly in Europe and the United States.
The following list shows the timeline of TISLR:
TISLR 1: 1986, Rochester, NY, USA
TISLR 2: 1988, Washington DC, USA
TISLR 3: 1990, Boston, MA, USA
TISLR 4: 1992, San Diego, CA, USA
TISLR 5: 1996, Montréal, Canada
TISLR 6: 1998, Washington DC, USA
TISLR 7: 2000, Amsterdam, Netherlands
TISLR 8: 2004, Barcelona, Spain
TISLR 9: 2006, Florianópolis-Santa Catarina, Brazil
TISLR 10: 2010, West Lafayette, IN, USA
TISLR 11: 2013, London, UK
TISLR 12: 2016, Melbourne, Australia
TISLR 13: 2019, Hamburg, Germany
TISLR 14: 2022, Osaka, Japan
TISLR 15: 2025, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
TISLR 16: Stockholm, Sweden
At the 13th TISLR conference held in 2019 at the University of Hamburg in Germany, Ethiopia won the bid to host TISLR 15.
The main purposes of TISLR are:
– To create a forum at which sign language scholars shall meet and exchange ideas and knowledge on sign linguistics and related disciplines.
– To serve as a testing ground for research findings, analytical methods and theoretical perspectives.
– To stimulate research and linguistic studies on sign languages
– To contribute to capacity building of the young scholars in sign linguistics.
– To be a springboard in the dissemination of linguistic findings from sign languages to all the five continents.
– To provide linguistic information, through TISLR publications, for use by decision-makers and language planners in the world.
– To create awareness in the academic circles as much as in the general public for the need to recognize sign languages, as indispensable resources for individual, social, cultural, political and economic development of their users.
– To serve as a venue for discussion as well as dissemination of ways and means of empowering the indigenous sign languages in order to allow them to fully meet the needs of their speakers.
At each conference, an average of 200 papers has been presented with 400-500 attendants. At TISLR, various informative and recent development of research on sign language of the world will be presented. The outcome of each workshop will then be compiled in proceedings and would serve mainly for academic purposes.
Hosting TISLR 15 in Ethiopia and at Addis Ababa University has a paramount significance to our university, our country Ethiopia and to our continent Africa. Most importantly, for
• Development of sign languages research in Ethiopia and Africa
• Promotion of Deaf education and Deaf rights in Africa
• Conference tourism and promotion
• Increased Institutional Partnership and Collaborations.