Research Thematic Areas


TISLR 15 invites unpublished research from any theoretical perspective that addresses sign languages. Keynote presentations, organized sessions, and poster sessions will be included on such topics.

Focus Area One: Linguistic Structure of Sign Languages

  • Phonetics and phonology of sign languages
  • Prosody of sign languages
  • Morphology of sign languages
  • Syntax of sign languages

Focus Area Two:  Historical and Sociolinguistic Aspects

  • The emergence of sign languages in a historical context
  • Sociolinguistic variation and change in sign languages
  • Sign language discourse analysis
  • Sign linguistic ethnography
  • Sign linguistic anthropology

Focus Area Three: Acquisition, Bilingualism, and Education

  • Sign language acquisition in L1/L2 environments
  • Bilingualism and multilingualism of sign languages
  • Sign language and education
  • Applied sign linguistics

Focus Area Four: Neurological and Psychological Perspectives

  • Neurolinguistics/psycholinguistics of sign languages
  • The relationship between sign language and gesture

Focus Area Five: Computational and Documentation Aspects

  • Computational modelling, recognition, and synthesis of sign languages
  • Sign language documentation/corpus linguistics

Focus Area Six: Artistic and Cultural Aspects of Sign Languages

  • Sign language and artistic endeavours (including poetry and literature)

To all those who submitted abstracts
Thank you for the submission. We received 217 abstracts, which is quite impressive. To be fair in the assessment of the abstracts, and as per the guidelines of TISLR, we assigned three reviewers to each abstract. Although we received quite a number of review reports before the deadline expired, we still have quite a few pending reviews that we are expecting from the reviewers. We, therefore, have to extend the deadline until all review reports are submitted. We thank you for your patience, as we make all efforts to ensure decisions are sent to submitters before the end of June 2024.

Abstract Submissions

Call for Papers
Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 15 (TISLR 15)

Host Institution: Addis Ababa University

Host Country: Ethiopia

Venue: UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) (pending approval)

Conference Dates: January 14 – 17, 2025

Conference Theme: Sign Language is the Future, the Future is Sign Language

Conference website:

Conference Description

Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR) is the largest and the most prestigious conference where researchers involved in sign language research from around the world come to present and discuss their research findings. It is overseen by the board of the Sign Language Linguistic Society (SLLS – The first conference was held in Rochester, USA in 1986, and since then it has been held every three years on average, mainly in Europe and the United States.

At the 13th TISLR conference held in 2019 at the University of Hamburg in Germany, Ethiopia won the bid to host TISLR 15 in 2025. TISLR 15 is going to be held for the first time in the continent Africa.

Submission guidelines

Non anonymous abstracts should be submitted through the Oxford Abstract management webpage ( For written abstracts, please upload a pdf. For signed abstracts, please upload a link to the video. While the written abstract should not be longer than 2 pages, in 12-point type, single-line spacing and 2.5 cm margins. The signed abstract must not be longer than 5 minutes. The Oxford Abstract management webpage started its operation on Nov 3, 2023. Abstracts should include a clear statement of the theoretical issue to be addressed, the research methodology to be presented, and a concise summary of the findings/conclusion. A maximum of 3 submissions which are in single and/or co-authored submissions are allowed.

Should you have queries, please send us an email at:

Details are available on the conference web page (

Conference Languages

To facilitate interpreter planning, presenters are required to indicate which language you will present in if your abstract is accepted: Ethiopian Sign Language (EthSL), American Sign Language (ASL); International Sign (IS) or English.

Mode of presentations

The Local Organizing Committee has been working with the wish to host a fully physical conference, where sign language specialists and practitioners can sit next to each other, in Addis Ababa, and share ideas.

However, to accommodate the presenters and participants who are unable to attend the conference in person, we will provide an online presentation platform for them. We hope that most of the participants will make it to Addis Ababa.

Therefore, to indicate your preference for the remote format, please fill out the presentation format field in the submission form.

The Local Organizing Committee,

Ethiopian Sign Language and Deaf Culture Program Unit

Department of Linguistics

College of Humanities, Language Studies, Journalism and Communication

Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

NOTE: To facilitate interpreter planning, please indicate which language you will present in if your abstract is accepted: EthSL, ASL; IS or English.
Important Dates
Submission of Abstract: January 31, 2024

Extended due date for submission of Abstract March 1, 2024
Notification of Acceptance: June 30, 2024

Author’s Registration: October 1, 2024