The SLIN Group: a Brief History

by Prof. Nicola Pantaleo

The group of Italian University teachers and researchers working in the area of History of the English Language (Storia della Lingua Inglese) was created informally in 1988 at the first National Conference (CNSLIN), a travelling event that started in Bari and continued in Naples. The organization of this Conference was the work of Thomas Frank (Naples University) helped by Nicola Pantaleo (Bari University).

About a dozen teachers and researchers met on that occasion and decided to continue the informal (and, for many years, nameless) association, united as they were by their common interest in meeting regularly in order to exchange opinions and debate questions of English historical linguistics. Another motive was to give greater 'visibility' to an academic discipline that risked a certain emargination.

The sad loss of Thomas Frank so soon afterwards if anything inspired his colleagues to continue the good work that he had started. The group gained a more defined existence at the end of the 1990 Conference by the addition of a business meeting (which we traditionally call Workshop) as a permanent conclusion to that and all future Conferences. The 1990 Workshop led to the creation of a Committee consisting of Ermanno Barisone (President), and (representing the North, Centre and South) Domenico Pezzini, David Hart and Nicola Pantaleo. This Committee was mandated to organize prevalently monothematic annual national conferences, to which distinguished foreign guest speakers would be invited, the proceedings of which would be published by the local organizer.

When, after 1992, CNSLIN became biennial, it was decided to hold a Symposium in the off-years (from 1993): these are 2-day meetings centred on didactic problems and on the use of information technology in teaching and research, together with occasional short papers on historical linguistic questions as a basis for informal debate.

The 1991 Workshop launched the idea of a newsletter to be edited by Nicola Pantaleo and the first number of the thrice-yearly SLIN Newsletter came out in June 1992, soon making a valuable contribution to the creation of an identity and feeling of community to the group.

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