Société de Linguistique de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (SLAO)

The West African Linguistic Society (WALS)


Adopted by the Fifth West African Congress Accra, April 9, 1965


An international scholarly association is hereby constituted under the name of the WEST AFRICAN LINGUISTIC SOCIETY (WALS)


The aims of the W.A.L.S. shall be:

  1. to offer membership to and ensure permanent contact among all who are engaged in the scholarly study of the languages of West Africa, of their literatures, and of any other linguistic aspects of the area;
  2. to initiate, encourage and support scholarly research in this field, both for scientific purposes and to assist African nations with the linguistic aspects of their educational and social development;
  3. to organise such regular meetings, conferences or congresses as may be though desirable from time to time, and at least once a year if possible;
  4. to publish and assist the publication of the results of scholarly research in this field;
  5. to offer grants for research in this field, whenever practicable and desirable;
  6. to establish association or affiliation with any other recognised scholarly association or international body as may seem desirable, and in particular with the International Council for Philosophy and the Humanistic Sciences, thereby entering into official relationship with UNESCO.


Membership of the Society shall be of three kinds: Honorary Membership; Full Membership and Associate Membership.

  1. Honorary membership shall be conferred by action of the Council with consent of the full members in congress assembled.
  2. Full membership shall entitle members to voting rights on regular payment of the annual membership fee. Those holding academic positions in teaching or research, or equivalent in status, who attended the inaugural meeting of the Society, shall be entitled to be founding members of the Society. Application for membership thereafter must have the sponsorship of two full members of the Society.
  3. Associate membership may be obtained by application to the Secretary-Treasurer, accompanied by evidence of genuine interest in African language studies. Associate membership shall entitle the member to attend congress or other open meetings of the Society. Associate members shall not be entitled to vote.


  1. The activities of the Society shall be governed by a Council, to be elected to serve for two congresses. Elections to Council will therefore be held at every other Congress. The Council shall consist of a President, a Secretary-Treasurer and seven other members.

    A Council member who misses two consecutive Congresses will not be eligible for re-election.
  2. Membership in the Council shall be on an individual basis. In no case shall more than two Council membership come from the same university or institution of learning or research or more than three from the same country. The majority of the Council shall consist of members of the Society who are attached to West African institutions of higher learning.
  3. The Council shall meet at least once a year.


  1. The President shall be the legal representative of the Society.
  2. The Secretary-Treasurer, under the authority of the President, shall implement the policies of the Council, conduct the correspondence, prepare the documents, and see to the proper administration of the financial and other resources of the Society and to the discharging of its financial obligations.
  3. The President and Secretary-Treasurer shall be empowered by the Council to act on behalf of the Society between meetings in regard to such specific matters as the Council shall from time to time determine.


The Council may establish ad hoc committees for the promotion of particular research projects or other scholarly activities of benefit to students of African languages.


  1. The seat of the Society shall be at the institution to which the Secretary-Treasurer is attached.
  2. The resources of the Society shall be derived from the contributions of its members and any grants, donations or subventions accepted by the Council to be used in conformity with the aims of the Society as defined under Article 2.
  3. In conformity with Article 5, the President and under his authority the Secretary-Treasurer shall be empowered to administer the resources of the Society and to enter into contracts related to the implementation and financing of projects approved by the Council.

    1. The present Statutes enter into force as from the day of their adoption, the 9th of April 1965, by the Fifth West Afri can Languages Congress convened in Accra, Ghana.
    2. The Statutes may be amended if, after submission to the Council, the amendment is approved by a two-thirds majority o f the full members of the Society.


    The Council shall have authority to establish bye-laws and internal regulations on points not provided for by the present constitution.

    ARTICLE 10

    The French and English texts of the present constitution shall be received as equally valid in law.