Alan Davies: A tribute to an exceptional professional

alan davisAlan Davies, professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, passed away at the end of September. His professional expertise was internationally recognized and acclaimed; entering into the new field of applied linguistics just as the University of Edinburgh became a model for its institutional accommodation as a discipline, he was one of its founding fathers.

His interests in varieties of English, and the consequences of these for language education, and language assessment in particular, continue to stimulate debate and discussion. He had a very high opinion of ICELDA’s Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL/TAG), and his contribution to its development when he came to visit in 2006 was insightful and substantial.

ICELDA CEO Albert Weideman recently paid tribute to him in the acknowledgements section of a new book, Responsible design in applied linguistics: theory and practice, by stating that one encounter from his time studying abroad stands out:

“and that was the intense discussion with my external examiner at Essex, Alan Davies… [with] momentous consequences for me as a scholar… Alan’s recommendations and suggestions have continued to have the same effect they had on that unseasonably cold morning in June 1983, when we forgot about the time, and the demands on it by others… Neither of us can be described as inconsiderate, but on that day we forgot about all our other commitments.”

We honour the proud and substantial heritage that he leaves behind.


Originally posted 1 October 2015.