The Arabic Linguistics Society (ALS) was founded in June 1988 as a non-profit organization for the purpose of encouraging research and the sharing of research in the field of modern Arabic linguistics. The Society provides a forum for scholars interested in the study of Arabic within current linguistic theories and analyses. As such, it is the major, if not only, professional society in North America that is exclusively dedicated to the advancement of research on Arabic linguistics and, therefore, plays a critical role in supporting and disseminating linguistic scholarship on Arabic.
The Society sponsors an Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics (ASAL), the first held in 1987 and hosted by the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Since then over 20 other major universities have hosted the annual symposia. In 1998 the Society sponsored its first International Symposium on Arabic Linguistics to maintain contact with Arabic linguists at universities abroad and encourage international research on Arabic linguistics. It continues to sponsor international symposia but on a less regular basis.
To further disseminate research on Arabic linguistics, the Society sponsors the publication of papers selected from those presented at its symposia in a series entitled Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics (PAL) and published by John Benjamins (Amsterdam and Philadelphia). Papers are peer-reviewed and edited prior to final acceptance for publication.
Research interests focus on the following subfields of linguistics: theoretical linguistics (phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, morphology), historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, psycholinguistics, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics. Research on traditional Arabic philology and on pedagogy and the teaching of Arabic fall outside the scope of the Society's interests, the latter being the focus of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA).