In Memoriam: Alan Davies

September 30, 2015

CAL is saddened by the passing of our valued colleague and friend, Alan Davies, Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, where he taught and researched in Applied Linguistics from the inception of the field in 1957. He was also the inaugural Director of the Language Testing Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, where he spent altogether 5 years in the early 1990s.

Dr. Davies was a towering figure in the field of language testing, in particular in the testing of English for specific purposes and English for academic purposes. His critical questioning of the logic of fashionable approaches to language testing enlivened the field throughout his career. He also had broad sociolinguistic interests, and wrote extensively on the status of the native speaker in Applied Linguistics. The breadth of his reading in a range of fields including literature, history and philosophy as well as linguistics gave his writing great depth and a richness of reference.

Dr. Davies was an indefatigable worker, actively involved in academic pursuits until the last. The students he supervised from all over the world testify to his loyalty and his encouragement of their research and their careers. Dr. Davies served as editor of the journal Applied Linguistics and Language Testing and as President of the International Language Testing Association (ILTA); he was the first person to win the Cambridge/ILTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. A British Council-sponsored lecture in his name is given at the annual Language Testing Research Colloquium.

Dr. Davies will be greatly missed by all who had the good fortune to associate with him over his long career.