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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Prof. Dr. Azirah Hashim

Prof. Dr. Azirah Hashim

University of Malaya
External Senior Fellow (Alexander von Humboldt Fellow)
January 2021 - March 2021

Room 02 007
Phone +49 (0) 761-203 97396
Fax +49 (0) 761-203 97451


Azirah Hashim is Professor in the English Language Department, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya. She was, until recently, Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute and Director of the Centre for ASEAN Regionalism. She has also been Dean of the Humanities Research cluster and Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics. Her research interests include Language Contact in Southeast Asia, English in ASEAN, Higher Education in ASEAN and Academic and Professional Discourse. In 2017, she was appointed Vice-President of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA) and is also honorary life member of the executive committee of the Asia Pacific Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association. She has been project leader of an Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education ‘Building research capacity in higher education institutions in Lao PDR and Malaysia’ for the last three years and currently also heads the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the Asia-Europe Institute which focuses on ASEAN-EU research, teaching, seminars and outreach activities. In 2009/2010, she was a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Free University Berlin. She has also been a recipient of the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Fellowship, Trinity College Dublin.

Selected Publications

  • Azirah Hashim and Gerhard Leitner. (2020). English in Southeast Asia and ASEAN: Transformation of Language Habitats. Oxford/New York: Routledge.
  • Azirah Hashim. (2020). Malaysian English. In Bolton, Kingsley, Werner Botha and Andy Kirkpatrick (Eds.) A Handbook of Asian Englishes. New Jersey: John Wiley&Sons.
  • Azirah Hashim and Aliyyah Nuha Azman. (2019). Malaysia and the Role of Education in Community Building. In Azirah Hashim and Anthony Milner (Eds.) Malaysian Perspectives on ASEAN Regionalism. (pp. 107-120). Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya.
  • Azirah Hashim, Gerhard Leitner, and Mohammed Al Aqad. (2017). Arabic in contact with English in Asia: Linguistic, social and political influences of Arabic in the region. English Today 33(1). 25-32.
  • Leitner, Gerhard, Azirah Hashim and Wolf, Hans-Georg (Eds.) (2016). Communicating with Asia: The Future of English as a Global Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

FRIAS Research Project

Language policy and multilingualism in ASEAN and comparisons with the EU

ASEAN (Association for Southeast Asian Nations) and the EU differ significantly in their structures: one inter-governmental, the other supranational. These differences, arising from distinct historical contexts, are reflected in their institutions, practices and objectives. This research examines language policies and multilingualism in ASEAN, addressing also efforts by individual Southeast Asian countries to strengthen multilingualism in the face of the growing importance of English as a lingua franca. Within ASEAN structures, English is used as the sole medium in the conduct of meetings and for communications purposes. This contrasts with the EU, whose 27 member states have 24 working languages for official purposes, quite apart from numerous regional and minority languages and the languages spoken by immigrant communities. This research considers the implications of the policies in ASEAN for the maintenance of linguistic and cultural diversity on the one hand, and the promotion of English and favoured national languages on the other. Attempts at policies supporting the use of mother tongues and local languages can be seen in a number of countries in the region. As English assumes greater emphasis in the region, there is a need to examine the state of multilingualism and the extent to which multilingual policies are being implemented.