The Journal for Distinguished Language Studies (JDLS) was founded in 2002 by the Coalition of Distinguished Language Centers under the direction of Dr. Betty Lou Leaver and Boris Shekhtman, with the first issue being published in 2003.

JDLS is a refereed volume and the only journal to focus exclusively on the highest levels of language achievement: that is, native-like or near-native. This level is labeled “distinguished” by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and “Level 4/advanced professional proficiency” by the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR). Descriptions can be found at the ACTFL and ILR websites.

The purpose of this journal is to create a robust international movement to promote language learning to the near-native level of proficiency. Contributions are sought in the areas of theory, research (quantitative, qualitative, case studies, action research), and applications. The journal typically has published a balance of articles in all three categories. Published papers develop theory, share applications that work (based on the experience of those who teach that level), and report on the research needed for proper evaluation and assessment of theory and application.

Articles are particularly welcomed in the following areas:

  • current status of Level 4 proficiency research in each of the four skill areas;
  • teaching methods to/at/above Level 4 proficiency in each of the four skill areas;
  • the role of culture in achieving Level 4 proficiency in each of the four skill areas; and
  • assessment to/at/above Level 4 proficiency in each of the four skill areas.


  • Editor, Yalun Zhou, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA
  • Assistant Editor, Donna Bain Butler, Ph.D., Delaware State University, Delaware, USA

Advisory Board

  • Rajai Al-Khanji, Ph.D., University of Jordan
  • Andrew Corin, Ph.D., Defense Language Institute (Emeritus)
  • Rebecca Oxford, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Karin Ryding, Ph.D., Georgetown University (Emerita)
  • Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholle, Ph. D., Yale University


Previous issues of the JDLS (2003-2011) are shelved at the Library of Congress. All back issues are available from the MSI Press webstore. Some back issues are also still in inventory at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

The next issue of JDLS is Volume 7: 2011-2020. The plan is to publish a bridge issue covering the years 2011-2020. Following the bridge issue, the JDLS will move to regular annual publication.

To submit an article, download the current call for papers: CFP Volume7 Final.

Submissions should represent original work. They should not have been previously published elsewhere nor be currently submitted to another journal or collected volume.