The LSA is a membership organization open to all who are interested in the scientific study of language. Our 4000+ members hail from all over the world, and include students, researchers, and those with an interest in linguistics and linguistic issues. Anyone can join. Most of our members hold an academic degree in linguistics, or are currently pursuing one. Many LSA members holding the PhD work in academic settings where they conduct research, teach courses, and collaborate with colleagues in related fields of inquiry. A small but growing number of LSA members are working in government and industry, applying their linguistics knowledge to developing new technologies, resources and tools for use by consumers, corporate clients and the general public. 

As the field of linguistics has grown more demographically diverse, so has the LSA. Each year, we issue an detailed report that provides self-reported data about our membership and the field of linguistics as a whole. Our members specialize in studying every aspect of language, such as discourse analysis, the sounds of speech, grammar, and sociolinguistics. The results of these specialized studies are made available to the broader research community in the LSA’s peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and at its Annual Meeting. LSA members lead and manage these scholarly endeavors, serving as Editors, referees, and as members of various committees that determine which research will be selected for publication or presentation at a meeting. Our publications enjoy a broad base of readers and paid subscribers, including most major research libraries in North America and many more in other parts of the world. In addition to research, LSA members assume a leading role in planning and organizing the biennial summer Linguistic Institute and CoLang Institute, serving as faculty, workshop organizers, and attending courses.

The LSA is led by an elected Executive Committee which includes four Officers. A small professional staff provides administrative and logistical support and manages the day-to-day operations of the Society. LSA members are also active in a variety of committees that focus on a diverse range of linguistic and professional topics. Special Interest Groups are also available to LSA members seeking to make connections around a specific issue.

The LSA confers honors and awards on its members for a variety of scholarly and professional accomplishments, and makes note of external honors awarded to linguists. Each month, we feature one of our members in a “Spotlight” article online, which offers a close-up view of that member’s professional life. As we learn of members who have passed away, In Memoriam notices are also published online.

The LSA's advocacy agenda is achieved through its partnerships with many organizations and stakeholders in the policy arena. To ensure funding and representation at federal, state and local levels, LSA officers and staff participate in the efforts of groups such as the Consortium of Social Science Associations, the Coalition for National Science Funding, the Collaborative for Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Joint National Committee on Languages, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Humanities Alliance. More detailed information about the LSA's partnership with the NHA can be found here. The LSA also maintains reciprocal relationships with other professional societies, such as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that share our commitment to scholarly research and the need for adequate public support of such work. In particular, the LSA is mobilizing to face a number of unprecedented challenges, among them difficulties faced by our members in conducting research due to the travel and immigration ban proposed by the Trump Administration; a threatened boycott of academic meetings in the US for the same reason, and   threats to major funders of linguistics research such as the National Endowment for the Humanities. All membership dues collected through May 31, 2017 will be set aside to support the LSA's policy and advocacy work to advance linguistics with government agencies and public officials.

The links below provide more detailed information about the many ways that LSA members work to address the LSA’s mission of advancing the scientific study of language.

LSA Leaders, Representatives, and Others: