Nominations

For more information about an individual award, click on one of the links below.  Preliminary nominations for LSA Awards and Honors are invited throughout the year.  Exceptions are the Best Paper in Language Award (all articles published in Language are automatically eligible), the Excellence in Community Linguistics Award (which has its own procedure), the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award (which has its own deadline and committee), and the Student Abstract Award (all Annual Meeting abstracts authored solely by students are automatically eligible). 

Awards Nominations are submitted in two mandatory phases:  1) a preliminary nomination, consisting of the nominee’s name, CV and/or website URL, and the award for which the nomination is being submitted; and 2) a final nomination.  The purpose of a preliminary nomination is to alert the Awards Committee of your intent, and to offer early assistance in helping you prepare a successful nomination. Following receipt of a preliminary nomination, you will be contacted directly with additional details about the kinds of assistance available.

Preliminary nominations must be submitted no later than October 1, but nominators are strongly encouraged to submit them by August 1 to allow sufficient time for assistance to be offered in preparing a final nomination.  The later the preliminary nomination is submitted, the smaller will be the opportunity for meaningful assistance to be offered.

Nominations should be submitted here.  Click on one of the links below for descriptions of the individual awards and note that, with few exceptions, nominees must be current members of the LSA.  The Awards Committee will assist all nominators, if desired, in preparing a final nomination (see individual awards for requirements), which will be due by October 2, and will offer assistance in identifying potential co-nominators (although this is not a requirement).  In some cases, sample letters of successful prior nominations are available upon request from the LSA staff. Nominations of women and underrepresented ethnic minorities are particularly encouraged.

Once a final nomination has been submitted, it will be retained and reconsidered for a period of five years (unless, in the case of the Early Career Award, the ten-year post-Ph.D. time limit is reached first).  Nominators will be given the opportunity to update their nomination materials annually. 

All awards, with the exception of the Student Abstract awards, are subject to approval by the LSA Executive Committee.

Photo Credit: Katharine Kimball
Shelly (Rochelle) Lieber, Ingo Plag & Laurie Bauer, The Oxford Reference Guide to English Morphology, which received the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award in 2015.

 

Photo Credit: Unknown
LSA Fellow Robin Queen presents Judith Tonhauser with the 2016 Early Career Award.


Best Paper in Language Award
Early Career Award
Excellence in Community Linguistics Award 
Kenneth L. Hale Award
Leonard Bloomfield Book Award
Linguistics Journalism Award
Linguistic Service Award
Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award
Student Abstract Award
Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award


Best Paper in Language Award

This award, made for the first time in 2012, is given for the best paper published in the journal in any given year. All papers published in a given year are eligible for review and then ranked by the Awards Committee. Associate Editors of Language are invited to recommend specific articles in their areas of expertise for priority review by the Awards Committee. As per LSA policy, each paper must have at least one LSA member as an author.

 

Current Holder:

2017 John R. Rickford and Sharese King

“Language and Linguistics on Trial: Hearing Rachel Jeantel (and Other Vernacular Speakers) in the Courtroom and Beyond”: Language Volume 92, Number 4 (December, 2016)

This paper reveals the critical role that prejudice against nonstandard dialects such as African American Vernacular English (AAVE) can play in the criminal justice system. In 2013, George Zimmerman went on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin, in Florida. The testimony of Rachel Jeantel, an “ear-witness” who speaks AAVE, was critical to the prosecution’s case, but her testimony was castigated in the press and on social media, characterized as unintelligible and not credible by juror B37, and totally disregarded in jury deliberations. Mis-hearings and misjudgments of AAVE and other vernacular speakers have potentially devastating consequences in courtrooms, but also in other domains, like police encounters, class rooms, apartment hunting, and job interviews. The authors argue that vernacular varieties should matter more than they do in these public domains, and linguists can and should play a bigger role in explaining them, and advocating for reforms where necessary.

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Best Paper in Language Award, click here.


Early Career Award

Instituted in 2010, this award recognizes scholars early in their career who have made outstanding contributions to the field of linguistics. The award provides travel reimbursement (up to $500) and complimentary registration for the next Annual Meeting. Nominators must be current LSA members.

Frequency: Annually, as nominations warrant.

Next Nomination Deadline: A preliminary nomination consisting of the nominee's name, CV and/or website URL, must be received no later than May 1, 2017.  A final nomination, consisting of a nominating letter of no more than three pages and an updated curriculum vitae for the nominee, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be received by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Early Career Award Nomination" in the subject line).

Eligibility: Any LSA member who received the Ph.D. degree no more than ten years before being nominated.  (When the Early Career Award was instituted, the time limit was seven years.  It was raised to ten years in 2015, to take effect with the 2016 award.)

The letter of nomination should include the following, as appropriate:
 

  • evidence of satisfying eligibility criteria
  • discussion of scholarly products and evaluation of their importance/significance. Mention breadth of (sub)field(s) that are impacted and depth of impact in specific subfields
  • discussion of publication quality and rate, in comparison to other linguists at that career stage
  • evidence of original thinking: of having gone beyond dissertation work into different/cutting edge areas, and/or of having explored new approaches to old problems
  • discussion of contributions to public awareness and exposure to linguistics
  • discussion of contributions to the field (conference planning, service to local and national organizations, etc.)
  • discussion of contributions to language community or communities
  • discussion of contributions to workplace, university/departmental life, if appropriate

 

Current Holder:

2017 Jeffrey Heinz (University of Delaware) 

For contributions leading to a new computational science of inference and learning as applied to language. Jeffrey Heinz has shown that all phonological generalizations in the world’s languages are computationally simple, belonging to a small group of distinct sub-regular classes within the Chomsky hierarchy. This deep result, which ensures that phonological generalizations are efficiently computable and learnable, could only be obtained through a remarkable synthesis of mathematical linguistics, computational formalisms, and linguistic theory. These linguistic insights can benefit practical problems in artificial intelligence  and robotics. Dr. Heinz has published widely in linguistics and beyond, including Science, and already has an outstanding record of training successful young scholars. 

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Early Career Award, click here.


 

 

Excellence in Community Linguistics Award

This award recognizes the outstanding contributions that members of language communities (typically outside the academic sphere of professional linguists) make for the benefit of their community’s language. The contributions made by awardees may be varied, including, among other things, documentation work with a linguist as a consultant and efforts towards language revitalization.

Frequency: Annually, as nominations warrant.

Next Nomination Deadline: A nominating packet for the nominee must arrive at the Secretariat by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Excellence in Community Linguistics Award Nomination" in the subject line).

Eligibility: Please refer to the official Call for Nominations for details regarding eligibility.

Current Holder: 

2017 Bessie Ejai and Jessie Sampi of the Bardi language community of the Kimberley region of Northwestern Australia

For their efforts in support of the Bardi language community of the Kimberley region of Northwestern Australia; for their tireless and continuous work, on multiple frontsand over several decades, to maintain and teach Bardi, a critically endangered language; for their significant contributions to the production of pedagogical andother materials of the language; and for the outstanding impact of their work on the field of linguistics as well as on revitalization in their own community.

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Excellence in Community Linguistics Award, click here.

 


 

Kenneth L. Hale Award

First presented in 2002, this award recognizes scholars who have done outstanding work on the documentation of a particular language or family of languages that is endangered or no longer spoken. Nominations must be accompanied by relevant supporting materials, such as copies of representative work. Nominators must be current LSA members.

Frequency: As nominations warrant

Next Nomination Deadline: A preliminary nomination consisting of the nominee's name, CV and/or website URL must be received no later than May 1, 2017.  A final nomination, consisting of a copy of relevant work product (books, articles, scholarly materials, recordings, etc.) and any other supporting material, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be received by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Hale Award Nomination" in the subject line).

Eligibility: All authors must be current members of the LSA and relevant works should normally be no more than 15-20 years old.

The letter of nomination should include detailed description of the nominee’s contributions, as appropriate:

  • description of documentation products (books, dictionaries, grammars, articles, etc.)
  • evaluation of quality of the scholar's work
  • discussion of status of language being documented, evidence of endangerment/extinction; evaluation of relative need for documentation
  • discussion of commitment to the language and its speakers
  • importance of work to public, the language community, and scholars

 

Current Holder:

2017 Melissa Axelrod (University of New Mexico)

In recognition of her contributions to both the field of linguistics and to the speakers of Koyukon, Dene, Tanoan, and Ixil. Her career is an example of how, with deep dedication, abundant goodwill, and keen insight, it is possible to succeed on both sides of the putative divide between academia and community. Working with elders and preschoolers, teachers and farmers, political leaders and genocide survivors, she has engaged in projects that are both practical and innovative - from authoring dictionaries, grammatical descriptions, and research articles, to training several generations of linguists to follow her example in the very best traditions of fieldwork (including several PhD students who are themselves members of Native American communities). In short, Professor Axelrod embodies the very spirit of the Hale Award. She is an inspiration to students, colleagues, and collaborators alike.

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Kenneth Hale award, click here.

 


Leonard Bloomfield Book Award

First presented in 1992, this award recognizes a volume that makes an outstanding contribution of enduring value to our understanding of language and linguistics. Nominations must be accompanied by a substantive endorsement letter (maximum 2 pages) that addresses the volume's exemplary scholarship, enduring value, novelty, empirical import, conceptual significance, and clarity. The endorsement letter should also include a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award.

This award is chosen by the LSA's Bloomfield Book Award Committee, which evaluates all books submitted and recommends one title to the Executive Committee, which must formally approve the recommendation.

Frequency: Annually

Next Nomination Deadline: 1 May 2017
Nominations must be accompanied by four copies of the book prior to the deadline. Publishers as well as LSA members may nominate a book for the Bloomfield Award.

Eligibility: All authors of nominated books should be current members of the LSA. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the selection committee for books whose authors are not all LSA members, such as books with co-authors who are native speaker language consultants who collaborated in the preparation of the book, but who are not otherwise part of the Linguistics community. In all cases, at least one author must be a member of the LSA. Book must be published after 29 February 2016 and before 31 May 2017.

Criteria: 

  • Novelty (says something that is not part of the published literature)
  • Empirical Import (claims made are empirically falsifiable)
  • Conceptual Significance (enriches overall understanding of the nature of human language)
  • Clarity (points are clearly formulated; text is reader-friendly)

Current Holder:

2017 Brad Montgomery-Anderson (Northeastern State University) and the University of Oklahoma Press for Cherokee Reference Grammar.

This lucidly presented book is the first major reference work in more than 35 years on Cherokee, the only extant Southern Iroquoian language, one of the largest American indigenous languages in terms of the number of fluent speakers, and one with a rich tradition of literacy. Iroquoian morphophonemics and morphosyntax are famously intricate, yet this reference grammar is carefully structured to be accessible to students and scholars engaged in language revitalization regardless of formal background, with explicit definitions of the terms and concepts used in the description, along with copious illustrative material, with a richly informative multi-line interlinear presentation. At the same time, it is sufficiently thorough and explicit to be an invaluable resource for linguists seeking a reference grammar for comparative study. Cherokee Reference Grammar is a striking example of engaged scholarship in grammatical description, and a splendid model of a grammar that draws a successful balance in meeting the needs of a diverse readership.

 Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award, click here.

 


Linguistic Service Award

First presented in 2007, this award honors members of the LSA who have performed distinguished service to the Society. This service might take various forms, for example: Extended time devoted to tasks in the service of the Society; extraordinary uncompensated service to the Society; or brief service resulting in substantial cost savings for the Society. Development of materials for publicizing the field or the activities of the Society. Nominees and nominators must be current LSA members.

 

Frequency: As nominations warrant

Next Nomination Deadline: A preliminary nomination consisting of the nominee's name, CV and/or website URL must be received no later than May 1, 2017.  A final nomination, consisting of an endorsement letter of no more than three pages outlining why the individual should be recognized, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be received by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Linguistic Service Award Nomination" in the subject line).

Eligibility: All nominees must be current LSA members.

The letter of nomination should include the following, as appropriate:

  • discussion of career history, particularly as relevant to linguistic service
  • discussion of service to the LSA: (e.g. committee participation, promotion efforts, office service). Specific details of contributions and time commitments are helpful.
  • discussion of contributions to language and linguistics beyond the LSA

Current Holder:

2016 D. Terence Langendoen  

For his creative work in drawing good research in computational linguistics to the attention of National Science Foundation programs with little history of funding research on language, significantly expanding the funding base for work in linguistics. 

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Linguistic Service Award, click here.


Linguistics Journalism Award

Established by the LSA in 2014, this award honors the journalist whose work best represents linguistics during the 12-month consideration period indicated in the call for nominations.

The award is based on a single news story or body of work that reflects accuracy and timeliness as regards the material but is also appealing to nonspecialist audiences.  The current call for nominations will be for the period covering June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017. 

Selection of the award recipient will be made by a committee consisting of 2-3 members of the LSA Public Relations Committee (PRC), the Director of Communications, and the Executive Committee liaison to the PRC. 

Frequency: As nominations warrant

Next Nomination Deadline: There is no preliminary nomination deadline for this award.  A final nomination, consisting of a letter of support of a letter of no more than three pages, copies of the work or links to the work for which the person is being nominated, a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, and any other supporting material, must be received by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Linguistics Journalism Award Nomination" in the subject line). The time period for journalism covered by this award is from June - May of the year leading up to the submission. 

Eligibility: Nominations may be submitted by any individual or entity that wishes to do so, including members of the award selection committee. The news story must have been presented/published during the time period specified in the call for nominations. Nominations are particularly encouraged from LSA members, news organizations, journalists, and public relations professionals.

The letter of nomination should include the following, as appropriate:

  • Significance of the story or body of work which is the basis of the nomination
  • Accessibility of the work to non-specialist audiences

 

Current Holder:

2016 Arika Okrent (Mental Floss)

Dr. Okrent's work at Mental Floss is acclaimed for taking often-complex linguistic topics and making them easily accessible. Her use of innovative media forms such as listicles and whiteboard videos has helped bring linguistic knowledge to a wide audience. In addition to her work at Mental Floss, Dr. Okrent is editor-at-large at TheWeek.com and has written for publications including Smithsonian Magazine, Lapham's Quarterly, and Schwa Fire in 2015 alone. 

Previous Holder:

For a list of previous holders of the Linguistics Journalism Award, click here.


Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award

First presented in 1997, this award honors an individual or group for work that effectively increases public awareness and understanding of linguistics and language. Works in any medium are eligible, including books, documentary films, software, and lectures. For works of journalism, particularly news stories, blog posts, and magazine articles, a nomination for the LSA Linguistics Journalism Award may be more appropriate. Nominees need not be LSA members. Nominators must be current LSA members. In order to be considered, individuals must have published, presented, or aired some representative work during the four years immediately preceding the deadline for the receipt of entries. Note that, because an individual's representative work is eligible for four years, work could be considered in more than one award cycle. Nominations must present evidence of the work's impact (e.g. letters of commendation, news coverage, public notices). The awardee is invited to attend and, if appropriate, to present the work at the Annual Meeting.

Frequency: As nominations warrant

Next Nomination Deadline: A preliminary nomination, consisting of the nominee's name, CV and/or website URL, must be received by May 1, 2017.  Final nominations, consisting of a letter of endorsement of no more than three pages, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be received by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Linguistics, Language and the Public Award Nomination" in the subject line). Any hard copies of supporting materials (unavailable in electronic format) should be sent to the LSA via postal mail; please provide four copies of supporting materials where applicable. 

Eligibility: works in any medium are eligible, e.g. books, documentary films, articles in popular magazines, software, or lecture series but must have been published, presented, or aired during the four years immediately prior to the nomination.

The letter of nomination should include the following, as appropriate:

  • describe the work that increases public awareness of language and linguistics;
  • evidence that the work has had a demonstrable impact on public awareness of language and/or linguistics.

Current Holder:

2017 Anne Curzan (University of Michigan)

For bringing an interest in language and linguistics to the public through multiple channels, both online and off. Professor Curzan engages the public through lively, personable commentary about language, focusing on issues related to the lexicon, especially slang and other kinds of lexical innovations. She is a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s blog Lingua Franca; she is featured weekly on Michigan Radio, a local subsidiary of NPR, in a segment called That’s What They Say; and she has a monthly video feature Talking about Words, which appears on Michigan Today, a portal for alumni and friends of the University of Michigan. One of these talks was picked up by TED, and garnered over a million views. Each of these illustrate Professor Curzan’s friendly yet dynamic engagement with language change, language use, language history, and the sociopolitical ramifications of linguistic ideology and prescriptivism. Curzan is the author or co-author of several ground-breaking books directly related to making linguistics accessible to the public and one (First Day to Final Grade) which provides critical pedagogical training for graduate students and junior academics, another form of public outreach.

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Linguistics, Language, and Public Award, click here.

 


Student Abstract Award

Instituted in 2010, this award provides $500 for the best abstract submitted by a student for a paper or poster presentation at the next Annual Meeting, and $300 for the submitters of the abstracts rated second and third. Every student who submits an abstract for the Annual Meeting is automatically considered for this award; no nominations are required. All abstracts submitted for the annual meeting are rated, blindly, by external reviewers and the LSA Program Committee. Once abstracts have been accepted, the LSA Staff (who have access to information about abstract submitters) will determine which student abstracts were most highly rated. In case of a tie, the Awards Committee members will read the abstracts and select the winner and the two runners-up. The awardees will be publicly announced as soon as they have been selected, and will be recognized in the Handbook for the Annual Meeting.

Frequency: Annually

Eligibility: every student who submits an abstract for the Annual Meeting is automatically considered for this award; no nominations are required.

Current Holders:

  • First Place: Emily Moline (University of California), Davis: "Emergent Adult L1 Literacy: Theorizing Findings from a Case Study"

  • Second Place: Jon Ander Mendia (University of Massachusetts Amherst): "Knowledge about Ignorance: what Superlative Modification teaches us"

  • Third Place: Chantal Gratton (Stanford University): "Non-binary identity construction and intraspeaker variation"

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Student Abstract Award, click here.

 


Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award

First presented in 2001 as the "Victoria A. Fromkin Prize for Distinguished Service", this award recognizes individuals who have performed extraordinary service to the discipline and to the Society throughout their career. Nominees and nominators must be current LSA members.

Frequency: As nominations warrant

Next Nomination Deadline: A preliminary nomination, consisting of the nominee's name, CV and/or website URL, must be received no later than May 1, 2017.  A final nomination, consisting of an endorsement letter of no more than three pages, outlining why the individual should be recognized, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be received by July 1, 2017 (email awards@lsadc.org with the words "Fromkin Lifetime Service Award Nomination" in the subject line).

Eligibility: all nominees must be current members of the LSA.

The letter of nomination should include the following, as appropriate:

  • discussion of service to the LSA
  • discussion of unusual contributions to LSA’s success
  • evidence of extraordinary commitment to LSA, its staff, and its members
  • evidence of sustained contributions

Current Holder:

2017 Roger Shuy (Georgetown University, Emeritus)

For his outstanding service to the Society over his career of fifty-plus years. Alongside his pioneering contributions in dialectology, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, literacy, and forensic linguistics, Dr. Shuy has served the LSA as a member of the Program Committee, the Technical Committee on Language and Cognitive Development, the Committee on Linguistics and the Public Interest, the Committee on Linguistic Institutes and Fellowships, and the Membership Committee, as Chair of the Ethics Committee and the Committee on Social and Political Concerns, and as an LSA Delegate to the Consortium of Social Science Associations. He has also served as a visiting faculty member at LSA Summer Linguistic Institutes at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Michigan, and SUNY Oswego, and he has been a tireless advocate of building bridge to other organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the American Association for Applied Linguistics. Through his work, he has helped to establish recognition for linguistics and the LSA in the public and legal sectors. Among his other recognitions are the Public Service Award, US Social Security Administration, the American Association for Applied Linguistics, Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Service, a New Ways of Analyzing Variation distinguished service award, and an FBI Award Recognizing Service in the Unabomber Case.

Previous Holders:

For a list of previous holders of the Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award, click here.