In 2006 the Executive Committee established an ad hoc Ethics Committee with two subcommittees. One subcommittee was charged with drafting new guidelines for the responsible conduct of linguistic research; the other was asked to develop materials to help linguists work with Institutional Review Boards. The committee was formally established as a standing committee in May 2009.


The LSA is committed to helping linguists carry out their research in an ethical manner, given that the discipline receives so much of its data from human beings. The goal of the Ethics Committee is to encourage linguists to actively engage with the ethical issues that arise in the course of their professional activities, and to foster increased discussion of ethics within the discipline.


The work of the Committee includes but is not limited to the following:

  • maintaining the Society's Ethics Statement, and overseeing its update as necessary
  • posting and maintaining case studies, relevant links and articles, and updates on regulatory developments on the LSA website or through appropriate media
  • collaborating with the ethics bodies of other professional organizations
  • sponsoring tutorials and other activities at LSA meetings

Membership (by invitation)

To express interest in receiving an invitation to serve on this committee, please contact the Secretariat staff and the committee chair via email.

At least 6 members plus at least one student member, serving three-year terms.

The committee membership should reflect the methodological diversity of the discipline (e.g., emergent fieldwork, lab experimentation, sociolinguistic research, etc.). Continuity of purpose is facilitated by leadership through a 3-person team of co-chairs, consisting of the current, past, and incoming chair.

Committee Members, 2021

  • Jeff Good, University at Buffalo, Chair
  • Christine Mallinson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Past Chair 
  • Emily Bender, University of Washington
  • Claire Bowern, Yale University
  • Ron Butters, Duke University, Emeritus/ 
  • Mike Cahill (SIL International)
  • Elaine Francis, Purdue University
  • Emily Gasser, Swarthmore College
  • Angelina McMillan-Major, University of Washington (Student Representative)
  • Iman Laversuch Nick, University of Cologne
  • Shari Speer, The Ohio State University
  • Jonathan Washington, Swarthmore College
  • Alireza Salehi-Nejad, University of Tehran

Executive Committee Liaison: Alicia Wassink

Staff Liaison: Alyson Reed

More about the Ethics Committee