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 up until the deadline specified below. Preliminary nominations received after the deadline will be deferred for review until the next nomination cycle.  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), the Linguistics Journalism Award (which has its own deadline and review 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 August 1 to allow sufficient time for assistance to be offered in preparing a final nomination. 

Click on one of the links below for descriptions of the individual awards, and to submit a nomination, 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 1, 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.

[Pictured above right: 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: Katharine Kimball]

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:

2018 Angelica Buerkin-Pontrelli, Jennifer Culbertson, Géraldine Legendre, and Thierry Nazzi

"Competing models of liaison acquisition: Evidence from corpus and experimental data" (Language 93.1)

This paper demonstrates how corpus work, experimental work, and computational modeling can be combined to shed new light on theoretical debates in language acquisition. This study compares two prominent theories of how liaison impacts the acquisiton of vowel-initial words in French, one based on construction grammar and one based on generative grammar. Buerkin-Prontrelli, Culbertson, Legendre, and Nazzi derive predictions from these two theories about the types of errors that children will make during production, and then test those predictions by combining three, often distinct, methodologies in language acquisition. This paper serves as a role model for theoretically-driven and empirically-grounded work in language acquisition in the 21st century.

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 submitted here no later than August 1, 2018.  A final nomination, consisting a nomination form, an updated curriculum vitae for the nominee, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be submitted here by October 1, 2018.

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:

2018 Kristen Syrett (Rutgers University)

Dr. Kristen Syrett has demonstrated exemplary performance in research, teaching, and service since receiving her PhD. Dr. Syrett is a leading researcher in experimental semantics. Her work bridges multiple subfields, integrating formal linguistic theory and psycholinguistic experimentation. She has published widely in some of the top journals of our field. In addition to her extraordinary research, Dr. Syrett’s devotion to the field has been unparalleled for an early career researcher. She has been particularly devoted to the Linguistic Society of America, including in her current role as chair of the  Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics.

Previous Holders:

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


Excellence in Community Linguistics Award

First established in 2013, 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 final nomination must be submitted here by October 31, 2018.

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

Current Holder: 

2018 Dehe Wang of the Ersu Tibetan language community (Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China)

Dehe Wang is recognized for his many years of tireless work to document, analyze, and promote the endangered Ersu language, as well as for his significant contributions to the knowledge and use of his language through the first Ersu Romanization writing system, the first Ersu-Mandarin dictionary, a collection of traditional texts and songs, and a textbook of conversational Ersu. He is further recognized for the outstanding impact of his work on the field of linguistics as well as on revitalization in his own community. He is commended for sharing his love of his language and linguistics with the next generations with humility, humor, and genuine respect for all.

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 submitted here no later than August 1, 2018.  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 submitted here by October 1, 2018.

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:

2018 Tucker Childs (Portland State University)

In recognition of his contributions to the documentation of the languages of the Bolom group and to their speaker communities. Tucker Childs has devoted decades to research on Kisi, Bom, Mani, Kim, and Sherbro to produce a comprehensive picture of the languages and cultures of an endangered African language group. He has shown a commitment to both scholarship and speaker communities, producing grammars, dictionaries, readers, and primers, as well as numerous academic articles. His work provides a model for the documentation of African languages by an American scholar and the value in documenting an entire linguistic subgroup.

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 2019
Nominations must be accompanied by five copies of the book prior to the deadline. Publishers as well as LSA members may nominate a book for the Bloomfield Award. Nominations may be submitted here.

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 28 February 2018 and before 31 May 2019.

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:

2018 Charles Yang  and MIT Press for The Price of Linguistic Productivity: How Children Learn to Break the Rules of Language [Read more about the special presentation of this award in Philadelphia

Charles Yang's The Price of Linguistic Productivity is a highly original, very readable book of wide interest to linguists of all subfields and theoretical frameworks.  It uses computational efficiency to relate the number of exceptions a rule can tolerate to the number of regular tokens.  The critical threshold decreases as the tokens affected increase, so a striking conclusion is that exceptions are learned best when the total vocabulary is small – an empirical answer to how children easily acquire with minimal input rules that stump adult learners.  The book has potentially profound implications for historical linguistics and language change as well.

 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 submitted here no later than August 1, 2018.  A final nomination, consisting of anomination form outlining why the individual should be recognized, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be submitted here by October 1, 2018.

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, 2017 through May 31, 2018. 

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 submitted here by July 1, 2018. 

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:

2018 Lane Greene (The Economist)

In 2016, Lane Greene took up the task of bringing the "Johnson" column back to the print edition of The Economist. Appearing every two weeks, his column has consistently publicized themes and ideas from within linguistics, and written about them accurately as well as interestingly. His approach consistently champions the scientific approach to language over dilettantism, and defends evidence-based linguistics against prescriptivist myth-making.

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 submitted here by August 1, 2018.  Final nominations, consisting of a nomination form and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be submitted here by October 1, 2018. 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:

2018 John McWhorter (Columbia University) [Read more about the special presentation of this award in New York City]

John McWhorter is widely known for his sustained and far-ranging efforts to illuminate complex questions of linguistic inquiry for a general audience, including his public-facing lectures, books, articles, commentary, numerous interviews produced by popular news media outlets, and for his service to the LSA in furthering public understanding of linguistics.

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: Daniel Duncan (New York University); "Changing language and identity during suburbanization"
  • Second Place: Milena Šereikaitè (University of Pennsylvania); "Active existential voice in Lithuanian: Burzio's generalization revised
  • Third Place: Carol-Rose Little (Cornell University) and Mia Wiegand (Cornell University); "A compositional morphosemantic analysis of exclusivity in Ch'ol"

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 submitted here no later than August 1, 2018.  A final nomination, consisting of a nominatino form outlining why the individual should be recognized, and a brief citation that can be read at the presentation of the award, must be suibmitted here by October 1, 2018.

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:

2018 Sarah Thomason (University of Michigan)

Over her career Sally Thomason has contributed more to the field of linguistics in both research and service than what most scholars will achieve in a lifetime in only one of these areas. Her research has propelled the field forward; her mentoring activities have placed many junior scholars on trajectories toward success; and her service to the Society has benefited all linguists in significant ways. Sally’s contributions to the field of linguistics and the LSA in particular is richly deserving of recognition through the  Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award.

Previous Holders:

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