**New deadline: October 1, 2020**

The LSA invites nominations for the 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.

Nominations of women and underrepresented ethnic minorities are particularly encouraged. Nominees are not limited to individuals or people working in North America; the language may be one spoken anywhere in the world, and a team of community collaborators may be nominated.


Examples of types of language leaders who could be good nominees include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Members of an endangered language community who develop language teaching materials, teach language classes, and/or train other speakers to be teachers, in order to increase the number of speakers of the language.
  • Members of an endangered language community who organize a community language revitalization program (e.g. by beginning an immersion summer day-camp program and training elders who are speakers to serve as teachers).
  • Members of a dormant language community who learn their heritage language from archival materials and develop a language revitalization program to share the language with the community.
  • Speakers of an underdescribed language who work with a linguist as consultants for an extended time, with great dedication, thereby making it possible for the language to be documented.
  • Consultants as in the previous point whose outstanding metalinguistic insight into linguistic patterns make a significant contribution to a linguistic analysis.
  • Community members who do several of the activities above.

It should be noted that speakers, learners, and supporters who do not speak the language being documented/revitalized can all be nominated. The required criterion is that there be a contribution that could benefit the language in some way, whether by improving its documentation, increasing the number of speakers, or some other means.

The language in question will normally be an underdescribed one, possibly endangered, or where well-justified a stigmatized variety of a more widely spoken language.

Nominees typically should NOT be:

(i) those working towards or holding doctorates in linguistics or related fields; or

(ii) those employed in regular academic positions in a department of linguistics or related fields although there may be exceptions in the case of a community member who pursues a degree in linguistics after long work within the community.

Submitting a nomination:

To nominate a community linguist, please complete this nomination form. You will be asked to address the following issues:

  • The community the nominee is a member of and their position within the community
  • The general situation of the language in question and the nominee's (linguistic) abilities in the language.
  • The work that the nominee has done on behalf of their language and the significance of said work (It is useful to discuss outcomes and effects on other members of the community rather than just motivation and effort).
  • The nominee's long-term committment to language/linguistic issues.
  • The language products involved (dictionaries, grammars, texts, pedagogical tools, language promotion/revitalization tools, methodologies, websites, etc.)
  • If applicable, the contributions to language teaching programs and/or education.
  • If applicable, the nominee's collaborations with linguistic scholars.
  • If applicable, any personal qualities of the nominee that you feel are relevant to the application

In addition, you will be asked to submit the following:

  • 2, but no more than 5, letters of support from anyone besides the nominator who knows the language-related work of the nominee well (e.g. a(nother) professional linguist, the tribal or local government chair, members of the tribal or local government council or equivalent body, local school teachers--whether community members or not, local religious leaders, volunteer teachers in a language revitalization program, respected elders of the community, or any other appropriate authority who knows the nominees language work well). These letters should explain why the nominee's work on behalf of the language is outstanding. In exceptional cases, fewer than two letters may be permissible if the local community situation does not allow for more; this should be explained in the main nomination letter. These letters should be uploaded as a single .pdf.
  • Relevant work products (e.g. dictionaries, grammars, texts, pedagogical materials, methodologies, or links to websites and/or audiovisual materials). These materials should be uploaded as a single .pdf.; hard copies are not required. 
  • A citation of no more than 100 words that will be read at the presentation of the award if the nomination is successful. 

Fisher et al.