Excellence in Community Linguistics Award Holders


Angelo Ngalloka Naser

The CELP subcommittee has selected Angelo Ngalloka Naser for the Excellence in Community Linguistics Award for his invaluable work documenting, teaching, and promoting the Moro language and culture.

Mr. Naser is a member of the diasporic Moro language community in Omdurman, Sudan. He leads the Moro Language Committee and has been a language activist for more than two decades. He teaches literacy classes, trains students in storytelling, runs teaching training workshops, produces collections of stories, writes newsletters bulletins in Moro, and organizes cultural celebrations.

He has been doing invaluable work for his language and community for two decades. He has shown "incredible resilience and long-term impact amidst a difficult history of the language and community" (i.e., displacement from their original homelands due to genocide and civil war). All his language work, including language activism in his community and his region, has been as a volunteer. (He has a day job as a physical education teacher).

In the last couple of years, Mr. Naser has developed collaborations with a team of linguist partners in academic institutions in the US and has decided to pursue a master's degree in Linguistics, a testament to his commitment to his language maintenance efforts and his passion for language and linguistics.


Brenda McKenna and Cora McKenna

Brenda McKenna and Dr. Cora McKenna are members of Nambé Pueblo in New Mexico who have made outstanding contributions towards the documentation and revitalization of their language, Nambé Tewa. These contributions include a dictionary and curriculum materials, language classes, community activities and resources, and team-building with Pueblo members and UNM linguists. Cora is a scholar who has demonstrated particular brilliance in linguistic analysis and teaching of her native Tewa. Brenda is a remarkably focused and energetic project leader. Together, they define collaborative community linguistics: their dedication to the revitalization of Tewa language and culture is a model and inspiration.

Previous years

2021 Chikari Tisso

2020 Mosyel Syelsaangthyel Khaling

2019 The Khumuno Wu'u Kotira Indigenous School Association (ASEKK)

2019 Nancy Richardson Steele, Karuk Tribe/Advocates for California Indigenous Language Survival

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

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

2016 Valerie Switzler (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon)

2015 Muriel Fisher (Tucson Gaelic Institute)

2014 Mary Ann Metallic (Listuguj Education Directorate – Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government)

About the 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.


  • Examples of types of language leaders who would typically be considered eligible include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Members of a minority language community who develop language teaching materials, teach language classes, and/or train other language users to be teachers, in order to increase the number of users 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/signers 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/signers of an under-described 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.
  • Academic linguists who are themselves members of the language community with whom they work and who make a significant contribution to advancement of the language.
  • Community members who do several of the activities above.

Nominees typically should NOT be:

  • those working towards or holding doctorates in linguistics or related fields; or
  • those employed in regular academic positions in a department of linguistics or related fields, although there may be exceptions (e.g. in the case of a community member who pursues a degree in linguistics after long work within the community).

Notes on criteria:

  • It should be noted that language users, learners, and supporters who do not speak/sign 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 users of the language, or some other means.

If a nominator has questions about whether a potential nominee would be likely to be considered eligible or not, they are encouraged to contact the LSA staff.