The Five-Minute Linguist is a high-profile event which features eight LSA members giving lively and engaging presentations about their research in a manner accessible to the general public. No notes, no podium, and an actual timer. These five-minute presentations are judged by a panel of journalists as well as the audience itself, and a winner is chosen at the end of the event. The goal of this event is to encourage LSA members to practice presenting their work to a broad audience and to showcase outstanding examples of members who can explain their research in an accessible way. The 2023 LSA Annual Meeting Program is now available here. 

The First Five Minute Linguist Event (2017)

Events and Sponsors

2022 - unsponsored, Washington, DC

2021 Cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 - unsponsored, New Orleans, LA

2019 - Montclair State University

2018 - University of Utah

2017 - University of Texas, Austin

Interested in sponsoring next year’s event? Email Margaret Vitullo, the LSA's Executive Director.

Five Minute Linguist FAQ

Q: How can I enter the event? 

A: When the call for abstracts goes out for the Annual Meeting, all LSA members will be allowed to prepare a 300-word abstract for the Five Minute Linguist event. Members who submit abstracts for posters and/or 20-minute talks for the Annual Meeting will see a checkbox which they may use to enter their abstract for this event, but abstracts will also be accepted that are not concurrently submitted for the Annual Meeting and may have been presented elsewhere, or that are being considered for presentation at one of the LSA's Sister Societies.

Please note, the ideal Five Minute Linguist abstract is not simply a shortened version of the main (500-word) LSA abstract. Instead, it should be written in an accessible style that would be more suitable for the target audience, namely, the general public. The Selection Committee is trying to determine how effective the speaker would likely be at giving a publicly accessible version of their talk and the abstract is used to provide guidance on that matter.

Q. Are multi-authored abstracts allowed?

A: Yes, but in the event the abstract is selected as a finalist for the event, only one author may present in person.

Q: Does submitting an abstract for the Five Minute Linguist affect the number of abstracts I can submit for regular 20-minute paper and poster sessions?

A: No.  Any LSA member may submit a maximum of one single-authored abstract for consideration as a 20-minute paper or a poster, and there is no limit on the number of multi-author abstracts.  But abstracts submitted for the Five Minute Linguist do not count towards this total. 

Q: How will the presenters be selected?

A: The Selection Committee is composed of members of the LSA's Public Relations Committee, the Outreach Committee, the Program Committee, and recent recipients of the LSA Journalism Award.  Presentations will be primarily selected from among the abstracts submitted especially for this event: please note that the committee views the abstracts as representative of what the talk will be like. Your abstract should be accessible to a broad audience just as the talk should be. If necessary, the Selection Committee may invite authors of other submitted abstracts or other members of the LSA community to participate. The Committee will select eight presentations for the event.

Q: How will the event unfold?

A: On the evening before the presentations, presenters will attend a coaching session where they will receive feedback about how to make their presentations more accessible. The public event will be videorecorded for later posting online. Each participant will speak for five minutes; visual aids (power point slides) will be allowed but participants are expected to speak without notes. The talks will be judged by a panel of journalists and the winners will be chosen by a combined vote of the panel and the audience. 

Q: What is the prize?

A: The winner will receive a commemorative plaque and a one-year complimentary LSA membership. All participants will be invited to prepare their presentation for further consideration for the LSA’s Press Release program. 

Q. Is this event related to the book or radio program of the same name?

A. The LSA is the beneficiary of a generous donation of author royalties from the sale of the 5-Minute Linguist. Many LSA leaders and members contributed content to both the book and the radio feature. The LSA obtained permission from both the authors and the publisher to use this name for our event. 

Q: What if I have questions about entering the event?

A: Email Margaret Vitullo, the LSA's Executive Director.