The Five-Minute Linguist is a high-profile event during which selected speakers will be judged on their ability to present their research in a brief but informative way.  These five-minute presentations should be lively and engaging, delivered without notes on a stage without a podium, with audiovisual effects of the speaker’s choosing. The talks should be directed to a nonspecialist audience, may come from any subfield of the science, and must display qualities that will attract interdisciplinary interest.

One of the LSA's strategic goals is to help improve the visibility of linguistic research.  The LSA cannot do this on its own, but it can help linguists to help themselves.  This event is designed to encourage the sort of concise, accessible presentations that lend themselves, for example, to publication in high-profile journals like Science and Nature.

We encourage all LSA members who plan to attend the meeting to consider submitting an abstract for this event. And we look forward to having our attendees vote on the entries!

See below for specific instructions on how to submit an abstract for The Five-minute Linguist, or read on for answers to some commonly-asked questions about the event.

How to submit an abstract for The Five-minute Linguist

Abstracts for The Five-minute Linguist are submitted using the standard LSA abstract submission interface.  Log in to the LSA website and click here to submit an abstract, or click the green "Submit Abstract" button below your name on your home page. Be sure to consult the Call for Abstracts if you are also submitting your abstract for consideration as a 20-minute paper or poster. 

To submit an abstract for a poster or 20-minute paper AND for The Five-minute Linguist

In addition to the usual requirements for abstract submission, 1) after entering the title of the abstract, the language and language families, submission type, and primary and secondary linguistic subfields, check the " Click here if you wish this abstract to be considered for the "Five-Minute Linguist"" checkbox; 2) enter an abstract no longer than 300 words in the box titled "300-word abstract for the 'Five-Minute Linguist.'"

To submit an abstract ONLY for The Five-minute Linguist

1) Enter all the required information:  title, language, language family, submission type (select "paper" for primary and leave secondary as "none"), and primary and secondary linguistic field; 2) CHECK the "Click here if you wish this abstract to be considered for the "Five-Minute Linguist"" checkbox; 3) UNCHECK the "Click here if you wish this abstract to be considered for presentation as a regular poster or paper at the Annual Meeting" checkbox; 4) upload a "dummy" copy of your 300-word abstract in the field for uploading your regular abstract, another "dummy" copy in the text box for the abstract summary, and a "real" copy in the "300-word abstract for the 'Five-Minute Linguist'" checkbox.  

Please contact Mary Jo Olsavsky, the LSA's Meeting Manager, if you have any difficulty submitting an abstract.


Five-minute Linguist F.A.Q.

Q: How can I enter the event? 

A: When the call for abstracts goes out for the Annual Meeting, all LSA members will be invited to prepare a 300-word abstract for the event, including those based on presentations given earlier in the year in other venues. 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.

All abstracts will be submitted using the same online form as for regular poster and paper abstracts for the Annual Meeting.  If you are interested, be sure to check the box indicating your interest in having your abstract considered for this event.  If you are submitting your abstract for a poster or 20-minute paper for the Annual Meeting, you must enter a 300-word version of your abstract in the text box where indicated in addition to submitting the main (500-word) and short (100-word) versions.  If you are submitting your abstract only for this event, you must upload a 300-word version of your abstract in addition to the main (500-word) and the short (100-word) versions. 

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 on stage.

Q: How will the participants be selected?

A: The Selection Committee is composed of two members of the LSA's Public Relations Committee, a member of the Outreach Committee, a member of the Program Committee, and the most recent recipient of the LSA Journalism Award.  The Committee will select eight presentations for inclusion in The Five-Minute Linguist event.  Presentations will be selected from among 1) abstracts submitted by LSA members who have indicated an interest in being considered for this event; 2) any abstracts flagged by reviewers and/or by the Program Committee as likely candidates for this event; 3) other abstracts as invited by members of the Selection Committee.  Ideally, half the presenters will be students and half nonstudents.

Q: How will the event unfold?

A: On the evening before the presentations, a “coaching-feedback” practice session will be held for the selected presenters by members of the Selection Committee and attending journalists (see below).  The actual presentations will be made in a plenary session emceed by a member of the Selection Committee or an LSA member selected by them and will be videorecorded.  Each participant will be given five minutes for a presentation that will receive constructive, friendly feedback from a panel of three journalists, including the two most recent recipients of the LSA Journalism Award and a local journalist.   The final judging will be done by 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 provided with a certificate and an invitation 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 Mary Jo Olsavsky, the LSA's Meeting Manager.