In 2020, the LSA continued its ongoing programs and services on behalf of its mission: to advance the scientific study of language. Highlights of new and expanded activities are outlined below.

Professional Development and Education

Scholarships, Professorships, Honors & Awards

  • Granted diversity travel awards to six students attending the 2020 Annual Meeting, under the auspices of the LSA’s Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics.
  • Made the first Elizabeth Dayton Award to support travel and related expenses for a graduate student in sociolinguistics to attend the LSA Annual Meeting.
  • Presented the first C. L. Baker Award to an outstanding syntactician in mid-career, Jon Sprouse.
  • Launched the LSA Mentoring Award and selected Monica Macaulay as the first recipient.
  • Successfully concluded  major fundraising drives to establish a new CoLang student fellowship in honor of the late LSA President Emmon Bach, and a lectureship in honor of late LSA member Richard Oehrle.
  • Endowed two new awards in honor of Morris Halle and Victoria Fromkin, for student and early career phonologists.



Public Outreach and Media Relations

  • Produced 21 episodes of our new language and linguistics podcast, Subtitle, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Convened a Task Force on Media Resources to address concerns raised by the linguistics community about the LSA’s role in listing experts for contact by journalists on our website.
  • Coordinated the LSA’s participation in UNESCO’s planning for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022‑2032, in partnership with SSILA.
  • Expanded the LSA outreach to K-12 teachers via free Annual Meeting registration and the publication of an open access article in Language on the Advanced Placement Linguistics initiative.
  • Increased our reach on social media via daily posts about linguistics news stories appearing in the popular news media: over 42K followers on Facebook and almost 28K followers on Twitter.
  • With support from NSF, co-sponsored a language science and linguistics booth at AAAS’ Family Science Days.

Continuing Traditions

  • Organized the LSA’s 94th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, including the popular Five-minute Linguist event, now in its fifth year, reaching a standing-room-only audience. Planning for first-ever virtual meeting in 2021.
  • Increased readership of our flagship journal, Language, via online sections on: Teaching Linguistics, Public Policy, Research Reports, Language Documentation and Revitalization and Perspectives.
  • Continued LSA co-sponsorship of CoLang and supported planning associated with CoLang 2020 at University of Montana, which was postponed until 2022 as a result of COVID-19.
  • Published the fifth volume of the Proceedings of the LSA based on research presented at the 2020 Annual Meeting, and new volumes of the Proceedings of the AMP and SALT.
  • Issued a series of news releases about the latest research published in its journals and presented at its Annual Meeting, garnering significant coverage in prominent international media outlets.
  • Provided financial assistance and in-kind support for linguists seeking to attend the LSA Annual Meeting and access LSA publications, including a new campaign to support LSA members impacted by COVID-19.
  • Published a new volumes of Semantics & Pragmatics, and Phonological Data & Analysis, the platinum open-access journals of the LSA.
  • Issued the seventh edition of the LSA’s Annual Report on the State of Linguistics in Higher Education [pdf], with new longitudinal LSA data.
  • Represented linguists at national and international meetings of colleague organizations and through participation in coalitions and consortia working to advance science, the humanities, and higher education.
  • Defended linguistics departments and programs against threats of cuts or elimination by contacting administrators and officials and by working behind the scenes to provide data in support of the value of linguistics.
  • Conducted successful membership recruitment and retention campaigns using a range of strategies, including social media coupons, bulk student memberships for departments/programs, and specialized outreach by staff and leadership to participants in various LSA programs and services. 
  • Sponsored a Joint Membership Program with the American Dialect Society (ADS), offering reduced rates to LSA members wishing to join ADS.