LSA Honors and Awards


2012 Leanne Hinton

For her tireless efforts in furthering the work of revitalization among indigenous Native American language communities—work that has vastly increased the positive image within these communities and in the general public of what linguists and linguistics can do for indigenous people beyond the traditional functions of creating archives and repositories of scientific data.


2012 Paul Newman

For services to the Society as volunteer (pro bono) Special Counsel, in which capacity he has helped the Society to navigate through numerous copyright issues as its publications move from print to electronic format.


2012 Nancy Dorian

For research on Scots Gaelic that spans a period of almost fifty years—perhaps the most sustained record of research on any endangered language; and for her effective advocacy for the cause of endangered language preservation and revitalization. Hers was one of the earliest and is still one of the most prominent voices raised in support of endangered languages.


2012 Seth Cable

For his outstanding contributions to both linguistic theory and the description of understudied languages, with extensive research based on original fieldwork and incorporating experimental techniques in the exploration of theoretical issues in formal semantics, syntax, and phonology.


2012 Thomas Weskott and Gisbert Fanselow "On the informativity of different measures of linguistic acceptability"
2012 Jon Sprouse "A test of the cognitive assumptions of magnitude estimation: Commutativity does not hold for acceptability judgments"

These two papers present related, compatible results concerning appropriate measures for gathering data about acceptability judgments. Both find that the widely-used technique of magnitude estimation is problematic for obtaining such judgments. These results have very broad relevance for experimentalists, not just in linguistics, but throughout cognitive science.


2012 Jack Martin

The Linguistic Society of America is pleased to present the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award to A Grammar of Creek (Muskogee), by Jack B. Martin (University of Nebraska Press, 2011). A meticulous description of enduring value to the Creek and scholarly communities, the work is distinctive in its comprehensive approach, which includes detailed acoustic analyses, sensitivity to dialectal variation, and consideration of theoretical issues that arise in the investigation of Muskogean languages. The grammar serves as an excellent model of how to do language description well.

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2011 Donna Christian

The Linguistic Society of America is pleased to present the Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award for 2011 to Dr. Donna Christian, for her outstanding service to the LSA since she became a member in 1971. Dr. Christian has served the LSA as a committee leader, as a presenter at Annual Meetings, as a faculty member at Linguistic Institutes, and as a valued colleague as President of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) for the past 15 years. She served as Chair of the LSA's Audit Committee during a period of financial stress for the LSA, and she has also served as Chair of the Language in the School Curriculum Committee. She has worked at CAL since 1972 (with a two-year interim as a Fulbright scholar in Poland) and has guided the Center through difficult times to a period of unprecedented growth. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics calls her one of the 'foremost authorities in the United States on language education and language in education'. As CAL President, she faithfully attended LSA Executive Committee meetings for many years, ensuring a close and mutually beneficial working relationship between the LSA and CAL. She has also served as a mentor and resource for the staff of the LSA Secretariat, providing guidance on issues of non-profit governance, fostering external relationships and networking, and making her staff available to assist with administrative problem-solving. As Dr. Christian prepares to retire from her position at CAL, it is fitting that the LSA recognize her long-standing service and contributions both to the linguistics profession and to the LSA as an organization.


2011 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO)

The Linguistic Society of America is pleased to present the Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award to NACLO, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. NACLO is an annual event, held at university and high-school sites all over North America, in which high-school students compete by solving linguistic problems. There is no particular computational focus in the problems; the name of the event comes from the fact that it was computational linguists who started it. The North American competition has two rounds; only the top scorers in Round 1 compete in Round 2. The top scorers from Round 2 form one or two teams that travel to compete in the International Linguistics Olympiad. In 2011, for the first time, the ILO (the 9th in the series) will be held in the United States. The 2011 competition will be the fifth since NACLO was founded; the number of high-school participants has risen from 195 in 2007 to over a thousand in 2010. NACLO has earned this award because of its growing success in informing the public painlessly, effectively, and enjoyably about linguistics and language, and in creating public enthusiasm for our discipline.


2011 Hans Boas The Life and Death of Texas German (Duke University Press, 2009)

The Linguistic Society of America is pleased to present the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award to The Life and Death of Texas German, by Hans Boas (Duke University Press, 2009). This masterful work combines a sociolinguistic analysis of the phonological, morphological, and syntactic developments in the German spoken in New Braunfels, Texas, with a study of the larger socio-historical context that framed these developments. Written lucidly and accessibly, the book contributes significantly to the understanding of the dynamics underlying new-dialect formation, language contact, language change, and language death.


2011 Nicholas Evans

The Linguistic Society of America is pleased to present the Kenneth L. Hale Award for 2011 to Dr. Nicholas Evans, Professor and Head of the School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific. The Award is given for outstanding linguistic scholarship undertaken by a junior or senior scholar that documents a particular endangered or no longer spoken language or language family. Nick Evans has long conducted fieldwork on Aboriginal languages of northern Australia and has recently begun a research project on the little-studied languages of the Morehead Region, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. He has published a grammar of Kayardild (1995) and a two-volume grammar entitled Bininj Gun-Wok: a pan-dialectal grammar of Mayali, Kunwinjku, and Kune (2003); he has also published dictionaries of Kayardild (1992) and Dalabon (2004, with Francesca Merlan and Maggie Tukumba). In addition, he has co-edited (with Felix Ameka and Alan Dench) an important book on grammar-writing, Catching language: the standing challenge of grammar writing. His 2009 book, Dying words: endangered languages and what they have to tell us, has had a significant impact, both within and outside linguistics, on the understanding of what will be lost if the world's endangered languages continue to vanish. Nick's contributions to the documentation of endangered languages make him a most deserving recipient of this award.


2010 Pamela Munro and Catherine Willmond, Let's Speak Chickasaw, Chikashshanompa' Kilanompoli'

A collaboration between a linguist and a native speaker, Let's Speak Chickasaw, Chikashshanompa' Kilanompoli' is both the first complete grammar of Chickasaw and its first textbook. It tells us much about Chickasaw grammar that was previously unknown or inaccessible. Its extraordinary depth, analytic sophistication, and lucid explanations of complex topics are a significant contribution to linguistics. It is also a timely model of a new type of pedagogical grammar for endangered languages aimed at community members, language teachers, linguists, and the public.


2009 Virginia Yip and Stephen Matthews, The Bilingual Child: Early Development and Language Contact (Cambridge, 2007)

The Bilingual Child: Early Development and Language Contact presents interesting new data and insightful analyses of bilingual development. Based on the most extensive bilingual corpus yet assembled and drawing on both generative and typological theoretical perspectives, the authors provide an extensive, informed and data-rich treatment of a difficult problem. The book sets a new standard for the study of childhood bilingualism, and shows how this study bears on many different areas of linguistics, including monolingual acquisition, language contact, syntactic theory, typology, and historical linguistics.


2008 William Labov, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg, The Atlas of North American English (Mouton de Gruyter, 2006)

The Atlas of North American English pictures the phonological divisions of North American English and includes a CD-ROM and website database. The result of a decade of interviews in metropolitan areas, ANAE combines boundary-making with careful considerations of sound change.


2006 R. M. W. Dixon, The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia (Oxford University Press)

R. M. W. Dixon's The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia, written with the assistance of Alan R. Vogel, is an invaluable record of a language in serious danger of extinction. The complexities of the language are unraveled with a clarity and insight that allow the reader to share in what the author describes as 'the intellectual pleasure of working out such a magnificent system'.


2004 Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum et al., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Cambridge University Press)

The Cambridge grammar of the English language is an extensive and readable account of current English usage makes accessible to professional and nonprofessional alike a vast body of linguistic knowledge about the English language drawn from many sources. It also makes available to this general readership many results of modern grammatical research. The authors offer a systematic and perspicuous account of English usage, underlining the importance of attending to the actual language of contemporary speakers. This grammar will help open the door to new approaches to the study and analysis of English as a language.


2002 Marianne Mithun, The Languages of Native North America (Cambridge University Press)

Marianne Mithun's The languages of Native North America is a reference work of permanent value, documenting the results of a century of work on the indigenous languages of North America (a topic which, we note, was an important concern for the scholar after whom this award is named). The permanent presence of Native North American languages in the records of human culture has been assured by the work that Mithun surveys and contributes to. Her synthetic work is done expertly, but in addition she contributes new and original observations on the basis of direct personal study and fieldwork on the complex structures of an array of little-studied languages. Her lucidly written book covers the history of the subfield, a survey of structural properties (including a wealth of examples), a catalogue of the language families including in each a sketch of a representative language, carefully prepared maps, and a massive bibliography. The book sets new standards for scholarship in our field and on every page demonstrates to the reader not only Mithun's deep scholarly concern but also her love and respect for the languages of this continent.


2000 Lyle Campbell, American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America (Oxford University Press)

Campbell’s book will stand as a landmark in American Indian linguistics and in historical linguistics more generally. It combines encyclopedic coverage of comparative and historical scholarship on languages of the Americas with a critical assessment of methods and criteria of establishing language relatedness. These strands are successfully brought together in a rigorous presentation and evaluation of relationships among American Indian languages.


1998 Alice C. Harris and Lyle Campbell, Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective (Cambridge University Press)

Engaging a large body of earlier literature and drawing extensively upon their own research, Professors Harris and Campbell present a set of important, attractive, and testable hypotheses on the universals and the limits of syntactic change. Despite the complexity of the topic, the writing is clear and accessible, and the proposals are superbly documented with material from a wide variety of languages. Historical syntax in cross-linguistic perspective is a benchmark work in syntax and historical linguistics.


1996 William Labov, Principles of Linguistic Change: Internal Factors (Blackwell Publishers)

The committee felt this book is a landmark in the study of language change. It not only presents a coherent and compelling account of the internal mechanics of phonological change, but it successfully integrates this account with theoretical advances in grammatical theory, sociolinguistics, and dialectology, as well as historical linguistics. Labov’s scholarship in this work is unsurpassed and ranges from a proposed solution to the Neogrammarian controversy, to an account of the changing dialect situation in the United States, to proposals for applying the theory of lexical phonology to the explanation of a set of historical paradoxes, and to exploring the limits of functional explanation.


1994 Johanna Nichols, Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time (University of Chicago Press)

Professor Nichols’ book, Linguistic diversity in space and time is a major contribution to linguistics, providing a novel framework for studying language history at great time-depth and over vast distances. The book pioneers an empiricist framework for the study of linguistic prehistory which searches for correlations over a large sampling of language and which examines structural, genetic, geographic, and population-related factors.

Nichols identifies phenomena that are stable in various senses—universally, genetically, and areally--and demonstrates how long range historical inferences of various types can be drawn from such material. The book is richly original, defining such new concepts as spread zones vs residual zones, homeland vs colonized areas, hotbed and outlier distributions, and global clines, and formulating a variety of important new morphosyntactic dimensions.

Linguistic diversity in space and time is significant within linguistics in that it places an old field, comparative linguistics, in a comprehensive context, offering a multidimensional, rather than solely genetic, approach to language prehistory. It is also significant well beyond linguistics in that it makes it possible to consider the independent contribution of language to cross-disciplinary scientific attempts to reconstruct the peopling of the globe.

By example, the book reminds us of the interrelatedness of aspects of linguistic work we often take to be highly separate, including the pursuit of universal grammar, historical linguistics, and the sociolinguistics of language change and of language contact. It demonstrates that the work in each of these areas has implications for others, while offering a framework in which this interrelatedness can fruitfully be pursued.


1992 Keren Rice, A Grammar of Slave (Mouton de Gruyter)

In bestowing the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award for 1989-91 on Keren Rice’s A grammar of Slave, published by Mouton de Gruyter, the Linguistic Society of America recognizes a work of exemplary scholarship that presents in its depth and analytic detail not only an exhausting account of the complex structure of Slave but one of the most complete descriptions of an Athabascan language ever written. In its encyclopedic scope and its organizational precision, A grammar of Slave is a work of enduring value to the community of linguists.


2010 Walt Wolfram, whose North Carolina Language and Life Project models sociolinguistic engagement and public outreach about the value and beauty of linguistic diversity. Through documentaries, museum exhibits, and dialect awareness curricula, Walt epitomizes his "principle of linguistic gratuity"": Researchers should seek ways to return linguistic favors to the speech communities in which they work.


2009 Language Log, a collaborative science blog devoted to linguistics and written by a team of more than a dozen prominent linguists, almost all of whom are members of the Linguistic Society of America. The award will be accepted on behalf of the Language Log team by two of its members: University of Pennsylvania professor of phonetics Mark Y. Liberman (who founded Language Log in 2003 along with Geoffrey K. Pullum, who is now at the University of Edinburgh) and Stanford professor of linguistics Arnold M. Zwicky (who has been a prolific and prominent contributor since shortly after the blog was started).


2006 Earl Rick Rickerson, producer of the radio series, "Talkin' about Talk, Year of Languages in the U.S". This series perfectly embodies the spirit of the Linguistics, Language and the Public Award. Each of 52 brief segments -- one for every week of the year -raises an intriguing question about language and calls on a noted linguist to discuss it. Lively and engaging as well as clear and succinct, these radio programs convey important principles of the science of language to a wide radio listenership.


2005 Deborah Tannen, who through her writing and public speaking has promoted the visibility of language and linguistics as part of the national culture for over 20 years.

The immediate impetus for this year's award is Professor Tannen's 2001 book, I only say this because I love you, which explores ways in which talk within the family, where we expect the most comfort and support, can sometimes be the source of the greatest discomfort and antagonism. The key to understanding and perhaps avoiding such difficulties, Tannen suggests, is to distinguish between the MESSAGES and METAMESSAGES our words convey and to attend to the ALIGNMENTS between conversational participants that our words build on and help to establish.

I only say this because I love you is, however, only the latest in a series of widely popular books in which Tannen has shared the insights of sociolinguistics and discourse analysis--and her knack for analyzing the nuances of everyday conversation--with the general public over the past 20 years. The list begins with Conversational style: Analyzing talk among friends (1984), and includes You just don't understand (1990) which was on The New York Times bestseller list for four years and sold over a million and half copies, Talking from 9 to 5: Women and men at work (1994), and The argument culture (1998). In 8 general audience books like these, backed up by another 10 edited and coedited scholarly collections, e.g. Perspectives on silence (1985), Handbook of discourse analysis (2001), and numerous academic articles, Tannen has helped us all to understand better such topics as conversational strategy, concord and conflict, indirectness, pacing, turn-taking, and silence and how these relate to differences of gender, ethnicity, class, and individual style.

The popularity of Tannen's general audience books and her countless columns in The Washington Post and other newspapers is due in part to the highly readable and accessible style in which they are written, a gift that many academics find elusive. But they also derive in part from the myriad appearances she has made on radio and television shows (like the Diane Rehm and Oprah Winfrey shows), and from her willingness to participate in other public discussions (like the May 2004 Aurora Forum at Stanford) without cutting back on her teaching and professional responsibilities. As she has said recently, she maintains her active involvement in the media and her active general audience writing out of a sense of responsibility to represent the (socio)linguistic viewpoint to the public and to add the linguistic perspective to that of psychologists and other commentators on relationships and public life. The Linguistic Society of America's Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award recognizes and commends her for the success with which she has fulfilled this responsibility, and continues to do so.


2003 John R. Rickford, co-author of Spoken Soul (John Wiley, 2000) and author of substantive contributions to discussions surrounding Ebonics and AAVE

John R. Rickford's career has placed a consistent priority on educating the public about matters related to languages and cultures of the African diaspora, especially African-Americans. His research helps the public recognize the systematicity of vernacular varieties of language, a recognition that is significant in countering racism in educational policies. His recent co-authored work, Spoken Soul, enlightens readers about those issues, at a particularly important moment in time, following the widely publicized debates about Ebonics and education.


2001 Geoffrey Nunberg, commentator on the NPR program Fresh Air

Geoffrey Nunberg's broadcasts for the NPR program Fresh Air have made linguistics come alive for millions of radio listeners. With just the right blend of technical sophistication, timeliness, and humor, he gives our discipline a graceful and powerful public voice.


1999 Eugene Searchinger, producer of The Human Language, a public television series of three films distributed in 1995

An independent filmmaker who immersed himself in the world of linguistics, Eugene Searchinger has brought language, linguistics, and linguists to the millions. With gripping footage, a deep respect for the subject matter, and a touch of humor, Searchinger’s television series, The Human Language, will be an enduring invitation to the wonders of language.


1997 Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct (William Morrow, 1994)

The language instinct ‘weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling theory: that language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution like web spinning in spiders or sonar in bats.’ Not only does he explain linguistics to the general public, he emphasizes linguistics’ role in understanding the ‘mind’—fundamental to understanding our very humanity. ‘It is a part of a whole new version of the human mind: not a general purpose computer but a collection of instincts adapted to solving evolutionary significant problems—the mind as a Swiss Army knife.’ Few who write about language are as successful at reaching the general public as Professor Pinker. His book was named one of the 10 Best Books of 1994 (all categories) by The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, The Times (London), and other newspapers; it has sold over 100,000 copies and appeared on bestseller lists. It was widely excerpted, has been featured on national television, and has been the subject of several PBS radio programs. Finally, it has been reviewed positively in over 50 journals and magazines.


2006 Robert W. Young, The Navajo language (with Willie Morgan, 1980, 1987) and supplementary volume, The Analytic lexicon of Navajo (with Sally Midgette, 1992)


2002 Ives Goddard and Kathleen Bragdon, Native Writings in Massachusett (APS, 1988)

Ives Goddard and Kathleen Bragdon's Native writings in Massachusett (APS, 1988) is, in the words of Ken Hale, a tour de force. Volume 1 contains the rich 17th- and 18th-century documentation of the Massachusett language (also known as Wampanoag or Natick), including the native language writings with translations and the Eliot Bible and documents related to it along with discussion of the process involved in assembling, transcribing, and translating the original documents; Volume 2 is a companion grammar. This outstanding body of linguistic knowledge provides resources for original research on Wampanoag. In addition, this text has been critical for the revitalization of this language that has not been spoken in many years. A citation would be incomplete without mention of the recent efforts by Jessie Fermino to revive the language, work that could never have occurred without the foundation of Goddard and Bragdon.


2010 Dr. D. Terence Langendoen, Over the course of a 45-year career, Dr. Langendoen has served the LSA in every elective office (Member of the Executive Committee, Secretary-Treasurer, and President), on numerous committees, including the Program Committee and the Editorial Board of Language, and as Director of the 1986 Linguistic Institute. Beyond his work for the LSA, Dr. Langendoen has made important contributions to the linguistics profession in general. His wisdom, diligence, and good nature have made him a person much sought after for important tasks, and he has always responded with a will. He is an exemplary recipient of the Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award.


2007 N. Louanna Furbee is an outstanding recipient of the Victoria A. Fromkin award for service to the Linguistic Society of America and to the profession. Since her graduate days at the University of Chicago, her service to the field of linguistics has been exemplary.

Her service to the LSA alone is exemplary. She has served as the Archivist for the LSA since 1998 and, prior to that, was co-archivist for two years. In addition, she served on the Committee on the Status of Women (1977-1979) and the Language Review Committee (1984-85).

Professor Furbee's service to the profession is widespread and longstanding, and is too extensive to do it justice in these brief remarks. In addition to her deep commitment to the LSA, she has given no less generously to a host of other professional organizations. These include the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA), where she served as President from 1987-1988; Vice-President (1986-87); Executive Committee (1987-89); Chair, The SSILA Book Award Committee (1988-89) and as a Member of the Selection Committee for the Mary R. Haas Book Award (1999-2001). She has also held positions in the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, the American Anthropological Association, and served as the liaison to the American Association for the Advancement of Science for AAA, as well as the Foundation for Endangered Languages, to name just a few.

It would, however, be misleading to consider Professor Furbee's contributions to the field of linguistics just from the standpoint of her professional service. First and foremost she has contributed to the field through her research. A dedicated fieldworker, she has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to the study of indigenous languages, working closely with and for the communities themselves.


2006 Margaret W. Reynolds, Executive Director, Linguistic Society of America.


2005 Ivan Sag, who for over 30 years has contributed to the organizational and financial success of the Society and especially to the development of Linguistic Institutes.

Ivan A. Sag, the 2005 recipient of the Victoria A. Fromkin Prize for service to the field of linguistics, is a force of nature. Luckily for his colleagues in linguistics, that amazing force has been directed towards many projects for the general good of the discipline. The LSA is especially grateful for the extraordinary talents and energy he has invested in summertime linguistic institutes. To many, Ivan is "Mr. Institute": Not only did he direct early in his career the enormously successful 1987 Stanford institute, but he has served as associate director for three other institutes, including the MIT-Harvard institute, and, while still a graduate student, as "special consultant" for the 1974 U MA-Amherst institute. A student at three institutes during his graduate career, he has been on the faculty of at least eight more, organizing conferences or workshops at several including one where he did not teach. Through his own direct organizing skills as well as serving on committees and helping draft various documents, he has helped the LSA keep institutes successful. Ivan upped both the intellectual and the economic payoff, not only introducing corporate sponsorship for institute courses but even turning them into ongoing revenue streams by marketing tapes. Beyond these administrative achievements, Ivan has been central to creating the special atmosphere that makes institutes so attractive to linguists at all stages of their careers: Playing with the "Dead Tongues", organizing accommodations in empty sorority houses replete with French chefs, engaging colleagues and students in lively linguistic discussions, and more. Institute concerns by no means exhaust Ivan's involvement in the LSA: Not only is he one of the most faithful attendees and regular presenters at the Annual Meetings, but he has served with distinction on the Executive Committee, the Program Committee (as chair one year), and in several other capacities including as liaison to the Association for Computational Linguistics. Ivan has also been very active in forging international connections among linguists, not only through lecturing and teaching abroad but also through organizing conferences and undertaking research with colleagues around the globe. Ivan Sag is not only a very distinguished and influential linguistic scholar, he is also an exceptionally committed and effective citizen of the larger linguistics community, not just here in America but throughout the world.


2004 Eugene Nida, who has not only been a member of the Society for over 60 years but who has served as Vice President (1960) and President (1968) and as financial/investment advisor for more than 30 years.

The Linguistic Society of America presents the Victoria A. Fromkin Prize for Distinguished Service to Dr. Eugene A. Nida, whose service to the Society and to the field of linguistics spans more than 60 years. Dr. Nida joined the LSA in 1939, was elected Vice President in 1960, and President in 1968. Since that time, he has served as a financial advisor to the LSA, both informally and formally as a member of the Finance Committee. Upon his recommendation early on, the LSA invested its endowment fund in a broad and diversified range of securities holdings, with the result that our endowment benefited tremendously from the run-up in market values over the past 25 years. Throughout this time, Dr. Nida has shared his expertise without hesitation whenever it has been requested, on questions ranging from what stocks to buy or sell on a particular occasion to overall investment strategy.

Dr. Nida was involved in an important decision in 1984 when the LSA was faced with the question of whether to continue to rent office space in Washington or to terminate its sublease and purchase its own space. Without hesitation, he recommended that we purchase our own headquarters in Washington and finance it ourselves by allowing the endowment to hold the mortgage. As a result, the Society was able to purchase the condominium office it still occupies at Dupont Circle for a very reasonable price with no loss to its endowment funds, as the mortgage has now been paid off, and the value of the condo has appreciated handsomely.

However, Dr. Nida's service as a financial advisor to the LSA is only the tiniest bit of his contribution to the field as a whole. Throughout his years working first for the Summer Institute of Linguistics, then for the American Bible Society, and for the past 25 years in what can only technically be called retirement, he has been one of the most effective spokespersons for the field of linguistics that the world has ever known.


2003 Anthony Aristar and Helen Dry, for establishing LinguistList.

The Victoria A. Fromkin Distinguished Service Prize is going this year to Anthony Aristar and Helen Aristar-Dry for their extraordinary contributions to the field of linguistics through LINGUIST LIST. They and their efficient and effective crew at Eastern Michigan University have led linguists into the new electronic world. The LSA and its members offer them this small token of our great appreciation.


2002 Kathleen Fenton, for her professional contributions to the editing of the journal Language for the last 30 years.

I [Mark Aronoff] have been asked to put down a few words about the recipient of this year's Vicki Fromkin award for service to the Society, our outgoing proofreader, Kate Fenton. Ms. Fenton began working for Language a little over 30 years ago, after a career at the predecessor of the National Security Administration, where she learned both Vietnamese and Indonesian in the early 1950s, and while she was working as Thomas Sebeok's administrative assistant. As she puts it, Bill Bright was looking for a proofreader, gave her a test, and she passed. It is difficult to believe how valuable Ms. Fenton has been to Language without seeing her work, which has been invisible to all but the editorial staff. She checks everything from the percentages in tables (they often don't add up) to the consistency in citing a given work across issues. She knows every quirk of the prescribed style of every section of Language, some of which has never been written down and exists only as oral tradition, presumably since the time of Sapir. She is always pleasant and completely unflappable. Truly, Kate Fenton has been the soul of Language. It has been a great honor to work with her. The Fromkin award is a small way to recognize formally her immeasurable contribution through more than 30 years of service to the Society.


2001 Paul Chapin, for his support of colleagues and the discipline in his role as Linguistics Program Director at NSF for over 30 years.

The Linguistic Society of America is proud to award the Victoria A. Fromkin Prize for Public Service to Dr. Paul Chapin for over 25 years of distinguished public service for the field of linguistics. Paul received his PhD in linguistics in 1967 and was a member of the faculty at the University of California-San Diego until 1975. From 1975 until October 1999, Paul served as Program Director for Linguistics at the National Science Foundation and is currently Senior Program Officer for Scientific Initiatives at NSF. Paul is the very paragon of public service in our field, having sacrificed what would have undoubtedly been an outstanding career in university teaching and research to work at NSF. He has dedicated most of his professional life to the support of his colleagues in their linguistics research and has encouraged the field to grow and develop along the lines that its practitioners have wanted, not in accordance with his own ideas of what counts as 'good' linguistic research. As a result, the field has developed in ways that could not have been anticipated when he took the Linguistics Program Director position at NSF in 1975.


2010 Ethan Poole Since February 2009, Ethan Poole has donated many hours of his time as the volunteer webmaster for the LSA's website, patiently working to improve both the content and navigability of the site. In addition to this important contribution, Ethan also donated the domain name, www.linguisticsociety.org, for use by the LSA. Ethan Poole has saved the LSA a great deal of money during a time of financial hardship for the Society, while also considerably improving our member services and marketing efforts.


2008 Mary Catherine O'Connor, for exemplary service to the Society in her capacity as Co-Chair of the Program Committee.

In her four years on the Program Committee, Cathy oversaw the transition from a brick-and-mortar operation to an electronic one, and a comprehensive system of expert external reviewers, which has led to a much more informed - and fair - reviewing process.

Cathy has contributed literally hundreds of hours of her time - replete with her characteristic grace and wit - expecting (and until now receiving) nothing in return. Her service to the Society has been nothing short of extraordinary and the Society is forever in her debt.


2007 Kristen Syrett In recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the Society as the Bloch Fellow and as a member of the Information Technology Advisory Group (ITAG), the Executive Committee unanimously voted to award Kristen Syrett the Linguistic Service Award along with a life membership in the Society.