Slate of Candidates for 2013

Elections for the Slate of Candidates for 2013 concluded on November 3, 2012.  The candidates underlined, below, were elected and will take office at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting in January 2013. 

The Nominating Committee has submitted the following slate of members to stand for election in September-November 2012:

Vice President/President-Elect:
Executive Committee (2 at-large seats):

For the LSA guidelines on committee nominations, please see the LSA Constitution, Article IV.

A brief biographical summary and statement for each candidate is included below.

Biographical Summaries and Statements

Candidate for Vice President/President-Elect (1-year term, with two additional years on the Executive Committee as President and Past President):

Joan Maling (Brandeis University)

Joan Maling (Ph.D. MIT 1973) is Professor Emerita of linguistics at Brandeis University, where she taught from 1972-2003. She wrote her doctoral dissertation, The Theory of Classical Arabic Metrics, under the supervision of Morris Halle. She has published on many aspects of the syntax of Modern Icelandic, especially case, word order, passive, preposition-stranding and long distance reflexives, and on case alternations in Finnish, Korean and German as well as Icelandic. In December, 2009, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Iceland for her contributions to Icelandic linguistics. She was a founding co-editor of the journal Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, and served as editor for twenty-five years. Since June, 2003, she has been Director of the Linguistics Program at the National Science Foundation, where she was instrumental in starting the new Documenting Endangered Languages Program. In 2007, she was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2008, a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. Her service to the LSA includes a term as Advisor to the Programs Committee (2002-2004), the Bloomfield Book Award Committee (2002-2003), and Chair of the Resolutions Committee (2009-2010).

She is the co-editor (with Annie Zaenen) of Modern Icelandic Syntax (1990, Syntax and Semantics 24). Other publications include “Non‑Clause‑Bounded Reflexives in Icelandic,” Linguistics and Philosophy 7 (1984); “Case and Grammatical Functions: The Icelandic Passive,” Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 3 (1985) with Annie Zaenen & Höskuldur Thráinsson; “Case in Tiers,” Language 63 (1987) with Moira Yip & Ray Jackendoff; “Case Assignment in the Inalienable Possession Construction in Korean,” Journal of East Asian Linguistics 1 (1992) with Soowon Kim; “Dative: The heterogeneity of mappings among morphological case, grammatical functions and theta roles,” Lingua 111 (2001). In the last decade, she has published a number of papers together with Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir on the morphosyntactic, sociolinguistic and diachronic aspects of a new syntactic construction developing in Icelandic.

Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer (5-year term):

Patrick Farrell (University of California, Davis)

Patrick Farrell received his Ph.D. from UC San Diego in 1991 and is Professor of Linguistics at UC Davis, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1990. His published work, which appears in numerous journals and books, including Grammatical Relations (Oxford University Press, 2005) and Thematic Relations and Relational Grammar (Garland, 1993), focuses primarily on issues in English and comparative syntax and semantics, from the perspective of both generative and cognitive/functional theories. His administrative service includes a five-year term as chair of the Department of Linguistics at UC Davis and two years as director of the Brazilian center of the Education Abroad Program of the University of California. He has served the LSA as an associate editor for Language, as chair of the Program Committee, and as a member of a search committee for the editor of Language.


As Secretary-Treasurer of the LSA, I intend to support its missions, by working cooperatively with the Secretariat staff and the Executive Committee to provide excellent services to the membership, to ensure that the Society continues to operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner, and to contribute to its long-term organizational and fiscal well-being. I hope to emulate the lofty examples of successful service that have been set by my predecessors in this office.

Candidates for 2 At-Large Seats on the Executive Committee (3-year term):

Patrice Speeter Beddor (University of Michigan)

Patrice Speeter Beddor (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1982) is Collegiate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan, where she has been on the faculty since 1987. Before moving to Michigan, she was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Haskins Laboratories and taught at Yale University. Her primary research interest is the relation between the cognitive representation of speech and its physical instantiation. Her recent work in this area, funded by NSF, investigates the production, perception, and phonology of coarticulation, including the role of coarticulation in sound change. Beddor was department chair for six years, and during that time became interested in the challenges faced by relatively small departments within a large university. She is currently a member of the task force of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to develop an undergraduate concentration in cognitive science, a joint endeavor of the Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology Departments. She served on, and chaired, the LSA Bloomfield Book Award Committee and, while department chair, submitted a successful proposal to host the 2013 LSA Linguistic Institute at the University of Michigan. She is on the steering committee for that institute, and also taught at the 2003 institute. Beddor was formerly editor of the Journal of Phonetics, and an NSF and NIH review panelist. She is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, served on that society's technical committee, and is on several editorial boards.


I highlight two areas where the LSA can play an important role in supporting linguistics departments and linguistic scholarship, and consider a third issue, LSA membership, that the LSA Executive Committee will be addressing.

Linguistics is increasingly successful in reaching out to high school students (through such programs as the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad) and undergraduates. A measure of this success is the recent growth in many undergraduate linguistics programs. In a 2011 LSA roundtable presentation, Alyson Reed reported, that, from 1998 to 2008, the rate of increase in Linguistics B.A. degrees was three times the overall rate for B.A. degrees awarded in the U.S. However, many linguistic programs continue to be less successful in establishing their broader role within the college. For example, the inherent, important relations between linguistics and other disciplines, and especially the role of linguistics in the cognitive sciences, are often not well understood administratively, with the result that linguistics departments often manage with fewer resources than other comparably sized departments. The LSA, through the relatively new Linguistics in Higher Education Committee, can and should provide infrastructure support to departments in ways that will help them create strong interdisciplinary allies and participate in administrative dialogues crucial to sustaining vibrant, relevant linguistics programs.

With growing numbers of Linguistics B.A.s comes increased responsibility to broadly train these students as linguists who will be competitive for an appropriate range of job opportunities. Linguistics awards many times more Ph.D.s per 100 B.A.s than is the average across all disciplines. In one respect, this pattern may be an encouraging sign that we are training students who are passionate about the field and want to continue. But the trend likely also means that many Linguistics B.A.s do not know what they can do with the degree without advanced study. Moreover, the academic market simply cannot accommodate growth in graduate programs. Some departments have already developed innovative curricula that provide diverse, marketable training for undergraduates. The LSA can play an important role in promoting and disseminating information about these developments. This same role holds at the graduate level, where essential computational, experimental, and statistical skills often cannot be provided by the faculty of a small department. We can learn from cross-departmental collaborations that have succeeded at other institutions.

Even modest ventures that use LSA resources (meetings, institutes, workshops) to promote initiatives and develop collaborations require a society that is sufficiently funded to support them. Along with many other academic societies, LSA is facing declining membership. Because some membership benefits (such as access to Language) are now available to many non-members, we must identify and advertise other services that members value. These services exist and include, for example, the LSA's public policy initiatives and activities to promote linguistic diversity. The LSA should promote these and other initiatives, particularly those that have societal impact, in ways that reach out to a wide range of potential members.

Ellen Broselow (Stony Brook University)

Ellen Broselow's research and teaching focuses on phonology, the interfaces of phonology with phonetics and morphology, and second language phonology and phonetics. Since receiving the Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1976 she has taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, and the University of Texas at Austin, and has been at Stony Brook since 1983, where she served as department chair from 1993-1999, and received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring in 2012. She was Associate Editor of Natural Language and Linguistic Theory from 1989-2002, and is currently a member of the editorial boards of Language and Linguistics Compass, Linguistic Analysis, Linguistic Inquiry, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Phonology, and Second Language Research. She taught at the LSA Summer Institute in 1991, as well as at LOT summer schools in Tilburg and Utrecht, and has been a member of COSWIL, the Bloomfield Book Award Committee, and the LSA Program Committee.


One of the biggest challenges facing the LSA is to define the role of a discipline-based organization in an environment that increasingly values interdisciplinary enterprises. The LSA plays an important role in defining linguistics for researchers in other fields, and in convincing them of the relevance of the work that linguists do to their own research. But there is still much to be done in this area: researchers exploring human cognition often fail to recognize their need for the knowledge of linguistic structure and linguistic typology that is the preserve of linguists, and even the areas designated ‘applied linguistics’ may fail to incorporate useful insights from basic linguistic research in language teaching. One initiative the Executive Committee could explore is the possibility of facilitating interdisciplinary interaction by, for example, negotiating reciprocity agreements that would offer reduced membership rates for simultaneous membership in the LSA and a counterpart society, or reduced registration fees at conferences for members of a counterpart society.

In addition to its outreach to other academic disciplines, the LSA has played a central role in education, advocacy, and outreach to the general public. Here too there is more work to be done; the fact that The New Yorker recently chose a dance critic to review books on English usage, rather than someone with even the most basic knowledge of linguistics, indicates just how far we still have to go before language is generally recognized as the object of serious scientific study. I see the ultimate goal of the LSA as a world in which the absence of any linguistics classes in a high school, college, or university would be as inconceivable as the absence of any history or math classes.

Finally, the continued vitality of our discipline rests on the availability of jobs for linguists. I would like to see increased efforts to locate funding opportunities for postdoctoral fellowships, a commodity that is relatively rare in our field, as well as systematic collection and dissemination of data on degrees granted in different areas and on job placements in both academic and non-academic areas.

Sonja Lanehart (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Sonja L. Lanehart is Professor and Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

Her research interests include sociolinguistics, language and uses of literacy in African American communities, language and identity, Critical Race Theory and intersectionality methods and methodologies, and the educational implications of sociolinguistic research. Besides authoring numerous articles and book chapters, she is also the author of Sista, Speak! Black Women Kinfolk Talk about Language and Literacy (University of Texas Press, 2002), editor of Sociocultural and Historical Contexts of African American English (John Benjamins, 2001) and African American Women's Language: Discourse, Education, and Identity (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), and lead editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of African American Language (expected late 2013). She has organized several conferences on African American Language as well as New Ways of Analyzing Variation 27 (University of Georgia) and 39 (UTSA).

A Life Member of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), she has been active in its work for several years, including chairing the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL) and participating in the Language in the School Curriculum committee (LiSC) and the Linguistics in Higher Education Committee (LiHE). She also convenes the LSA African American Languages Special Interest Group.


My primary reasons for wanting to serve LSA as a member of the Executive Committee are to:

  1. Increase the ethnic and gender diversity of students and faculty in all areas of linguistics and language research, hence my employment at a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (i.e., UTSA) and my convening of the nascent LSA African American Languages SIG and participation in CEDL. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “enhancing the effectiveness of LSA in meeting the needs of the membership, increasing member participation in the Society, and attracting new members, particularly … minority members.”

  2. Mentor and train emerging scholars, hence my involvement in several formal and informal mentoring programs in organizations (e.g., the American Educational Research Association and the American Psychological Association Division 15: Educational Psychology) and at my institution. For example, as co-editor of Educational Research: Research News and Comment (2003-2006), the journal that goes out 9 times each year to all 22,000+ American Educational Research Association members, I co-created a Graduate Student Advisory Board that gained experience in all aspects of the peer review process. More LSA members and all scholars need to be involved in mentoring emerging scholars at their own institutions as well as through LSA. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “enhancing the effectiveness of the LSA in meeting the needs of the membership … particularly student members.”

  3. Disseminate and integrate Linguistics with P-16 education of teachers, students, families, and communities. LSA has made great strides in this area with LiHE and LiSC, but we can do more. I work with my local schools to an extent through volunteering, but it is not enough. More collaboration and support are needed for greater success. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “increasing the visibility of linguistics to … the general public.”

  4. Improve the technology and website of LSA. Though strides have been made with the Technology Advisory Committee and its predecessors, more improvements are needed for better communication and better use of technology for the tool it is. For example, current technology allows for meeting program apps that make the convention more accessible and flexible for members. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “harnessing technologies in new ways to serve the linguistics community.”

  5. Broaden the LSA program and membership through inclusion of differing methods, methodologies, disciplines involving language research, disciplines that are more praxis oriented, and interdisciplinary research. As the premier linguistic annual meeting, LSA needs to be more inclusive. For example, I saw the increase in NWAV 39 participation with the solicitation and inclusion of more subfields, methods, and methodologies. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “enhancing the effectiveness of the LSA in meeting the needs of the membership, increasing member participation in the Society, and attracting new members.”

  6. Enhance the LSA annual meeting structure and session formats to better engage and support changes in LSA membership and their interests and the growing needs of its members at all levels and varying skills — senior faculty, emerging scholars, private sector workers, and undergraduate students. For example, roundtables, meet the editors sessions for editors of various linguistics related journals, PBS-format sessions, more professional development sessions, and multimedia sessions could be useful. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “enhancing the effectiveness of the LSA in meeting the needs of the membership.”

  7. Broaden the scope and structure of LSA publications for more inclusion at all levels and in all fields as well as in reaching out to the public and education. For example, creating a short quarterly brochure (e.g., a one-page letter size folding brochure) on some aspect of linguistics that is relevant to the public that could be targeted to policy-makers or an e-newsletter that goes to go school administrators and teachers. This aligns with LSA’s goal for “increasing the visibility of linguistics to our academic colleagues outside the discipline, to the news media, and to the general public.”

I believe LSA has a lot to offer its members as it grows and its mission and goals evolve. Since breaking away from the Modern Languages Association, LSA has developed its own identity. Collaborating with the various Sister Societies and being more inclusive on all fronts bodes well for LSA’s sustainability and impact into the next century.

Colin Phillips (University of Maryland)

Colin Phillips is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, where he also directs the interdepartmental program in Language Science and is Associate Director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program. He has a BA in medieval German (Oxford University, 1990) and a PhD in linguistics (MIT, 1996). His research investigates linguistic representation and computation using theoretical, psychological, neuroscientific and developmental approaches, and it has spanned phonology, syntax, and semantics. His work has appeared in such journals as Language, Linguistic Inquiry, Cognition, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and he has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies. In 2011 he received his university's Graduate Mentor of the Year award, and was named as a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher. Over the past 10 years he has led efforts to build an interdisciplinary community of language scientists at Maryland, which now numbers 200 faculty, researchers and PhD students across 10 departments. In addition to service on editorial boards and grant review panels, Phillips is currently on the steering committee for Linguistics and Language Science of AAAS, and gives frequent talks about linguistics to general audiences. He taught at the 2005 and 2011 LSA Institutes.


I became a linguist because I was amazed by the simplicity of the field's central question: what it is about human minds that make language(s) possible, and how can just about any child learn any language given suitable exposure? This is one of the most compelling puzzles in science, it is unavoidably draws on multiple skill sets. The broad relevance of linguistics should be especially high now, given current needs in education and clinical fields, in language technology, and even national security. Yet at a time when our field's potential relevance may be at an all time high, its actual relevance is under threat. Linguistics is often viewed from the outside as irrelevant. And specialization from within is undermining cohesion and cross-talk. The LSA can play a critical role in addressing these threats, through its publications, its meetings, its advocacy, and its role as a clearing house for information about language.

In my home institution I have worked hard over the past 10 years to bring together language scientists from different backgrounds, and to put linguists in the center of conversations about language. This has built an uncommon sense of community and common purpose among faculty, researchers, and students that spans 10 departments from throughout the university. We organize joint programs, talk series, K-12 and public outreach events, and joint training workshops, and collectively we are a formidable advocacy force. This has made linguistics indispensable to the university. I would like to build upon this experience to help the LSA's efforts to make linguistics more relevant on a broader scale. Similarly, my research has brought me in contact with multiple fields, showing me that there are some things that linguists do especially well, and others where we can learn a lot from our neighbors.

Unlike some other fields, we lack a venue that brings the entire field together. The LSA meeting ought to serve this role, but few linguists regard it as their #1 conference priority, or as the best place to learn about developments in their field, preferring instead to attend more narrowly-focused meetings. The meeting has made good progress in recent years, but there is room for growth. Similarly, the LSA's publications are rarely seen as the place to find the best and most current research on language, and this hurts the field both internally and externally. There are other areas where the LSA can make important contributions, but I regard broad participation in its publications and annual meetings as the primary challenge. These drive membership growth, which in turn helps to create the revenue that allows the society to pursue further initiatives.