Slate of Candidates for LSA Officers, Executive Committee Members, and Proposed Amendments to the LSA Constitution

Votes may be cast here between September 1 and November 4, 2017.  Only current LSA members are eligible to vote.  Please log in to the LSA website prior to clicking on the voting link. 


The Nominating Committee has submitted the following slate of members to stand for election in September-November 2017:

Vice President/President-Elect:

Executive Committee (2 at-large seats):

The LSA Executive Committee, acting on the advice of an ad-hoc search committee, has nominated the following for a five-year term as Secretary-Treasurer.


Proposed Amendments to the LSA Constitution.


A brief biographical summary and statement for each candidate is included below, as well as the proposed alterations and rationale for the constitutional amendments.  Note that the candidate for Vice President/President-Elect submits only a biographical statement. 


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)

Brian Joseph (The Ohio State University)

Brian Joseph is Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics, and The Kenneth E. Naylor Professor of South Slavic Linguistics, at The Ohio State University (first appointed there in 1979). His academic degrees are all in Linguistics, an A.B. from Yale University (1973), and an A.M. (1976) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University. He has held national and international fellowships (NEH, ACLS, Fulbright, among others), and has received two honorary doctorates (La Trobe University (2006) and University of Patras (2008)). He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Linguistic Society of America. His scholarly interests focus on historical linguistics, especially pertaining to the history of the Greek language (Ancient through Modern), in both its genealogical context as a member of the Indo-European language family and its geographic and contact-related context as a member of the Balkan Sprachbund. He has published in these and related areas, authoring or co-authoring five books (including The Synchrony and Diachrony of the Balkan Infinitive (Cambridge, 1983, reissued 2009) and some 250 articles. Among his current research projects are fieldwork among the Greek-speaking communities of southern Albania and explorations into the history of Albanian and Balkan language contact more generally.  He has been a member of the LSA since 1976 and is a frequent presenter at LSA annual meetings. He has taught at 6 LSA Institutes (1991, 1993, 1999, 2003, 2015, 2017), and was director of the summer 1993 Linguistic Institute held at Ohio State. He has also served the LSA as member (and ultimately chair) of the Nominations Committee (1996-1998), as editor of Language (2002-2008), and as a founding member of the Committee of Editors of Linguistics Journals; he currently serves on that committee and is the LSA Archivist. 


Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer (5-year term)

Lenore Grenoble (University of Chicago)

Lenore Grenoble received her PhD from UC Berkeley in 1986 and is the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago, where she has been since 2007; prior to this time Lenore was at Dartmouth College where she held appointments in the Department of Russian and the Program in Linguistics & Cognitive Science, a program which she was instrumental in founding.  Her research focuses on language contact, shift and endangerment, and language vitality, fieldwork and documentation, with specializations in Slavic and Arctic languages. Published work includes numerous articles in journals, edited volumes and books. These include the following books Saving Languages (with Lindsay J. Whaley, 2006, Cambridge); Language Policy in the Former Soviet Union (2003); Evenki (with Nadezhda Bulatova, 1999, Lincom); and Deixis and Information Packaging in Russian Discourse (1998, John Benjamins) and co-edited volumes Language Typology and Historical Contingency (with Balthasar Bickel, David A. Peterson & Alan Timberlake, 2013, John Benjamins); Language Documentation: Practices and Values (with N. Louanna Furbee, 2010, John Benjamins); Endangered Languages: Current Issues and Future Prospects (with Lindsay J. Whaley, 1998, Cambridge) and Essays in the Art and Theory of Translation (with John M. Kopper, 1997, Mellen).

Grenoble currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago, and she previously served as Chair and Associate Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. At Dartmouth College her administrative experience includes a five-year term as Associate Dean for the Humanities, two years as Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs, and five years as Chair of the Program in Linguistics & Cognitive Science. At the LSA she has been a member of CELP (the Committee for Endangered Languages & their Preservation), which she chaired in 2004, and served on the Awards Committee 2013-2015. Grenoble taught in the 2015 LSA Institute in Chicago and is the Ken Hale Chair at the 2017 Institute in Kentucky.


I have been a member of the LSA since I was a graduate student, and have benefitted enormously in terms of intellectual and professional development. The position of Secretary-Treasurer of the LSA would provide me a way to give back to the society which has done so much to support linguists and linguistics. As Secretary-Treasurer of the LSA, I will support its missions, working in collaboration with the Secretariat staff and the Executive Committee to provide excellent services to the membership, to ensure that the Society continues to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. Particular goals for my tenure as Secretary-Treasure include increasing revenue streams and reducing expenses, and working with the Executive Committee to implement new policies and procedures for membership services so as to provide opportunities for intellectual exchange and professional development, and to increase public awareness of the importance of the field of linguistics.


Candidates for 2 At-large Seats on the Executive Committee

Marlyse Baptista, University of Michigan

Marlyse Baptista is Professor of Linguistics and of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.  She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1997 and was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998.  She held her first academic position at the University of Georgia from 1998 to 2007 and joined the Linguistics department and the department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in 2007.  Her research has been supported by multiple institutional grants from Harvard University, the University of Georgia and the University of Michigan, in addition to the Rockefeller and Mellon Foundations (PI, Whatley) (see CV).

Her research program focuses on the study of pidgin and creole languages and straddles three areas.  1) She examines pidgins and creoles using a Chomskyan generative framework, focusing on noun phrases (Noun phrases in Creole Languages, Baptista and Guéron (eds.), 2007) and verb phrases (The Syntax of Cape Verdean Creole: The Sotavento Varieties, 2002).  In 2015, she co-authored with Miki Obata and Sam Epstein a paper exploring whether variant grammars can be formally identical cross-linguistically.  2) She also examines pidgins and creoles from a comparative, descriptive perspective, comparing them to each other (“On the development of verbal and nominal morphology in four lusophone creoles”, 2011), as well as to their substrates and superstrates ("When substrates meet superstrate", 2006).  This comparative approach has led her to conduct extensive field work in Cape Verde islands where she collected data on all nine inhabited islands of the archipelago between 1997 and 2009 to investigate lexical and grammatical variation within each island and between the islands that were settled by different populations at different points in time.  3)  Her research also explores contact effects in creoles (including code-switching and bidirectional influences, co-authored with Veiga, Costa and Herbert Robalo, to appear) and cognitive processes such as convergence, attested in creole genesis and other contact situations.   Her focus on the convergence process has led her to initiate cross-disciplinary collaborations involving different methodologies: psycholinguistic experimentation ("Testing the convergence hypothesis in language acquisition with implications for creole genesis", 2015, co-authored with Susan Gelman and Erica Beck), agent-based modeling ("Modeling convergence, divergence and innovation in creole genesis" co-authored with mathematician Jinho Baik and computer scientists Ken Kollman and Alton Worthington), and genetics ("Reconstructing ancestrality and the founding populations of Cape Verde islands" with geneticists Noah Rosenberg, Paul Verdu, Ethan Jewett and Trevor Pemberton).  This genetics/linguistics partnership first conceptualized and initiated in 2009 aims at uncovering the founding populations of Cape Verde and at showing how linguistic variation between and within islands may reflect original source languages that may have converged or diverged during the emergence of Cape Verdean creole.    As a language activist, Marlyse Baptista has promoted the representation of creoles in education by co-founding the Cape Verdean Creole Institute in 1995, by helping train a new generation of Cape Verdean linguists in the new Masters' Program in Creolistics at the University of Cape Verde and by writing on the importance of creoles in education ("Cape Verdean creole in education: A linguistic and human right", 2010, co-authored with Inês Brito and Saídu Bangura).

Marlyse Baptista has been a member of the LSA since 2000 and has taught at four LSA summer institutes, chaired the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics, and co-chaired the Program Committee (first with Molly Diesing, then with Andries Coetzee) for three years.  She is a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America and a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows.  In addition, she has served as the Executive Secretary and President of the Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics.  She is the most recent columnist for the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages and serves on several editorial boards.

A full CV can be found here:


If I were elected to serve on the LSA Executive Committee, I would strive to support two of the LSA core tenets: 1) to value worldwide linguistic diversity and support the documentation, preservation and revitalization of languages while 2) supporting inclusiveness both in terms of the linguistics profession, and in terms of other research disciplines that inform linguistic scholarship.  I view these two values as inextricably connected to the notion of dynamic community building that could foster domestic and international scholarly networks of linguists with the potential of stimulating productive collaborations between emerging scholars in the U.S and abroad, particularly in the developing world.    

In my view, the notions of linguistic inclusiveness and diversity encompass languages, their speakers and the researchers who dedicate their careers to such languages.  This inclusiveness could therefore target researchers at U.S and foreign institutions in the developing world with the goal of fostering access to linguistic knowledge, resources and training.  In other words, such notion of inclusiveness could be broadened to ensure that members of foreign linguistics programs with fewer resources than the average American institution have access to scholarly materials, in addition to opportunities to collaborate with American students and faculty.  One could envision a type of exchange program following the model of Brazilian "sandwich programs" which allow students from a Brazilian institution to attend a foreign institution for a period of time going anywhere from 3 to 12 months.    American linguistics programs could facilitate short-term visits by linguistics students/faculty from the developing world to collaborate on a given project/language and likewise, a U.S student/faculty could benefit from partnering abroad with native speakers in linguistics programs with fewer resources, therefore fostering exchanges and collaborations that would benefit all parties involved. This type of exchange between American and foreign institutions with under-resourced linguistics programs would promote community building while fostering scholarly networks among linguists in the U.S and the developing world.  This would ultimately help with exchanging relevant information about the science of language and individual languages. Hence, our efforts in promoting inclusiveness and diversity should be broadened to include less privileged institutions abroad (including Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere), providing targeted linguistics programs with linguistic materials while promoting exchange and collaborations between students and faculty in both sites.

With respect to the LSA value expressed in 2) above, in these challenging times of decreasing academic positions, it is important for the survival of the linguistics profession to start conversations with our students about a broader range of career pathways involving linguistics and other research disciplines that inform linguistics.  This could mean engaging the Linguistic Society of America in a meaningful discussion with linguistics programs across the country about innovating graduate and undergraduate curricula.   For instance, in addition to the current field's core course requirements, foundational and innovative subfields that are obviously necessary for rigorous training in linguistics, linguistics programs could consider including in the curriculum a range of cross-disciplinary training opportunities that could ultimately help students adapt to new job markets involving their knowledge of linguistics and other relevant research disciplines.  Such conversations are currently taking place across institutions of higher education and for us to be proactively engaged in such discussions and their outcomes would ensure the survival of the linguistics profession both in academia and beyond, allowing students to consider multiple, fruitful career paths.


Peter Culicover (The Ohio State University)

Peter Culicover is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at the Ohio State University. He received his BA from the City College of New York in 1966 and his PhD from MIT in 1971. He served on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine and the University of Arizona. He has had visiting positions at the University of Venice, the University of Paris - Diderot, the University of Tubingen and the University of Canterbury. He is a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 he was awarded the Humboldt Research Award by the William von Humboldt Foundation.

Peter Culicover's primary research has been in syntactic theory. His dissertation argued for the autonomy of syntactic constructions. Subsequently he has been concerned with exploring the cognitive and computational factors that underlie the foundations of syntactic theory (English Focus Constructions and the Theory of Grammar, with Michael Rochemont (1990), Syntactic Nuts (1999), Parasitic Gaps ed. with Paul Postal (2001) and Simpler Syntax with Ray Jackendo (2005)), language acquisition (Formal Principles of Language Acquisition, with Ken Wexler (1980) and Locality in Linguistic Theory with Wendy Wilkins (1984)), and language variation and change (Dynamical Grammar with Andrzej Nowak (2003) and Grammar and Complexity (2013)). He has written a number of textbooks on syntactic theory, and with Beth Hume is completing the second edition of a non-technical introduction to understanding how language works (Basics of Language For Language Learners (2010)).

Peter Culicover has been involved in academic administration for much of his career, serving in such positions as department head of the linguistics department at the University of Arizona and department chair at the Ohio State University. He has also been involved in cognitive science for many years, having served as the chair of the cognitive science program at UC Irvine, and the founding director of the cognitive science programs at the University of Arizona and the Ohio State University. He has been an associate dean, a dean and an associate provost as well.

Peter Culicover joined the LSA in 1966 and has served on the Program Committee and the Leonard Bloomfield Award Committee.


It would be a great honor for me to serve the Linguistic Society as a member of the Executive Committee. I believe that the field of linguistics faces a number of challenges and that the LSA has an important role in helping to meet these challenges. I would look forward to the opportunity to contribute
to this effort.

There are several arenas in which linguistics competes for recognition and resources. Each of these is critical for sustaining the viability of the field and for ensuring that we will continue to be a position to contribute to general and scientfic understanding of the nature of language, its structure, and its
function in human cognition and society. 

Within the university, linguistics programs compete for funding and positions by attracting students and extramural funding. It is virtually a truism that the more of each of these that a program can attract, the more stable are the program and the more secure are its future prospects. The LSA can contribute to the stability of linguistics programs nationally by helping to identify and share best practices of successful programs. These best practices bear on the design and structure of graduate and undergraduate programs, and programs of professional development, the design of particular courses { particularly at the undergraduate level { that have the goal of attracting interested and talented students to the study of language, developing ways for undergraduates to get involved in research, and the building of cooperative relationships with other disciplines to make it possible for students interested in language to take best advantage of the university resources that are available to them.

In the public sphere, the LSA has a central role in organizing approaches to raising public awareness of the importance of understanding how language works in our everyday lives. Efforts of the LSA along these lines can have an impact both on the understanding of linguistics by the general public. It can have an impact as well on the decision making of political actors with respect to funding for critical research on language and language related topics, including but not limited to the documentation and preservation of endangered languages, understanding the factors that contribute to language endangerment, research on language as an early marker of cognitive decline, and research on computational methods for automatic translation and deep comprehension of text.

Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of California, Los Angeles)

Norma Mendoza-Denton (PhD Stanford 1997) is currently a professor in the department of Anthropology at UCLA. For her dissertation she wrote on sociophonetic phenomena in a group of Latina girls involved in gangs in the Northern California Bay Area.  This work became the basis of her first book, Homegirls (Wiley Blackwell 2008, soon to release a second edition). She taught in the Joint Program in Linguistics and Anthropology at University of Arizona from 1999-2014, and before that in the Spanish and Portuguese department at The Ohio State University.  She served as Associate Editor for Language (2005-2008), and on the editorial boards of Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Journal of Sociolinguistcs, and Ethnos.  She has taught at three LSA institutes in the US (MIT, Stanford, and Colorado), and has taught a number of short courses internationally (Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Mexico City). Her interests and publications range from laguage and migration, language and gender, intonation, gesture, semiotics and bilingualism to visuality, embodiment, and language, argument, and politics.  She served as President for the Society of Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) from 2011-2013, and on the Executive committee of the American Anthropological Association and of the Society for Visual Anthropology.


If elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of AmericaI would aim to address two issues in relevant to the society as a whole: 1)  the dearth of training for positions outside the professoriate, 2) strengthening links to linguists outside of linguistics departments, who are increasingly in the majority. I will tackle each of these related concerns in turn:

It is by now widespread knowledge that as federal grant funding wavers and state funding flags, university budgets shrink and class sizes grow. This situation is now critical and results in many of our excellent doctoral graduates being underemployed in adjunct and itinerant positions with few benefits and poor prospects for advancement.  I aim to address this problem through new initiatives that leverage the expertise of the membership in careers outside the academy, so that the LSA may hold fora in our yearly meetings and institutes that allow all students to network with professionals and forge paths in the public sector while still using their linguistics training.  Academia and industry are not mutually exclusive, and we need to be doing  better job at cross-training ourselves and our students for the future of linguistics.

Given the small size of linguistics as a discipline, it is no surprise that many of our members are outside of the boundaries of the discipline as imagined in the traditional linguistics departmental structure.  While there are some programs that reach out to anthropology and computer science, still many areas of interface and expertise are untapped.  If elected, I would prioritize cross-fertilization with other centers and associations that use linguistics and linguistic knowledge as part of their mission.  One example might come to us from the public education initiatives that the American Anthropological Association has launched.  The AAA initiative on race ( was funded by NSF and the Ford Foundation,  led to award-winning films that are broadly shown in classrooms, to museum exhibits and to a multi-year series of events at annual meetings.  The next inititative will be on migration. These broad-scale public education ventures are only possible through sustained cooperation with experts outside of the discipline, and they result in tremendous benefit for the public and increased visibility and opportunities for the association.


Joseph Salmons, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Joe Salmons is the Lester W.J. Seifert Professor of Germanic Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in the Department of Linguistics. He has long built infrastructure, having served as president of the Society for Germanic Linguistics, co-founder and current director of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, editor of Diachronica, and a founding member of the new North American Research Network on Historical Sociolinguistics (NARNiHS).

Joe has long been involved in the LSA, chairing the Nominating Committee and the recent search for a new editor for Language. With Brian Joseph and Keren Rice, he is a co-founder of the Committee of Editors of Linguistics Journals (CELxJ). He taught at the 2015 Summer Institute as the American Dialect Society Professor and again at the 2017 Institute. He has also served on the nominating committee of Section Z of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and on the board of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. As part of several groups, he has advocated for public higher education, research and outreach funding, especially on the state level.

Joe strives to take awareness of linguistics beyond the academy, giving regular talks to community groups, historical societies and alumni groups. As part of the Wisconsin Englishes Project and the Wisconsin Heritage Language Project, such outreach is now integrated into his graduate students’ professional development.

Joe’s early research focused on historical linguistics and has come to include theoretical phonology, sociolinguistics, heritage language linguistics, and dialectology. In addition to articles in Phonology, Journal of Phonetics, Morphology, Heritage Language Journal and Frontiers, he wrote A History of German: What the past reveals about today’s language (Oxford, 2012, second edition forthcoming) and with Patrick Honeybone co-edited the Handbook of Historical Phonology (Oxford, 2015).

Link to CV


These are challenging times for professional organizations, as we navigate changes in the basic structure of scholarly publication, ongoing and potentially dramatic cuts in federal and institutional research funding, and a rapidly changing academic economy. It is at the same time imperative that we continue to work on matters that have concerned the Society for many years, especially diversity and inclusivity. Broadly speaking, I see the LSA as headed in the right directions on key questions, though all the issues just mentioned and others will require careful planning and action in the coming years. If I had the privilege to serve on the Executive Committee, I would bring energy to bear on three particular issues, all issues that the LSA is already grappling with in some form:

First, we’re all aware of the need to communicate the value of language science to the public on issues from bilingualism and heritage language education to language and discrimination. The Society has made strides in public work — the dissemination of what we know about language beyond the academy. Those efforts open the door to further opportunities, which might include grassroots, community-based efforts connected with linguistic diversity, linguistic discrimination and related issues.

Second, this will include taking on matters of funding and policy. Doing that effectively will mean continuing recent efforts to strengthen existing and create new links to allied sciences. Raising the profile of linguistics within the scientific community can go hand in hand with such collaboration. Scientists and scholars share similar concerns across fields and we are stronger when we present a coherent and unified front. This now needs to include political engagement, especially at the national level, for instance continuing and building on recent LSA initiatives to speak out about proposed cuts to federal research budgets.

Third, the future of scholarly publication will continue to be a major topic for the LSA in coming years. Some kind of transition to Open Access is likely coming and while it will bring opportunities and advantages, the fiscal challenges for the Society are abundantly clear.

Proposed Amendments to the LSA Constitution

1. Amendments relating to the editorship of Language

Article VII. Publications

  1. The Editor of Language shall be elected to a seven-year term, subject to periodic review by the Executive Committee, shall be responsible for the editorial content and format of the journal, and shall report to the Executive Committee.There shall be an Editor and Co-Editor of Language. They shall report to the Executive Committee and be responsible for the editorial content and format of the journal. The Co-Editor shall be elected by the members of the Society for a three-year term in that role, followed by another three-year term as Editor.  In special circumstances, the Executive Committee may extend the term of the Editor for one year. The Editor, in consultation with the Executive Committee, may appoint Associate Editors , an Executive Editor, and a Review Editor. Approval of expenditures in connection with the publication of the journal is the responsibility of the Executive Committee.


Currently there is a Senior Associate Editor who shares many of the duties and responsibilities of the Editor. The Editor/Co-Editor spin on this arrangement has numerous advantages:

  1. The title “Co-Editor” for the junior position makes it more attractive and easier to recruit for.
  2. The slightly shorter overall term length, i.e., 6 years, makes the position potentially more attractive.
  3. The overlapping terms of the two editors yields seamless continuity and ample apprenticeship.
  4. The possibility of Language ending up with nobody in charge is greatly reduced, as the Co-Editor could take on the Editor role quickly, if necessary.

2. Amendments relating to membership categories

Article II. Membership

1. There shall be the following classes of membership: regular, student,emeritusassociate, life, and honorary members.

2. Any person may become an individual member by payment of dues.

3. Any member who has paid dues for fifty years will be granted a complimentary life membership in the Society, and is thereafter exempt from payment of dues.

4. Any member individual who is not a working linguist, or who has paid dues for twenty years and who has retired from the regular exercise of the profession is eligible for associatereduced dues without losing any of the rights of membership.

5. Any international scholar of international distinction, not resident in the United States, may be elected as an honorary member by the Society on recommendation of the Executive Committee.

6. Only individual members may vote and hold office in the Society.

7. All members shall be entitled to certain publications of the Society, including the journal Language. Individual members are entitled to submit manuscripts for publication in Language. Individual members are also entitled to submit to the Program Committee abstracts of papers or posters for presentation at meetings of the Society.

8. Members of the Society who have made distinguished contributions to the discipline may, on recommendation of the Executive Committee, be recognized as Fellows of the Society.


The membership category “emeritus” is subsumed under the new, broader category “associate”.

The phrase “individual member” is replaced by “member”, as “individual” is no longer a meaningful sub-category of members, given that institutions now purchase subscriptions to Language rather than getting it through membership.