Why Join the Linguistic Society of America? 

Larry M. Hyman

Short Answer: If you are concerned about language, you can’t afford not to.

The Linguistic Society of America is the major professional society in the United States that is exclusively dedicated to the advancement of the scientific study of language. As such, the LSA plays a critical role in supporting and disseminating linguistic scholarship, as well as facilitating the application of current research to scientific, educational, and social issues concerning language. Language is a defining characteristic of the human species and impacts virtually all aspects of human experience. For this reason linguists seek not only to discover properties of language in general and of languages in particular but also strive to understand the interface of the phenomenon of language with culture, cognition, history, literature, and so forth. With nearly 6,000 members, the LSA speaks on behalf of the field of linguistics and also serves as an advocate for sound educational and political policies that affect not only professionals and students of language, but virtually all segments of society. Founded in 1924, the LSA has on many occasions made the case to governments, universities, foundations, and the public to support linguistic research and to see that our scientific discoveries are effectively applied. As part of its outreach activities, the LSA attempts to provide information and educate both officials and the public about language. The Society serves as a linguistic watchdog on press reports and city, state, and federal policies that concern language and languages in the U.S. In this connection, the LSA has issued statements and resolutions on matters such as language rights, the English-only/English-plus debate, bilingual education, and Ebonics. The Society has been a strong proponent of the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages both within the US and abroad. With more members, the LSA can speak with an even stronger voice. Whether you are a linguist or are interested in language for other reasons, an LSA membership is an investment in the scientific study of language.

1. What does the Linguistic Society of America do?

Visit our What We Do page to find out!

2. What are the benefits of membership?

Joining the LSA is one of the best bargains found in any academic discipline. Members receive four issues of Language and are eligible to submit abstracts for the Annual LSA meetings and apply for tuition fellowships to the LSA Linguistic Institute. In addition, LSA members are now entitled to significant discounts on subscriptions to many journals of interest to linguists. There also is the intangible, but equally important, benefit that comes from knowing that membership supports the many significant educational and societal contributions of the LSA. As LSA President Ray Jackendoff put it in his welcoming remarks at the 2004 Annual Meeting, “The LSA is the institution that represents our profession to the rest of the country…If you aren’t already a member, JOIN! And get your friends and colleagues and students and teachers to join. It’s not only to your benefit but to our whole community, without whom we couldn’t have professional lives as individuals.”