The LSA is pleased to announce that the family of the late C.L. Baker has endowed a new award honoring excellence for scholarship in syntax. Baker was a long-time member of the LSA who served as an Associate Editor of Language, among other contributions to the Society (see his bio below for more details). The endowment gift of $25,000 will generate earnings to support a cash prize of $500, to be awarded at least every other year, to a mid-career linguist (preference given to those who are 10-20 years post-PhD). A special award review committee will be appointed by the LSA to consider nominations for the first (and subsequent) winners of the prize, to be made at the 2020 LSA Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

C.L. (Lee) Baker, shown here with wife Mary
(photo credit: Brian Price)

The LSA welcomes charitable donations and bequests in honor of family, friends and colleagues throughout the year. Donors can learn more about these and other options here.


C.L. (Lee) Baker (1939-1997) made important contributions to the study of syntactic theory and the syntax of English. At the time of his death, he was the Harold C. and Alice T. Nowlin Professor in Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, where he had been a member of the faculty for nearly thirty years and served two terms as department chair. Baker's work was notable for its careful treatment of empirical data, its lack of dogmatism, and its attention to larger issues related to language acquisition (e.g., in his 1979 article, "Syntactic theory and the projection problem"). He wrote two textbooks (Introduction to Generative-Transformational Syntax, and 1989 and 1995 editions of English Syntax), co-edited (with John McCarthy) a conference proceedings volume (The Logical Problem of Language Acquisition), and served in editorial roles for Linguistic Inquiry and Linguistic Analysis.  His untimely passing represented a significant loss for his family, friends, students, and colleagues, and for the profession of linguistics.