The LSA is pleased to announce the selection of African American Language as the recipient of the LSA's Leonard Bloomfield Book Award for 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press and authored by Mary Kohn (Kansas State University), Walt Wolfram (North Carolina State University), Charlie Farrington (Virginia Tech), Jennifer Renn (Purdue University), and Janneke Van Hofwegen (Google), the book was cited by the Bloomfield Committee for making a remarkable and unique contribution to the study of African American language (please see the full citation below for more information). The award will be presented at a special ceremony during the LSA's 2022 Annual Meeting, to be held on Saturday, January 8th at the Hilton Washington, from 6:30 – 7:00 pm ET.  


African American Language, by Kohn, Wolfram, Farrington, Renn, and Van Hofwegen, makes a remarkable and unique contribution to the study of African American language, contributing substantially to our understanding of how children construct identity, negotiate status and relationships, and transition across life stages by means of and as represented by their language. The book’s meticulous longitudinal methodology provides unprecedented insight into the real-time implementation of change and the spread of innovation across the community. In its minute examination of language development from infancy to adulthood of sixty-seven African American children, this study provides a precise description of the effects of caretakers’ influence, peer influence on language development, and the relationship between AAL and early literacy. Perhaps even more importantly, it provides a new model for sociolinguistic and socio-historical analysis of African American and other speech communities: it demonstrates that not only should demographic factors be taken into consideration on a synchronic level, but also trends that exist in the community of practice on a diachronic level, trends which are adopted and expanded to varying degrees by young speakers and which are often detectable only through longitudinal analysis. This work contributes substantially to various fields of linguistic inquiry: African  American linguistics, sociolinguistics, developmental linguistics, historical and socio-historical analysis.  The LSA congratulates the authors for their impressive, groundbreaking achievement.