2023 Award Winners

Arnold Zwicky Award

The Committee on LGBTQ+ [Z] Issues in Linguistics  (COZIL) and the LSA Executive Committee are pleased to announce that Dr. Rusty Barrett is the LSA’s 2023 Arnold Zwicky Award recipient.

Dr. Barrett is a world-renowned sociolinguist and linguistic anthropologist at the University of Kentucky. His research areas are primarily in Mayan languages and in language, gender, and sexuality. His scholarly accomplishments include two forthcoming co-edited handbooks on Language, Gender, and Sexuality, which are already proving valuable resources for scholars and teachers in these fields. His public-facing work has addressed how the mainstream appropriation of slang from queer communities of color has elided those communities' rich histories. Dr. Barrett has served as a mentor for numerous student projects on LGBTQ+ topics, not just in his home department but also across many institutions and fields. Within the LSA, Dr. Barrett co-convened the original Special Interest Group on LGBTQ+ Issues in Linguistics, which later became COZIL. Dr. Barrett has a vision of what we—linguists, scholars, educators—can be if we consider exactly what it means to understand others.

Best Paper in Language Award

The Awards Committee’s choice for Best Language Paper is “Sentence Planning and Production in Murrinhpatha, an Australian ‘Free Word Order’ Language” by Rachel Nordinger, Gabriela Garrido Rodgriquez, and Evan Kidd.

Nordlinger et al. report the results of an eye-tracking study exploring Murrinhpatha speakers’ “on-line” (in the psycholinguistic sense) speech planning bearing on the debate over whether incremental planning is hierarchical or linear.

The committee’s criteria were the intellectual merit of the manuscript, its quality, and the breadth of the potential audience. This is the first sentence-production study in an Australian Indigenous language and the first on-line production study of a “free” word order language.

The outcomes contribute in different ways to our understanding of how grammatical structure and sentence processing interact, not the least of which is the finding that speakers of such languages encode relationships between event participants during earlier stages of sentence planning than has been observed for languages with more rigid word orders.

The findings provide evidence for significant cross-linguistic differences in sentence production linked to the syntactic properties of languages. The organization and writing of this paper are outstanding, making it accessible to specialist and non-expert readers alike.

It is also interdisciplinary and appeals to syntacticians, psycholinguists, specialists in Austronesian languages, and linguists interested in experimental methodologies for testing linguistic questions, among others.

Early Career Award

Instituted in 2010, the LSA Early Career Award recognizes scholars early in their career who have made outstanding contributions to the field of linguistics. The award provides travel reimbursement (up to $500) and complimentary registration for the 2023 Annual Meeting. Nominators must be current LSA members. The members of the LSA Awards Committee were particularly impressed by Nicole Holliday’s rich publication record (23 publications to date, most within the last 5 years, plus 4 more accepted and 6 more under review, in a wide variety of journals.

Nicole has given 22 invited talks since receiving the Ph.D. There is impressive public awareness of her work: she is quoted in innumerable articles in major newspapers (New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR) and other media outlets. She has contributed much to the LSA, serving as Chair of the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics 2017-2018.

Elizabeth Dayton Award

The Elizabeth Dayton Award is a travel award intended to enable graduate students pursuing topics in sociolinguistics to attend the LSA Annual Meeting. The award is made to a graduate student who is an active student member of the LSA and demonstrates a distinguished level of scholastic achievement. 

The committee recommended Xinye Zhang for the award this year. Zhang’s research interests lie in bilingualism and children’s acquisition of variation. More specifically, she uses ethnographic and statistical methods to investigate the learning of interlanguage features, lexical tone, and word-initial sibilants by 3 types of speakers: young heritage speakers of Mandarin, L2 students and bilingual children. Her dissertation explores language learning by emergent bilingual children in two dual immersion preschools in California. The committee found her dual focus on linguistic detail and its broader implications to be compelling.

Excellence in Community Linguistics Award

The CELP subcommittee has selected Angelo Ngalloka Naser for the Excellence in Community Linguistics Award for his invaluable work documenting, teaching, and promoting the Moro language and culture.

Mr. Naser is a member of the diasporic Moro language community in Omdurman, Sudan. He leads the Moro Language Committee and has been a language activist for more than two decades. He teaches literacy classes, trains students in storytelling, runs teaching training workshops, produces collections of stories, writes newsletters bulletins in Moro, and organizes cultural celebrations. He has been doing invaluable work for his language and community for two decades. He has shown "incredible resilience and long-term impact amidst a difficult history of the language and community" (i.e., displacement from their original homelands due to genocide and civil war). All his language work, including language activism in his community and his region, has been as a volunteer. (He has a day job as a physical education teacher).

In the last couple of years, Mr. Naser has developed collaborations with a team of linguist partners in academic institutions in the US and has decided to pursue a master's degree in Linguistics, a testament to his commitment to his language maintenance efforts and his passion for language and linguistics.

Kenneth L. Hale Award

The LSA Awards Committee is pleased to announce Andrew Garrett as this year's Ken Hale Award Recipient.

Through his linguistic and community work documenting languages of Northern California, principally Yurok and Karuk, Andrew Garrett admirably encapsulates the different commitments and achievements of the great Ken Hale.

A leading scholar originally trained in historical linguistics and Indo-European, whose honors include the 2015 Best Paper in Language Award (with three co-authors), Garrett has produced work on a wide range of linguistic, historical, and cultural issues as well as producing new studies and web-based lexical and grammatical tools useful to language specialists and linguists in general and to the Yurok and Karuk communities.

Most recently, he is the author of "The unnaming of Kroeber Hall: Language, memory, and Indigenous California" (MIT Press, to appear in 2023).

Leonard Bloomfield Book Award

LSA congratulates Nadine Grimm for her 2021 book "A Grammar of Gyeli.", a rich documentation of the Ngòló variety of the Bantu language Gyeli.

The work is based on 19 months of research in Cameroon. During that time, the author conducted 170 hours of elicitation, recorded and transcribed natural texts, conducted stimulus-based research and experiments, took acoustic measurements, and used questionnaires to conduct surveys.

At every turn, she has carefully supported her analysis with quantitative data. She includes a lexicon of 1,500 words, along with a list of verb extensions. To ensure accountability, she has made primary video and audio recordings available at The Language Archive and has published the grammar in an open-source format through Lg Science Press. Standards in language documentation have risen over the years; the LSA commends the author for keeping up with and embracing these advances.

Linguistics Journalism Award

The Committee notes that all nominees this year highlighted the beauty of language and language change, showcased the ways in which those nominated have engaged in careful writing that attends to the nuances of language and linguistics, and how each has been influenced by and consulted linguists in these areas. The award recipient for 2023 is Andrew Leland for his work “DeafBlind Communities May Be Creating a New Language of Touch” published in The New Yorker.

The committee saw this as “an extremely well-crafted long form article that doesn't skimp on the linguistic nuance” that “went into depth” and “avoids ableist tropes by writing from the perspective of the DeafBlind community.” The coverage of “ASL, language emergence, creoles” and the “clear articulation of issues with accessibility [and] in-group challenges” was compelling. The article even mentions an emergency NSF grant being awarded to a set of linguists during the pandemic for teaching Protactile to DeafBlind children isolated in their homes. Emergency federal grant funding to support instruction of a new language! As one member said, “This article blew my freaking mind. A new modality! A new speech community! Talking through touching! … How could this be any better?”

Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award

The Award Committee agreed that Dr. Valerie Fridland is the well-deserved recipient of the Linguistics, Language and the Public Award this year. 

For her collective work to spread the word about the beautiful, complex, and fun stories that linguistics has to offer the general public, the Linguistic Society of America commends Dr. Valerie Fridland for her exquisitely crafted essays for non-academic audiences and awards her the Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award.

Mentoring Award

The LSA Awards Committee is pleased to announce Dr. Robert Bayley as the 2023 LSA Mentoring Award Recipient.

Dr. Bayley has been teaching in colleges and universities nationally and globally for more than 50 years, serving as a mentor for more than 62 doctoral, master's, and undergraduate students. From the time prospective students contact him to inquire about the program to many years down the line, when those same students are faculty members at institutions around the globe, Professor Bayley unwaveringly supports his mentees at every stage. As a Professor Emeritus, he is still continuing his guidance, providing students with valuable suggestions about research and career. 

Morris Halle Memorial Award for Faculty Excellence in Phonology 

The Halle Award and Fromkin Prize Committee considers the originality, breadth, and productivity of research in phonology of each nominee for this award. Their decision was unanimous to recognize Jane Chandlee based on her impressive record of journal publications and professional presentations and the originality and breadth of her research. Her work brings new types of evidence from computational phonology to bear on classic questions in phonology regarding representations, transformations, and locality. The findings of her work have important implications for computational linguistics, phonology, and morphology.

Student Abstract Award

Instituted in 2010, the Student Abstract Award provides $300 for the submitters of the abstracts rated 3rd and 2nd and $500 for the best abstract submitted by a student for a paper or poster presentation at the next Annual Meeting.


Victoria Fromkin Memorial Prize for Student Excellence in Phonology

The Halle Award and Fromkin Prize Committee's decision was unanimous in awarding this prize to Sammy Andersson. He received the award on the basis of their important contributions to theoretical phonology and morphology at an early career stage. Andersson's publication record is impressive, with papers published in Glossa and accepted to Phonological Data and Analysis (PD&A) before finishing graduate school. Their work shows breadth, with evidence of excellence in corpus and computational linguistics, phonetics, phonology, morphology, and fieldwork. Their PD&A paper and dissertation show careful empirical work on Abkhaz with significant import for metrical theories, requiring a rethinking of the types of units that can host stress and making a novel series of predictions about stress typology.