Five Minute Linguist

The Five-Minute Linguist is a high-profile event which features LSA members giving lively and engaging presentations about their research in a manner accessible to the general public. No notes, no podium, and an actual timer. A winner is chosen at the end of the event. The goal of this event is to encourage LSA members to practice presenting their work to a broad audience and to showcase outstanding examples of members who can explain their research in an accessible way.

When the call for abstracts goes out for the Annual Meeting, all LSA members will have the opportunity to prepare a 300-word pitch for the Five Minute Linguist event. Members who submit regular abstracts for the Annual Meeting will see a checkbox which they may use to enter their pitch for this event, but abstracts will also be accepted that are not concurrently submitted for the Annual Meeting and may have been presented elsewhere, or that are being considered for presentation at one of the LSA's Sister Societies.

Please note, the Five Minute Linguist pitch is not simply a shortened version of the main (500-word) LSA abstract. Instead, it should be written in an accessible style that would be more suitable for the target audience, namely, the general public. The Selection Committee is trying to determine how effective the speaker would likely be at giving a publicly accessible version of their talk and the pitch is used to provide guidance on that matter.

The LSA invites submissions for 5ML pitches to be presented at its 2025 Annual Meeting, which will take place in person in Philadelphia from January 9-12, 2025. 5ML pitches will be accepted through Oxford Abstracts on June 30th at 11:59 pm Pacific time.

* You will be directed to Oxford Abstract to submit your proposal. If you don't have an account with Oxford Abstracts, please create one to access the submission page. This account is different from your LSA Membership account. If you need technical support for the Oxford Abstracts platform, please visit the Guidance for Submitters on the Oxford Abstracts Support webpage.  

Five Minute Linguist FAQ

Q. Are multi-authored pitches allowed?

A: Yes, but in the event the pitch is selected as a finalist for the event, only one author may present in person.

Q: Does submitting a pitch for the Five Minute Linguist affect the number of abstracts I can submit for regular 20-minute paper and poster sessions?

A: No.  Pitches submitted for the Five Minute Linguist are separate and do not count towards this abstract limit . 

Q: How will the presenters be selected?

A: The Selection Committee is composed of members of the LSA's Public Relations Committee, the Outreach Committee, the Program Committee, and recent recipients of the LSA Journalism Award.  The committee views the pitches as representative of what the talk will be like, so your pitch should be accessible to a broad audience just as the talk should be. If necessary, the Selection Committee may invite authors of regular abstracts or other members of the LSA community to participate. The Committee will select eight presentations for the event.

Q: How will the event unfold?

A: Prior to the event presenters will receive coaching about how to make their presentations as accessible as possible. The public event will be video recorded for later posting online. Each participant will speak for five minutes; visual aids (powerpoint slides) will be allowed but participants are expected to speak without notes. 

Q: What is the prize?

A: The winner will receive a commemorative plaque and a one-year complimentary LSA membership. All participants will be invited to prepare their presentation for further consideration for the LSA’s Press Release program. 

Q. Is this event related to the book or radio program of the same name?

A. The LSA is the beneficiary of a generous donation of author royalties from the sale of the 5-Minute Linguist. Many LSA leaders and members contributed content to both the book and the radio feature. The LSA obtained permission from both the authors and the publisher to use this name for our event. 

Q: What if I have questions about entering the event?

A: Questions about the 5ML pitch may be directed to the Public Relations Committee Chairs: Georgia Zellou (gzellou@ucdavis.edu) and Anne Pycha (pycha@uwm.edu). If you need technical support for the Oxford Abstracts platform, please visit the Guidance for Submitters on the Oxford Abstracts Support webpage or email membership@lsadc.org.

Watch the 2024 5ML Video Pitches

What songs can tell us about language: rhythms in Filipino pop music

Kie Zuraw and Paolo Roca, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Topics: phonology, language and music

Boosting understanding of ASL fingerspelling: Can looking at hands help?

Hannah Cheloha, Arizona State University
Topics: American sign language, psycholinguistics.

Tone it Down: Inherent bias in automated ‘tone of voice’ evaluation 

Nicole Holliday, Pomona College; and Paul Reed, University of Alabama 

Topics: Human-computer interaction, sociolinguistics

What does linguistics have to do with the oldest spice in East Asia?

Jesse P. Gates, School of Literature Nankai University; Guan Xiang, Freelance; Guillaume Jacques, CNRS (CRLAO) - EPHE- INALCO; and Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, & International Institute
Topics: historical linguistics, anthropological linguistics

"Waaay beyond words”: Using voice and gestures to catapult communication

David Páez, University of New Mexico
Topics: speech and gesture, pragmatics.

What would Florida Man say?: Regional language and identity in Florida 

Jessica Chandras, Sarah Shiell, and Bailey Gressett, University of North Florida 

Topics: sociolinguistics, regional accents