Excellence in Community Linguistics Award


First established in 2013, this award recognizes the outstanding contributions that members of language communities (typically outside the academic sphere of professional linguists) make for the benefit of their community’s language. The contributions made by awardees may be varied, including, among other things, documentation work with a linguist as a consultant and efforts toward language revitalization. Given annually, as nominations warrant.


Examples of types of language leaders who would typically be considered eligible include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Members of a minority language community who develop language teaching materials, teach language classes, and/or train other language users to be teachers, in order to increase the number of users of the language.
  • Members of an endangered language community who organize a community language revitalization program (e.g. by beginning an immersion summer day-camp program and training elders who are speakers/signers to serve as teachers).
  • Members of a dormant language community who learn their heritage language from archival materials and develop a language revitalization program to share the language with the community.
  • Speakers/signers of an under-described language who work with a linguist as consultants for an extended time, with great dedication, thereby making it possible for the language to be documented.
  • Consultants, as in the previous point, whose outstanding metalinguistic insight into linguistic patterns make a significant contribution to linguistic analysis.
  • Academic linguists who are themselves members of the language community with whom they work and who make a significant contribution to the advancement of the language.
  • Community members who do several of the activities above.
Nominees typically should NOT be:
  • Those working towards or holding doctorates in linguistics or related fields; or
  • Those employed in regular academic positions in a department of linguistics or related fields, although there may be exceptions (e.g., a community member who pursues a degree in linguistics after long work within the community).
Notes on criteria:
  • It should be noted that language users, learners, and supporters who do not speak/sign the language being documented/revitalized can all be nominated. The required criterion is that there be a contribution that could benefit the language in some way, whether by improving its documentation, increasing the number of users of the language, or some other means.
If a nominator has questions about whether a potential nominee would be likely to be considered eligible or not, they are encouraged to contact the LSA staff at lsa@lsadc.org 

*Nomination links will only be active during the nomination window. In 2024, nominations are open April 8th - end of day on July 12th. Nominations will not be accepted after this date.


The LSA Committee on Endangered Languages and Their Preservation reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the Executive Committee, which must formally approve the recommendations.

Previous Awardees

2024: Abduweli Ayup
2023: Angelo Ngalloka Naser
2022: Brenda McKenna and Cora McKenna, Nambé Pueblo
2021: Chikari Tisso
2020: Mosyel Syelsaangthyel Khaling
2019: The Khumuno Wu'u Kotira Indigenous School Association (ASEKK) and Nancy Richardson Steele, Karuk Tribe/Advocates for California Indigenous Language Survival 
2018: Dehe Wang of the Ersu Tibetan language community (Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China)
2017: Bessie Ejai and Jessie Sampi of the Bardi language community of the Kimberley region of Northwestern Australia
2016: Valerie Switzler (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon)
2015: Muriel Fisher (Tucson Gaelic Institute)
2014: Mary Ann Metallic (Listuguj Education Directorate – Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government)