Victoria Fromkin Memorial Prize for Student Excellence in Phonology


First established in 2021, the Victoria Fromkin Memorial Prize for Student Excellence in Phonology will be used to defray expenses (up to $500) associated with participation in the LSA’s Annual Meeting. It will be awarded for outstanding scholarship in phonology by a linguistics graduate student. Awarded annually.

This award is endowed with much gratitude by LSA Life Member Robert Vago (Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY), who earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA (1970) and his PhD at Harvard (1974).


Nominators and nominees must attest that they meet the basic criteria for the award that 1) they both are LSA members and 2) the nominee is a graduate student pursuing a course of studies in phonology. The nomination must include a CV, one paper of representative work (a second paper is optional), complete the questions in the nomination form which are:

  • Discussion of significant impact of the nominee's outstanding scholarship in phonology;
  • Discussion of forward-looking and innovative character of the nominee's work in phonology; and 
  • Discussion of empirical rigor of the nominee's scholarship in phonology.
  • The application must also include a statement of support from an advisor. 
  • The nomination must include a citation statement to be read at the Award Ceremony if the nomination is selected. 
*Nomination links will only be active during the nomination window.  In 2024, nominations are open April 8th - end of day on June 30th. Nominations will not be accepted after this date.


The Halle Award and Fromkin Prize Committee reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the Executive Committee, which must formally approve the recommendations.

Previous Awardees


Katherine Russell was awarded on the basis of the exceptional quality and breadth of her work. Through original fieldwork, corpus studies, and careful, collaborative documentation and description of understudied languages, in particular Paraguayan Guaraní and Atchan, her work has implications for several areas of linguistics, including the typology of harmony, comparative linguistics, and the architecture of grammar. Her innovative corpus-building and corpus-informed analyses of understudied languages serve as a model for other scholars to follow.


Sammy Andersson was awarded 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.


Casey Ferrara. Casey Ferrara's work on sign languages recognizes that meaning is encoded in form, and instead of stating that fact and then skirting around it to other matters, she hones in on it, indeed, revels in it -- bringing sign phonology into the waters of phonetics made murky by semantics. She shines lights through this world of strange creatures, like a scuba diver -- lights from mathematics, biomechanics, visual perception, cognitive and dynamic coordination -- allowing her to reveal the phonological patterns and help the field of sign phonology swim forward.