By Donna Mo


Linguistics professor Marianne Mithun was recently elected as the 95th President of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), the latest in a string of high profile UC Santa Barbara Linguistics achievements on the national level.

“To me this is a special honor,” says Mithun. “The Linguistic Society of America is the primary scholarly society for American linguists (and many others from around the world), one that has long been extremely active on behalf of the discipline, academic linguists, and language communities.” 

The LSA’s annual meetings encourage discussions of new ideas and research in the field of linguistics. Members of the organization also work to help preserve and revitalize endangered languages. The organization played a large role in the declaration of 2019 as the United Nations International Year of of Indigenous Languages, says Mithun.

Mithun, a founding faculty member of UC Santa Barbara’s Linguistics Department, is one of the country’s leading scholars in indigenous languages. She begins her term as LSA president-elect this month, to serve as the vice-president in 2019, president in 2020, and immediate-past-president in 2021. As president, she will lead the meetings of the society, serve as the chair of the Executive Committee and appoint honorary members and non-elective committees.

HudleyHeadshot LLP.jpg

Meanwhile, linguistics professor Anne Charity Hudley received the LSA’s Linguistics, Language and Public award. The award is given to those whose work “increases public awareness and understanding of linguistics and language,” says the organization. Her research on language variation in American schools and how it affects the way minority students learn in classrooms has helped educators find better strategies to teach students with different ethnic, cultural, and linguistic background.

The linguistics department has also marked success among graduate students. Doctorate students Joyhanna Yoo Garza and Deandre Miles-Hercules were both awarded the 2019 Diversity Travels Award. The two received funding to travel to the Linguistic Society of America’s 2019 annual meeting held in New York City earlier this month.

Donna Mo is a fourth year Communication major and Theater minor. She is a Web and Social Media intern with the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts.