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Institute Spotlight Thursday

Join us for this week’s Spotlight Thursday featuring Walt Wolfram!

Walt Wolfram is the 2013 Institute’s American Dialect Society Professor, a sociolinguist, and the William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University. He is the director of the North Carolina Language and Life Project, an organization that focuses on research, graduate and undergraduate education, and outreach programs related to language in the American South. He has published over 20 books and 300 articles, and was an early pioneer in the study of African American English, conducting some of the earliest fieldwork on the variety in Detroit in 1969.

He is responsible for articulating the principle of linguistic gratuity which encourages linguists to give back to the communities they collect data from, and is also active in disseminating the fruits of sociolinguistic research to the public sphere. Last week we also featured his comments about the importance of the 1973 Linguistic Institute, the last Institute that was held at the University of Michigan.


Spotlight Thursday feat. Orin Hargraves

Welcome to yet another installment of Spotlight Thursday, featuring Orin Hargraves!

Orin Hargraves is a writer, lexicographer, and editor as well as the 2013 Linguistic Institute’s Dictionary Society of North America Sponsored Professor. He has worked in lexicography since the early 1990s and has since written a number of books on language. He is a regular contributor to dictionaries worldwide an

d is the president of the Dictionary Society of North America. He also writes a monthly column on words and language entitled “Language Lounge” at, and blogs at

This summer he will be teaching “Lexicography in Natural Language Processing”, which will explore the computational tools that lexicographers use today to write dictionaries, and the ways in which computational linguists use dictionaries in their pursuits.

Spotlight Thursday featuring John Lucy

Join us for another Spotlight Thursday, featuring John Lucy from the University of Chicago.

John Lucy is William Benton Professor in the Department of Psychology and Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. He has spearheaded the modern revival of inquiry into linguistic relativity, also known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, that attempts to discover the effect of language on cognition and conceptualizing reality. He also has studied noun classification in Yucatec Maya.

This summer he will be teaching the course entitled “Language Variation and Thought”.

Spotlight Thursday, featuring Sally Thomason!

This week for Spotlight Thursday, we are proud to feature our very own Sarah “Sally” Thomason, to whom the 2013 LSA Linguistics Institute has been dedicated to.

Sally is the William J. Gedney Collegiate Professor of Linguistics and Chair of the Department.  She has been on the faculty at the University of Michigan since 1999. Before that, she was a member of the faculty at the University of
Pittsburgh.  She is well known for her groundbreaking work on language contact, historical linguistics, and Montana Salish.  She served as the longtime editor of Language, has been the President of the Linguistic Society of America and is one of the regular contributors to the blog, Language Log.  Her awards and professional honors are too numerous to list here, but trust us, there are many and each is well deserved!

She is also well known for her doodle art, and is the artist responsible for providing the 2013 Institute with its wolverine mascot. Thanks Sally!



Testimonial Tuesday

Welcome to Testimonial Tuesday! Today we spotlight a testimonial from the 2011 LSA Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

“The LSA Institute was an incredible opportunity for me as a grad student just starting out. Not only did I have a chance to learn new psycholinguistic methodologies and take coursework in fields of linguistics that aren’t available at my home institution, but I also had the opportunity to meet incredible students who share my interests and spend time with faculty members and mentors from all over the country (and beyond) who shared their wisdom, expertise and even some funny stories during classes, or just over a beer. The summer galvanized me, and I returned home with new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for my research and for the field.


—Neal Fox”

Testimonial Tuesday!

Join us each Tuesday for testimonials from past Institute attendees!

“The 1973 Linguistic Institute at Ann Arbor helped launched the
current “era of sociolinguistics,” inspiring many to pursue a career
dedicated to examining the social life of language. It is only fitting
that we return 40 years later to reexamine the critical role of
language in society. I expect it to be just as inspirational.”

-Walt Wolfram


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