Prizes & Awards

On this page, you can learn about current winners for the SLA prizes. For details regarding prize submissions, including deadlines, please check for official announcements on our Announcements page. For more information about previous winners, click here.

Edward Sapir Book Prize

The Edward Sapir Book Prize was established in 2001 and is awarded to a book that makes the most significant contribution to our understanding of language in society, or the ways in which language mediates historical or contemporary sociocultural processes. Beginning in 2012, the Sapir Prize has been awarded annually.

Winners of the Edward Sapir Book Prize


Kathryn Woolard for Singular and Plural: Ideologies of Linguistic Authority in 21st Century Catalonia  


Honorable Mentions

Erika Hoffman Dilloway for Signing and Belonging in Nepal

SLA Award for Public Outreach and Community Service

This award honors an SLA member or members for work that effectively impacts public awareness of social issues involving language and communication and/or represents a significant service to a particular community outside of the academy.


Patrick Moore (University of British Columbia) 

  In recognition for his work on language reclamation and revitalization on behalf of the Northern Canada Dene communities.

SLA Interdisciplinary Public Engagement Award


“Linguistics and Race: An Interdisciplinary Approach Towards an LSA Statement on Race”

A panel to be presented at the 1/18 LSA by Christine Mallinson Anne Charity Hudley, Mary Bucholtz, Arthur Spears, and Elaine Chun.

 “Hate Speech or Free Speech”
A Workshop co-organized with the New York Academy of Sciences, Anthropology Division, on the Politics of Language on College Campuses. (4/14/18 Fordham Law School), supporting Mariam Durrani, Janet McIntosh, Sonia Das, Ayala Fader, and Eva-Marie Dubuisson.

Annual Student Essay Prize Winners

The Society for Linguistic Anthropology holds an annual student essay competition at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In order to be eligible for one of these awards, the applicant must have been either a graduate or undergraduate student in a degree-granting program when the paper was written; must be the sole author of the paper; and must submit the paper no more than two years after it was written.

The paper must be an original work based on original research conducted by the author. It will be evaluated on the basis of clarity, significance to the field, and substantive contribution. The paper should be suitable for submission to the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology and must not exceed 25 double-spaced pages, not including bibliography. At the time of submission for this competition, the paper must not have been published or submitted for publication.

The winner in each category (graduate and undergraduate) will receive a $500 prize and a grant of up to $300 to cover expenses for travel to the AAA meeting to accept the award.

2017 Undergraduate Student Essay Winners

Esra Padgett (CUNY)
“Latex Synecdoche: Language and The Toy Vagina”
Honorable Mention
Alex McGrath (SUNY Geneseo)
“Ideology and Postvernacularity in 21st Century Yiddish Pedagogy”

2017 Graduate Student Essay Winners


Anna Bax (University of California, Santa Barbara)

“The C-Word” Meets “the N-Word”: The Slur-Once-Removed and the Discursive Construction of “Reverse Racism”
Faculty advisor: Mary Bucholtz

Honorable Mention

William M. Cotter (University of Arizona)

“The Voice of this Coffee”  Negotiating the Moral Economy of Specialty Coffee in Professional Barista Competitions
Faculty advisor: Qing Zhang

Sara Goico (University of California, San Diego)

Meaning Interpretation in a Homesign System
Faculty advisor:  John Haviland

Jessica Pouchet (Northwestern University)

Branding-from-Below: The Recontextualization of Logos in International Development
Faculty advisor:  Shalini Shankar