Charles Yang:  Leonard Bloomfield Book Award

  • December 5, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 15
  • Honors
  • print

The Linguistic Society of America announced that The Price of Linguistic Productivity: How Children Learn to Break the Rules of Language by Charles Yang, professor in the department of linguistics and director of undergraduate studies in cognitive science, is the recipient of this year’s Leonard Bloomfield Book Award. The book was published by the MIT Press. 

The Leonard Bloomfield Book Award is presented to the book “that makes an outstanding contribution of enduring value to our understanding of language and linguistics.” Nominees are judged on their novelty, empirical import, conceptual significance, and clarity. The Bloomfield Book Award, named in honor of renowned linguist (and LSA founding member) Leonard Bloomfield, was first awarded in 1992; previous recipients have included The Atlas of North American English (by Penn professor of linguistics William Labov, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg) and The Bilingual Child: Early Development and Language Contact (by Virginia Yip and Stephen Matthews).

The citation for this award reads, “Charles Yang proposes a simple rule relating the number of exceptions that a productive rule of grammar can tolerate to the number of regular cases it generates, and provides a diverse set of case studies, including data concerning the course of child language acquisition. The case-studies suggest that it applies with great generality across languages, and across different distributions of regular and irregular forms. His book will be read by linguists, psychologists, cognitive scientists and all who are concerned with questions of the fundamental nature of human language.”