The Best Paper in Language award, made for the first time in 2012, is given each year for the best paper published in the journal Language, the flagship journal of the Linguistic Society of America All papers published in a given year are eligible for review and then ranked by the LSA Awards Committee. The committee has agreed that the 2024 award for Best Paper in Language is “Housing Policy & Linguistic Profiling: An Audit Study of Three American Dialects” by Dr. Kelly Elizabeth Wright, 2022 U-M Linguistics PhD.

The Awards Committee’s selection of this publication is based on Wright’s innovative and exacting experimental design that utilizes a proportional odds logistic regression model in concert with assessments of inequities in housing market access that reveal asymmetrical linguistic prestige where property managers identify racial and regional differences with legal relevance insofar as violations of the fair housing act are affirmed utilizing nine controlled linguistic stimuli that are subsequently tested in no less than ten conditions for each variant. Building on prior linguistic, perceptual, and sociological studies of voice and housing discrimination, Wright breaks new ground with findings that would not be possible without precise phonological, prosodic, and intonational control. In addition to adding new research that complements other studies of linguistic profiling internationally, Wright’s publication is the first to demonstrate statistically significant bias against female speech pertaining to mainstream, working class, and nonstandard varieties of American English.