U-M Linguistics Professor Marlyse Baptista has been named a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), one of the highest honors that a linguist can receive. “Becoming a Fellow of LSA means a lot to me, and I am grateful to the Society, its directors, officers and fellow members for their support. It’s a great honor,” says Marlyse Baptista.

According to the LSA website, “members of the Society who have made distinguished contributions to the discipline may be recognized as Fellows of the Linguistic Society of America.  A member of the Society who has served as an Officer of the Society (i.e., President or Secretary-Treasurer), as Editor of Language or Semantics and Pragmaticsor as (co)Director of a Linguistic Institute, shall be recognized as a Fellow upon conclusion of service in that office.” Marlyse Baptista’s list of qualifications are both long and impressive.

Marlyse has been invited to contribute as a faculty member to four LSA Summer institutes.  Her first LSA institute as a faculty member was in 1999 when she was invited to co-teach a course on Field Methods with Bert Vaux (Harvard University) at the University of Illinois.  She was again invited in 2007 to teach for the LSA Institute at Stanford. At that point, she contributed to a course on Theoretical and Applied Issues in the Study of Pidgins and Creoles and to a workshop on Creoles, Acts of Identity, and Education: Celebrating Robert LePage’s Contribution to Sociolinguistics.  In 2011, she was invited to teach a course on Pidgins and Creoles at the University of Colorado and again in 2013 at the University of Michigan.

In addition to her role as a LSA Summer Institute faculty, she was asked in 2006 to chair the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics. She took advantage of this position to launch a book exchange program that would facilitate and enable American Linguistics departments to send linguistics books to the libraries of Caribbean and African universities.

In 2014, she accepted to co-Chair over a period of three years the LSA Program Committee in charge of organizing the Society's annual conference.

In addition to the positions she held, listed above, the breadth of her research in various areas of linguistics is another distinguishing factor. These areas include theoretical syntax, creole morpho-syntax, diachronic morpho-syntax, theories of creole genesis, language contact, second language acquisition, code-switching in bilingual speakers, and language documentation.  In addition, 5 years ago, she initiated a project involving geneticists from various institutions (Stanford, Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques in Paris, University of Manitoba) in an attempt to unveil the founding populations of Cape Verde islands and the source languages that contributed to the genesis of Cape Verdean Creole.

Marlyse’s publication record blends theoretical analyses with social considerations, reconciling the social with the cognitive, and using different methodologies and interdisciplinary lenses to study the same phenomenon.  For instance, more recently, she used such lenses to study convergence in language contact, a cognitive process she examined using psycholinguistic methods (with Susan Gelman and Erica Beck, 2015; with Susan Gelman, Rawan Bonais, Danielle Labotka and Emily Sabo, in preparation), agent-based modelling (with Jinho Baik and Ken Kollman, in preparation) and a model of language contact (Baptista, in preparation).  According to Marlyse, “I truly enjoy collaborating with students and colleagues at the University of Michigan and at other institutions. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a stimulating and challenging field that never ceases to inspire me.”

Find the complete list of LSA fellows here.

Find out more about Marlyse and her work.