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1. This Society shall be known as the LINGUISTIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA.

2. Its object shall be the advancement of the scientific study of language.


1. There shall be five classes of membership: active members, life members, benefactors, honorary members, subscribing members.

2. Any person may become an active member of the Society by a vote of the Executive Committee and the payment of five dollars as an initiation fee, which shall be considered the first annual fee.

3. On or before December 31 in each year each active member shall pay to the Treasurer an annual fee of five dollars, except as hereinafter provided. If a member does not pay the annual fee within the time prescribed, he shall not receive without payment any further publications of the Society, and he shall not have the right to hold office in the Society or serve on the Executive Committee while his default continues. Such members in default may receive the publications upon payment of all arrears. Members in default for two years shall be dropped from membership.

4. Any active member may become a Life Member by payment at one time, in addition to the dues of the current year, of the sum of One Hundred Dollars, less half the amount already paid in annual dues.

5. Any active member may become a Benefactor by payment at one time, including the dues of the current year, of the sum of not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars. Benefactors shall have all the privileges of membership, including the receipt of publications, and may also designate a library which shall without further payment receive in perpetuity the publications of the Society which are distributed to members.

6. Any active member who has retired from the active exercise of teaching or other profession may, on the recommendation of the Executive Committee and the vote of the Society, be relieved from further payment of annual dues without loss of any of the privileges of active membership.

7. Any foreign scholar of distinction in linquistic studies, not resident in North America, may be elected an Honorary Member, by a fivesixths vote of the Society in its annual business session, provided such scholar has received the recommendation of the Executive Committee. Not more than six honorary members shall be elected at the first election, and thereafter not more than three in any one year. The total number of honorary members shall not exceed twenty-five. Any active member may submit nominations to the Executive Committee.

8. Any library or institution may become a Subscribing Member by payment of Five Dollars annually, and shall have all the privileges of active members, except that of participation in the business meeting of the Society.

9. Life Members, Benefactors, and Honorary Members are free from further payment of dues.

10. All classes of members are entitled to receive the publications of the Society without further charge, except in the case of larger publications issued under special conditions and outside subventions.

11. The sums received as dues of Life Members and Benefactors shall be set aside as endowment, and shall be invested in interest-bearing securities, only the income thereof to be used for current expenses, including those of publication. The Treasurer and two members of the Society, appointed by the Executive Committee, shall be the trustees of the Endowment Fund.


1. The Officers shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.

2. There shall be an Executive Committee, composed of the above Officers and four other members of the Society, who shall serve for two years, two of them being elected each year, and who shall be ineligible for immediate re-election. Between annual meetings of the Society the Executive Committee shall have power to take any action that the Society itself could take; but all its acts must be reported to the Society at the next annual meeting. The Secretary may on his own initiative, and shall at the request of any other member of the Committee, ask


the Executive Committee to vote upon specific questions by mail, and if a majority of the Committee shall vote by mail for or against any measure thus submitted that vote shall be decisive. All former officers and all persons who have been members of the Executive Committee within the last preceding five years shall have the right to attend meetings of the Executive Committee, but they shall not have the right to vote. If any member of the Executive Committee does not attend a meeting of the Committee, he may, by written proxy, appoint a member of the Society to attend and to vote in his stead. But no one person shall by virtue of holding proxies have the right to cast more than one vote.

3. There shall be a Committee on Publications, which shall consist of the Editor (who shall act as chairman) and three other members of the Society. One member of the Committee on Publications shall be elected at each annual meeting of the Society, and he shall serve for

three years.

4. There shall be a Nominating Committee consisting of three members, who shall serve for three years, one of them being elected each year. The member whose term is about to expire shall act as chairman.

5. The Officers and the Editor shall be elected annually. All elections shall be conducted as follows: The Nominating Committee shall nominate one person for each position to be filled at the annual election, and the Secretary shall, at least two months before the annual meeting, mail to the membership notices of these nominations. At the same time he shall mail to the membership nomination blanks, with space for one nomination for each position to be filled. Any member may write the name of a member of the Society in each or any of these spaces, and mail the blank with his signature to the Secretary. If, in this way, as many as three nominate the same candidate for the same position, such candidate shall have equal standing with the one nominated by the Nominating Committee; but the names of the members who nominated him shall not be published by the Secretary. The Secretary shall inquire of each person nominated in either of the two ways just prescribed, whether he will serve if elected. Unless an affirmative reply is received from such a person, his name shall be stricken from the list of nominees. Additional nominations may be made from the floor, provided that each such nomination must be seconded by two members of the Society in order to be valid, and provided that evidence must be presented that such a nominee will serve if elected. If there are two or more nominees for any position, voting for that position shall be by secret ballot.


To meet the needs of scholars with specialized linguistic interests, Groups may be organized, on terms approved by the Executive Committee. The Society shall, through its officers and members, cooperate with the Groups in the furtherance of their aims.


1. There shall be an annual meeting of the Society, at such time and place as shall be determined at a previous meeting, or by the Executive Committee.

2. The Executive Committee shall make all arrangements for the annual meetings.

3. The Executive Committee may call special meetings.

4. Titles and descriptions of papers to be read before the Society must be submitted to the Executive Committee beforehand, and their disposition of such papers, including a possible limitation of the time to be devoted to them, shall be final.


1. The Committee on Publications shall have charge of all publications of the Society, and shall have power to order their publication upon certification of the Treasurer that sufficient money is available.

2. Nothing in this Article shall prevent the publication of occasional bulletins by the Executive Committee.


1. Amendments to this Constitution may be made by vote of twothirds of the members present at any annual meeting of the Society, provided that a proposed amendment has been presented in writing to the Secretary, signed by at least three members of the Society, not less than four months before the meeting.

2. The Secretary shall mail to the membership of the Society, at least one month before the annual meeting, the text of any proposed amendment that has been properly presented in accordance with Section 1 above.



At the Summer Meeting of the Linguistic Society, held at Ann Arbor on July 28-9, 1939, it was voted that it was the sense of the meeting that a Committee should be appointed to investigate the problem of the future of the Linguistic Institute, and also to study the past record and achievements of the Linguistic Institute in its entire history, with a view to making clear the nature and value of its contributions to the development of linguistic science in this country.

The Executive Committee of the Society was consulted by mail and approved the appointment of such a committee, to which the President thereupon appointed Franklin Edgerton (Chairman), Leonard Bloomfield, Charles C. Fries, E. Adelaide Hahn, Roland G. Kent, Hans Kurath, E. H. Sturtevant. On behalf of the Committee, the Secretary of the Society sent out a questionnaire to all members of the eight Institutes which had been held (1928-9, at New Haven, with the cooperation of Yale University; 1930-1 at New York, jointly with the City College; 1936–9 at Ann Arbor, jointly with the University of Michigan). Mr. Sturtevant was charged with the preparation of a history of the Institute, which is here presented, followed by a report on the answers to the questionnaire.


The Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America consists of a voluntary association of scholars and students of linguistic science who assemble for several weeks in the summer to conduct and attend courses of lectures, to engage in formal or informal conferences, and to prepare for or engage in research.

The Institute grew out of the same situation that had led to the formation of the Linguistic Society itself a few years before. An American teacher of linguistic science is ordinarily a member of a college or university department whose other members are primarily interested in the history and interpretation of literature. Very frequently his immediate colleagues have little understanding or sympathy for his interests, and usually he must devote part of his attention to the sub

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