UNM Linguistics Professor Melissa Axelrod was recently nationally recognized with an award from the Linguistic Society of America for her work studying endangered and extinct languages.

"I was surprised and honored to receive this award,” Axelrod said. “I have been incredibly lucky to work with some extremely intelligent, generous and inspiring community members on their language documentation and revitalization efforts. I am very grateful to them, and to my supportive colleagues and my brilliant students.”

Having worked with several native communities within New Mexico, Axelrod has demonstrated her dedication to the study of linguistics. Her research focuses on the documentation and revitalization of languages in Native American communities, as well as morphosyntax and semantics in polysynthetic languages. She first started working on community language projects in 1981 and began working in the Southwest after joining the UNM faculty in 1995. Since then her work has been published on numerous platforms.  

“Professor Axelrod embodies the mission of the Department of Linguistics,” said UNM Linguistics Department Chair Jill Morford. “Students flock to her because her commitment to building relationships with students, colleagues and local collaborators provides a welcoming entry into a place of mutual discovery of the intricacies of human language.”

The award, named for the late linguist Kenneth L. Hale, is presented by the Linguistic Society of America. The LSA is a members-based organization dedicated to the scientific study of language. The organization awards many members throughout its community, recognizing the various scholarly and professional accomplishments in the field of linguistics. Axelrod received the award at a ceremony Jan. 7. She is the seventh scholar to receive the award since it was established in 2002.

Another UNM professor to win the award was Professor Emeritus Robert Young, who received his award in 2006 for his work on the Navajo language.

For more information about the LSA visit their website.