The English Linguistic Society of Japan (henceforth ELSJ) introduced a system of honoring the outstanding academic achievements of members in April 2003. The ELSJ has been striving to make the system better and more comprehensive as stated below.
In April 2003, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of ELSJ and with the aim of encouraging the research of young members, the ELSJ Young Researcher Award, which is given for an outstanding research article displaying creativity and potential for development, was established. The Young Researcher Award was in principle given to one article per year selected from previously unpublished papers submitted to the ELSJ by members who are not more than 37 years old (or who completed a master’s program less than 10 years prior to the application deadline). Excellent articles that were close in quality may be awarded “honorable mention”, which was renamed the Award for Promising Young Researchers in 2008. Award-winning articles and those receiving honorable mention were published in English Linguistics.
In November 2008, in order to further promote research activities and make the ELSJ more international, and at the same time to provide opportunities to mid-career researchers who exceed the age of applicants for the Young Researcher Award, a new category of the ELSJ Award was established, for which books as well as articles are eligible.
There were 27 submissions made for the ELSJ Young Researcher Award from the academic year 2003 to the academic year 2009. During these seven years, under strict screening, no Awards were granted, but two submissions were granted honorable mentions, and there was one Award for Promising Young Researchers, as shown in the list of awardees on the ELSJ website. In the academic year 2009, one book was selected for the ELSJ Award.
In the academic year 2010, the English Linguistics Research Promotion Award was introduced by the Editorial Board. Articles and Brief Articles that have been accepted and published in the previous academic year’s volume of English Linguistics are considered as candidates for this award and the selection is made by the Editorial Board.
On this occasion, the ELSJ set up a Working Group to reconsider the application process for the Young Researcher Award and the ELSJ Award, and reexamined the submission and screening process for those awards. In October 2010, a new tripartite awarding system, beginning in the academic year 2011, was introduced. The outline of the ELSJ Prize, the ELSJ Senior Researcher Award, and the ELSJ Junior Researcher Award is as follows:
Books written by any ELSJ member which are concerned with English linguistics (either synchronic or diachronic), linguistic theory, or the comparison of English with other languages are eligible for the ELSJ Prize.
Only Articles and Brief Articles that have been selected for the EL Research Promotion Awards are eligible for the ELSJ Senior Researcher Award and the ELSJ Junior Researcher Award. The ELSJ Junior Researcher Award is given to ELSJ members who are less than 40 years old (or those who have completed a master’s (or pre-doctoral) program less than ten years earlier), while the ELSJ Senior Researcher Award is given to ELSJ members who are 40 years old or above.
From the academic year 2011 onwards, every academic year between June and October, a selection is made under rigorous screening in separate screening committees for the ELSJ Prize, the ELSJ Senior Award, and the ELSJ Junior Award, and the awards ceremony is held at the general meeting of the ELSJ annual Conference. The results are announced in the newsletter and in English Linguistics, and messages from each academic year’s awardees are posted on the ELSJ website.
In the academic year 2014, the EL Research Promotion Award was renamed the EL Research Paper Award. In 2015, the Best Speaker Award for the annual Conference was introduced. In 2016, the Best Speaker Award for the International Spring Forum was introduced. In 2018, the two Best Speaker Awards were renamed the Best Paper Awards. The Best Paper Award honors members who have made excellent presentations at the annual Conference and the International Spring Forum, with the aim of fostering young researchers and encouraging research activities in the various subfields of linguistics. Award-winners are given a certificate in the name of the president of the ELSJ, and their names and their presentation titles are announced in the newsletter and posted on the ELSJ website.