Lisa J. Green, Linguistics, Receives Ubora Award From the African Hall Committee of the Springfield Museums
Lisa J. Green, '93PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Linguistics and associate dean for graduate education within the College of Humanities & Fine Arts, has been named a recipient of the Ubora Youth Award for 2023.
Green was selected by the African Hall Committee of the Springfield Museums for her commitment to the Greater Springfield area, honored for her excellence in community service, education, science, academics, and the humanities.
An expert in syntax and African American English (AAE), Green founded the Center for the Study of African American Language at UMass in 2006 and currently serves as director. The center's goal is to foster and integrate research on language in the African American community and applications of that research in educational, social, and cultural realms.
“I could not believe that I had been selected (for the Ubora Award),” Green told WWLP, “especially because I was very familiar with a number of previous recipients and simply could not see myself even approaching being in such amazing company. It is an incredible honor.”
Green is the author of "African American English: A Linguistic Introduction" and "Language and the African American Child," and is currently working on a third.
In addition to her academic achievements, Green is active in community service, working as a volunteer and mentor with the Greater Springfield Chapter of Links, Inc.; the Western Massachusetts Chapter of Jack and Jill of America; and the Xi Xi Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Since 1996, she has been running a children’s summer reading program that she started at a church in her hometown of Lake Arthur, Louisiana.
Her research investigates variation within and across varieties of English, with a focus on African American English (AAE). In moving away from the traditional approach of studying isolated features of AAE that differ maximally from constructions in the standard and mainstream varieties of English, she considers systems in the AAE grammar, such as the systems of tense/aspect marking and negation. Green’s work also explores the link between discourse and structural positions of elements in the left periphery. Her work on child AAE addresses questions about optionality and variation in language development.
The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Springfield Museums on Saturday, Sept. 16, which is open to the public. Learn more about the ceremony.