The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Abstract Guidelines

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General Guidelines (back to top)

  • All authors must be members of SSILA (visit our membership and renewal page for more information about joining). The membership requirement may be waived for co-authors, or for participants in organized sessions, who are from disciplines other than those ordinarily represented by SSILA (linguistics and linguistic anthropology). Requests for waivers of membership must be made by a member of the Society to the SSILA Executive Secretary. (Note: Membership in LSA is not required for participation in SSILA sessions.)
  • Any member may submit one single-author abstract and one multi-author abstract OR two multi-author abstracts.
  • After an abstract has been submitted, no changes of author, title, or wording of the abstract, other than those due to typographical errors, are permitted.
  • Papers or posters must be delivered as projected in the abstract or represent bona fide developments of the same research.
  • Papers must not appear in print before the meeting.
  • Handouts, if any, are not to be submitted with abstracts but should be available at the meeting for those listening to the presentation.
  • All presenters of individual papers or posters and all participants in organized sessions must register for the meeting through LSA.
  • Authors who must withdraw from the program should inform the SSILA Executive Secretary as soon as possible.
  • Authors may not submit identical abstracts for presentation at the SSILA meeting and the LSA meeting or a meeting of one of the Sister Societies (ADS, ANS, NAAHoLS, SPCL, TALE). Authors who are discovered to have done so will have these abstracts removed from consideration. Authors may submit substantially different abstracts for presentation at the SSILA meeting and an LSA or Sister Society meeting.
  • Late abstracts will not be considered, whatever the reason for the delay.
  • Abstracts may be submitted in either English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Abstract Format (back to top)

Please see the Instructions for Submitting Abstracts with EasyChair for important information about long and short abstracts.

  • Submissions for the SSILA meeting require two abstracts:
    • Short Abstract – This abstract should be no more than 100 words, and will be used for publication in the meeting handbook. In EasyChair, you will paste this into the “Abstract” box under the Title and Abstract heading.
    • Long Abstract – This abstract is the one that will be evaluated for inclusion in the meeting program. The long abstract should be a PDF file. In EasyChair, you will select the PDF file containing your abstract to upload at the “Long Abstract” prompt under the Other Information and Uploads heading.
  • Abstracts should be uploaded as a file in PDF format to the abstract submittal form on the EasyChair website.
  • The abstract, including examples if needed, should be no more than one typed page (11pt or 12pt font, single spaced, with 1-inch margins); a second page may be used for references. Abstracts longer than one page will be rejected without being evaluated.
  • At the top of the abstract, give a title that is not more than one 7-inch typed line and that clearly indicates the topic of the paper.
  • Include the ISO 639-3 code(s) of any language(s) discussed in the body of the abstract, following the first mention of the name of the language.
  • Abstracts will be reviewed anonymously. Do not include your name on the abstract. If you identify yourself in any way in the abstract (e.g. “In Smith (1992)…I”), the abstract will be rejected without being evaluated. Of course, it may be necessary to refer to your own work in the third person in order to appropriately situate the research.
  • Abstracts which do not conform to these format guidelines will not be considered.

Abstract Contents (back to top)

Papers or posters whose main topic does not focus on the indigenous languages of the Americas will be rejected without further consideration by the Program Committee. The Program Committee requires further that the subject matter be related to linguistics and language revitalization, that the research presented include new findings or developments not published before the meeting, that the papers not be submitted with malicious or scurrilous intent, and that the abstract be coherent and in accord with these guidelines.

Abstracts are more often rejected because they omit crucial information rather than because of errors in what they include. The most important criterion is relevance to the understanding of indigenous languages of the Americas, but other factors are important, too. It is important to present results so that they will be of interest to the whole SSILA (and larger) linguistic community, not just to those who work on the same language or language family that you do.

A suggested outline for abstracts is as follows:

  1. State the problem or research question raised by prior work, with specific reference to relevant prior research.
  2. Give a clear indication of the nature and source of your data (primary fieldwork, archival research, secondary sources).
  3. State the main point or argument of the proposed presentation.
  4. Regardless of the subfield, cite sufficient data, and explain why and how they support the main point or argument. For examples in languages other than English, provide word-by-word glosses and underline or boldface the portions of the examples which are critical to the argument.
  5. State the relevance of your ideas to past work or to the future development of the field. Describe analyses in as much detail as possible. Avoid saying in effect “a solution to this problem will be presented”. If you are taking a stand on a controversial issue, summarize the arguments that led you to your position.
  6. State the contribution to linguistic research made by the analysis.
  7. Please include a list of references for any work cited in the abstract.

Categories of Presentation (back to top)

Authors are required to indicate the preferred category of their presentation at the time of submitting the abstract. The program committee will try to accommodate this preference as space and time allow. The categories to choose from are:

  • applied linguistics
  • historical linguistics
  • language revitalization
  • lexicography
  • morphology
  • phonetics
  • phonology
  • semantics
  • sociolinguistics
  • syntax
  • (other)

You will also be able to select the geographic area that the languages discussed in your abstract are/were spoken in when you submit your abstract on EasyChair.

20-Minute Papers

The bulk of the program will consist of 20-minute papers, with 10 additional minutes for discussion. See the guidelines for preparing abstracts for these papers above.


Depending on subject and/or content, it may be more appropriate to submit an abstract to the poster session for visual presentation rather than to a 20-minute paper session. In general, the sorts of papers which are most effective as posters are those in which the major conclusions become evident from the thoughtful examination of charts and graphs, rather than those which require the audience to follow a sustained chain of verbal argumentation. Therefore, authors will want to make points in narrative form as brief as possible. A poster should be able to stand alone—that is, be understandable even if the author is not present. Abstracts for posters should follow the same guidelines as those for papers. SSILA poster sessions share space with LSA posters.

Organized Sessions

SSILA welcomes submission of organized session proposals. Organized sessions typically involve more than one scholar and are expected to make a distinctive and creative contribution to the meeting. Proposals for organized sessions are NOT reviewed anonymously. These sessions may be: (1) symposia which include several presentations on a single topic; (2) workshops focused on a specific theme or issue; (3) colloquia which include a major presentation with one or more invited discussants; or (4) sessions of any other kind with a clear, specific, and coherent rationale.

The organizer(s) of such sessions should notify the program coordinator of their intent to submit a proposal at the earliest possible date, including a general statement of the purpose and structure of the session. A full proposal must be submitted to the program chair by June 1st and must include: (1) a session abstract outlining the purpose, motivation, length (maximum: 3 hours), and justification for the session; (2) names of all participants, including discussants, and titles of papers; and (3) a complete account, including timetable, of what each participant will do. Note that organized sessions, even when structured as symposia, do not have to follow the 20-minute paper + 10-minute discussion format.

All participants in organized sessions should submit an abstract of their paper following the submission instructions. Should the organized session not be accepted, the abstracts will be considered instead for the general session.

Instructions for Submitting Abstracts via EasyChair (back to top)

Submissions for the SSILA meeting require two abstracts:

  • Short Abstract – This abstract should be no more than 100 words, and will be used for publication in the meeting handbook. In EasyChair, you will paste this into the Abstract box under the Title and Abstract heading.
  • Long Abstract – This abstract is the one that will be evaluated for inclusion in the meeting program. The long abstract should be a PDF file. In EasyChair, you will select the PDF file containing your abstract to upload at the Long Abstract prompt under the Other Information and Uploads heading.

Submissions are limited to one page per abstract (11pt or 12pt, single spaced, with 1-inch margins).  References should appear on a second page.

The submission process requires two stages:

  1. Create your EasyChair account (if you don’t already have one)
  2. Submit your abstract(s)

Creating an Account in EasyChair

  1. Go to the EasyChair site:
  2. Click Sign Up in the top right corner of the page and follow the instructions for entry into the system.
  3. Enter your name and email address and click Continue.
  4. Check your email. You will receive a message from EasyChair. Follow the instructions there.
  5. Make a note of your username and password for future reference.

Submitting Your Abstract(s) in EasyChair

  1. Go to the EasyChair conference submission page
  2. Log in using the EasyChair username and password. (See Creating an Account in EasyChair if you do not yet have an account.)
  3. Click New Submission. On the page that appears, you will need to identify the author(s), title, keywords, topics, and submission groups of the proposed paper, and submit your short abstract and long abstract.
  4. Authors:
    • Enter the information requested about the author(s):
      • For yourself, you can click the link at the top of the author box to enter the information from your account profile into the form.
      • For co-authors, type in their information.
      • If there are more than 3 authors, select Click here to add more authors.
      • Use the Corresponding author checkboxes to select which author(s) will get email from the EasyChair system and Program Committee.
  5. Title and Abstract and Other Information
    • Enter the Title of the paper. This must be not more than one 7-inch typed line.
    • Enter the prepublication (Short) Abstract. If your paper is accepted, this short abstract will appear in the Meeting Handbook. Cut and paste the abstract into the text box provided.  Maximum length is 100 words.
    • Enter the keywords (at least 3, up to 5) that apply to your paper.  Please include the subareas to which your paper belongs.
      • If your paper is to be considered part of an organized session, include the name of that session as Keyword 1 and check the submission group box for organized session (see submission group below).
    • Under Topics, select the main field of the paper (to be used by the program committee to group papers).
    • Enter the submission group of your application, if appropriate:
      • If you are applying for Travel Assistance, click the box, then go to the travel assistance page and follow instructions for the Travel Assistance Awards.
      • If your paper is part of an organized session, click the box, then enter the name of the session as the first Keyword (see above).
      • Submissions will be considered for presentation as papers or posters as scheduling permits.  Choose Poster only if you do not wish to present your research as a paper.
  6. Upload Long Abstract
    • The long abstract, written according to the guidelines described above, must be uploaded here.
    • Use PDF format.
    • Use the browse button to find your abstract document on your computer.
    • Click Submit.
  7. Logout by selecting Sign out in the top menu bar.
  8. Questions? Please contact the Executive Secretary ( if you have any questions about, or difficulty with, your abstract submission.
Updated: July 28, 2017 — 1:21 pm
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