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The ACTFL-NFMLTA/MLJ Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education

The Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education was created in 1977 in response to the initiative of an anonymous donor. It was established as a memorial to Paul Pimsleur and recognizes his contributions to the profession as an outstanding teacher, researcher, and expert on test creation and interpretation. His professional influence was felt internationally, and his work lives on through the Pimsleur Aptitude Tests and the materials for independent language learning that he created.

Since 1989, recipients have received a $500 cash award provided by the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers' Association (NFMLTA) and The Modern Language Journal. Beginning in 2001, $500 is awarded to the author and to the principal co-author(s) of articles chosen for the Pimsleur Award. The cash award is evidence of the commitment of ACTFL, NFMLTA and The Modern Language Journal to research in foreign and second language acquisition and to the application of its results to the classroom.

Criteria for Selection

  1. The recipient(s) shall be the author(s) of an outstanding contribution to research in foreign language or second language education.  The study shall have been published during the previous calendar year (i.e., the 2017 Award will be given for work published during the calendar year 2016).
  2. The quality of the research and its potential impact on foreign language learning or teaching comprise the principal criteria for selection. The research may be language-­specific or language-general. Studies using any quantitative, statistical procedures for data gathering and data analyses, qualitative/descriptive research approaches, or mixed approaches will be considered. Each study will be assessed in the light of the salience of the question(s) asked, the appropriateness and rigor of its research approach, and the significance of its contribution to knowledge within the language education field.
  3. The recipient is not required to be an ACTFL member nor a subscriber to the MLJ.


  1. ACTFL will appoint an awards committee to be co-chaired by a representative of ACTFL and a representative from NFMLTA.  The co-chairs will serve in a non-voting capacity.
  2. ACTFL and Modern Language Journal will advertise the award widely and ACTFL will solicit nominations for the award from editors of relevant North American journals (such as, but not limited to, Applied Language Learning, Applied Linguistics, CALICO Journal, Canadian Modern Language Review, Foreign Language Annals, French Review, Hispania, Japanese Language and Literature, Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association, Language Learning, Language Learning and Technology, Modern Language Journal, Studies in Second Language Learning, TESOL Quarterly, Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German). Each editor may submit up to three nominations.
  3. Committee members rate and rank the research articles submitted to ACTFL.
  4. At the discretion of the committee, the award may or may not be presented during a given year.
  5. No ACTFL Board Member, Officer, or contracted employee is eligible for nomination for any award while holding these position.
  6. Letters of recommendation are to be sent to the person submitting the nomination so that they may be included in the complete nomination submission package.


  • Nominations submitted online on or before: May 29.
  • Committee review, ranking and rating completed: September 1.
  • Pimsleur Award Chairperson submits final results of the competition to ACTFL Headquarters by September 12.
  • Pimsleur Award Chairperson submits a 200-word statement on why the recipient was chosen: September 30.
  • Winner submits 150-word acceptance remarks to be printed in Awards Ceremony Brochure: September 30.

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Previous Recipients

2019: Marisela Bonilla López, KU Leuven (Belgium), Universidad de Costa Rica; Elke Van Steendam, KU Leuven (Belgium); Dirk Speelman, KU Leuven (Belgium); Kris Buyse KU Leuven, (Belgium); 2018: Paulina Maczuga, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Mary Grantham O’Brien, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Johannes Knaus, Max Planck Digital Library, Munich, Germany; 2017: Shoko Sasayama, Georgetown University; 2016: Tara Fortune and Diane Tedick, CARLA, University of Minnesota; 2015: Wendy Baker-Smemoe, Dan P. Dewey, Jennifer Bown, and Rob A. Martinsen, Brigham Young University; 2014: Masatoshi Sato, Universidad Andres Bello; 2013: Laurent Cammarata, University of Alberta & Diane Tedick, University of Minnesota; 2012: Susan Gass & Luke Plonsky, Michigan State University; 2011: Rachel L. Shively, Illinois State University 2010: Laura Collins, Pavel Trofimovich, Joanna White, Walcir Cardoso, and Marlise Horst, Concordia University, Montreal Canada; 2009: Julie Belz, Indiana University and Nina Vyatkina, University of Kansas;  2008: Matthew E. Poehner, Pennsylvania State University; 2007:  Paul D. Toth;  University of Wisconsin-Madison; 2006:  Richard Donato;  University of Pittsburgh and Frank B. Brooks; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; 2005: JoAnn Hammadou Sullivan; University of Rhode Island; 2004: Hiram H. Maxim, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; 2003: Junko Mori, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; 2002: Paul Toth, University of Akron, Akron, OH; 2001: John Norris, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI; Lourdes Ortega, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; 2000: Rob Schoonen, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Jan Hulstijn, Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Bart Bossers, Free University, The Netherlands; 1999: Matthew Saxton, Royal Holloway University of London, Surrey, England; 1998: Roy Lyster, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Leila Ranta, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 1997: Richard Donato, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Janis L. Antonek, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC; G. Richard Tucker, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; 1996: Teresa  Cadierno, Odense University, Denmark; 1995: Susan M. Gass, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; Evangeline Marlos Varonis, University of Akron, Akron, OH; 1994: Susan Bacon, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; 1993: Catherine Doughty, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; 1992: George Yule, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, and Doris M. Macdonald, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL; 1991: Michael D. Finnemann, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL; 1990: Fred Genesee and Wallace E. Lambert, McGill University, Mon­treal, Quebec, Canada, with graduate students Naomi E. Holobow and Louise Chartrand; 1989: Russell N. Campbell, University of Califor­nia at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; Amado A. Padilla, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; Marguerite Ann Snow, California State University at Los Angeles; 1988: Teresa Pica, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; 1987: Marva A. Barnett, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; 1986: Henry Edwards, Richard Clement, Bastian Kruidenier, and Marjorie Wesche, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and Stephen Krashen, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; 1985: Patricia L. Carrell, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL; 1984: Jacqueline Ross, Boulder Public Schools, Boulder, CO, and Charles Stansfield, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ; 1983: John E. Lalande II, Univer­sity of Missouri, Columbia, MO; 1982: Thomas C. Cooper and Genelle G. Morain, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; 1981: Ellen Bialystok, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Ontario, Canada; 1980: Alice C. Omaggio, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; Janet King Swaffar and Margaret S. Woodruff, University of Texas, Austin; 1979: William Flint Smith and Linda L. Nieman, Purdue University, Lafayette, IN.