The Smiley Award

Image of Smiley Award.

By some odd coincidence, no doubt, you have reached the home of the one and only Smiley Award! The Smiley Award is awarded to a created language that has caught my eye within the past year. It carries with it no cash reward; no trophy; no plaque; no ribbon; not even a gift certificate to a SüpreTrenz Cáffê Kho coffee shop. In fact, as it's recognized by no sanctioning body I've ever heard of, it probably isn't anything much to write home about. Nevertheless, it exists. As a result, this page is here to describe what exactly the Smiley Award is all about, and to provide a listing of all Smiley Award winners to date.


The Winners

Below is a list of the winners of the Smiley Award, listed in inverse chronological order:


Origin of the Smiley Award

There are no awards for language creation. There are no fantastic scholarships or grants. There are no job opportunities (except for those that don't create languages, it seems). Usually all there is is ridicule and scorn. Unless one finds an online community like Conlang, there is no audience for a created language save oneself. Yet that doesn't stop language creators from doing what they love best. That in and of itself is something to be admired. And admire it I shall!

Ever since I can remember, I've had a penchant for giving out awards. When I was the president of SLUG, I abused my power to create two awards that I gave out during the 2003 Berkeley linguistics graduation. Why? Simply because I could. In fact, upon waking in the morning, I sometimes give myself a You Successfully Woke Up Yet Again! award to encourage myself. That's just how I roll.

In 2006, upon the successful conclusion of the First Language Creation Conference, I was writing up my overview of the whole weekend, when I was overcome by this overwhelming urge to pat someone on the back. The urge resulted in my presentation of the "Thank You For Following the Rules" award to Doug Ball, who was the only presenter not to exceed the alotted time for his talk (pretty significant, since we went an hour over). The presentation was a smashing success.

Shortly thereafter, I thought to myself, "Gee, wouldn't it be nice if there were an award for conlangs?" I also then thought, "Gee, wouldn't it be neat if I could give out more awards for...something or other?" Several hours later, these thoughts got down and funky with one another, and the Smiley was born!


How the Smileys Are Awarded

The first official Smiley Award was announced on the first Monday of June in 2006. I intended to announce it on the first Monday of June every year, but in 2007, I...forgot. In fact, I thought I'd set it up to announce it on July 1st every year. So, from 2007 forward, it will be announced on July 1st of every year. Except that in 2008 I got married on June 29th. As a consequence, I was too busy on the first Monday of June, and I was on my honeymoon on July 1st, so I decided to just give it out on the next Monday available, July 14th. So, let it be known! From here on out, the Smiley Award will be awarded on the first Monday of June, or July 1st, or some Monday in June or July! That should cover any future slip-ups... (Oh, except for 2009, when the Smiley was awarded in March. Well...at least it was in the right year!)

Actually, you know what? Scratch that. In 2010, the Smiley wasn't given out on in June or July—or even a Monday—but on September 1st, which turned out to be a Wednesday. So how about this: The Smiley will be given out some time during the calendar year in which it's supposed to be awarded. That should be a deadline I can keep up with!

The sole distributor of the Smiley Award is me. Somehow or other (perhaps magically), I've patented my little smiley face guy with the little hair squiggle, and therefore, only I am authorized to hand out Smileys. The criteria are as follows:

  1. Smileys are given out to languages, families of languages, or language projects (not language creators).
  2. The language must be current (i.e. being invented/used during the year of the award).
  3. The language must be detailed to some degree on the internet (I need something to look at and link to).
  4. Smileys are given out exclusively to amateur languages (i.e. not Esperanto, Klingon, Atlantean, etc.).
  5. The language must be a language, or something similar.
  6. One language cannot win more than one Smiley (though one language creator may).
  7. The winner will be a language that, for one reason or another, makes me smile.

That's about it. Thus, artlangs, auxlangs, engelangs, freaklangs, altlangs, lostlangs, etc. are all fair game.

I will accept nominations for Smiley Awards, but wish to officially discourage self-nomination (I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings). The best way to bring a language to my attention is to post it on Langmaker.com (which...no longer exists) or write something about it on Conlang. Other than that, I surf the net. If something's noteworthy, I'll find it.

This page was last modified on Monday, December 30, 2013.
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