The Smiley Award is an annual award for excellence in conlanging. Each year, David J. Peterson passes out a Smiley Award to a conlang that has not won one before. Many big-name conlangs such as Teonaht, Ithkuil, Kēlen, Okuna, Brithenig, and Verdurian have had the fortune of being awarded a Smiley.
Peterson has said that he awards conlangers the Smiley Award because he has always enjoyed giving out awards to people for various reasons.
When the first Smiley Award was awarded to Kalusa in 2006, it was announced on the first Monday of June. Back in 2006, Peterson's plan was to announce it on the first Monday of June every year from then on. In 2007, however, Peterson forgot all about the Smiley on the first Monday of June and had a change of plans: July 1. Then, the next year, Peterson had his wedding on June 29 and was therefore too busy to write up a Smiley page on July 1; therefore, he changed it to some Monday in June or July of its respective year. Finally, in 2010, Peterson awarded David Bell a posthumous Smiley for his ámman îar on September 1, and ever since the protocol has simply been to award the Smiley some day during that calendar year. In many recent years, eleventh-hour Smileys have been written up on Peterson's website in late December.
Rules for Smiley Awards
On his website, Peterson lists the following seven criteria and parameters for which languages may receive Smileys and how he awards them:
- Smileys are given out to languages, families of languages, or language projects (not language creators).
- The language must be current (i.e. being invented/used during the year of the award).
- The language must be detailed to some degree on the internet (I need something to look at and link to).
- Smileys are given out exclusively to amateur languages (i.e. not Esperanto, Klingon, Atlantean, etc.).
- The language must be a language, or something similar.
- One language cannot win more than one Smiley (though one language creator may).
- The winner will be a language that, for one reason or another, makes me smile.
Peterson also accepts nominations, but discourages people from nominating their own conlangs. He finds such gems as Rikchik and Idrani mostly through surfing conlanging websites, fora, and mailing lists and other people bringing them to his attention. There are no restrictions on where these award-winning conlangs fall on the Gnoli Triangle: he accepts exolangs, elflangs, altlangs, lostlangs, fauxlangs, micronational languages, personal languages, engelangs, auxlangs, stealth languages, and more!
These are the languages that have won a Smiley Award since its inception in 2006:
- 2006: Kalusa (a colllang spearheaded by Gary Shannon)
- 2007: Teonaht (Sally Caves)
- 2008: Ithkuil (John Quijada)
- 2009: Kēlen (Sylvia Sotomayor)
- 2010: ámman îar (David Bell)
- 2011: Okuna (Matt Pearson)
- 2012: Rikchik (Denis Moskowitz)
- 2013: Brithenig (Andrew Smith)
- 2014: Skerre (Doug Ball)
- 2015: Kash (Roger Mills)
- 2016: Ilaini (Irina Rempt)
- 2017: Idrani (Trent Pehrson)
- 2018: Tapissary (Steven Travis)
- 2019: Fith (Jeffrey Henning)
- 2020: Verdurian (Mark Rosenfelder)