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Featured Linguist: Kleanthes K. Grohmann

LINGUIST List Fund Drive 2015

Featured Linguist: Kleanthes K. Grohmann

Kleanthes K. Grohmann

University of Cyprus & Cyprus Acquisition Team


Born and raised in Herford, Ostwestfalen, with Greek roots, I left for university at age 21 after the usual, school (9 years of torture) and alternative civilian service (13 months back then). I found salvation in beautiful Wales where I enrolled for a BA (Hons) in Linguistics at the University of North Wales, Bangor (Bangor University nowadays). As it happened, of all courses listed in the catalogue, Linguistics was the only subject I didn’t have much of an opinion about (like, “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do that”) — in fact, I didn’t even know what it was. Good start. Little did I know that this process of elimination would shape my future (i.e. current) life. (Well, truth be told, I had a wonderful Ancient Greek and Philosophy teacher in high school who got me started thinking about Indo-European language families and relations, but that was about it.)

Kleanthes K. Grohmann

Featured Linguist: Kleanthes K. Grohmann

After getting hooked on generative grammar (with many thanks to my excellent teachers Ian Roberts, Bob Borsley, and Anna Roussou!), I concentrated on theoretical linguistics, spent an Erasmus exchange semester at the Université de Genève (taking courses with Liliane Haegeman, Luigi Rizzi, Ur Shlonsky, Adriana Belletti, and others), and graduated in July 1996 with an Honors Thesis on scrambling and weak pronouns in German. With a BA in my pocket and a lot of hope in my heart, I enrolled for doctoral studies in the Department of Linguistics’ graduate program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Kleanthes K. Grohmann

Featured Linguist: Kleanthes K. Grohmann

Studying with brilliant teachers such as Juan Uriagereka, David Lightfoot, Paul Pietroski, Stephen Crain, and many others — not to forget my fantastic supervisor Norbert Hornstein — I first achieved candidacy with my main generals papers on superiority and was then awarded a PhD in December 2000 for my thesis on anti-locality in grammar. In the meantime, I had my first experiences at international conferences, attended the GLOW Summer School in Thermi, Lesvos (Greece), started Punks in Science with my dear friend Jeff Parrott (a project we unfortunately had to give up a few years ago), and made contact with the great people at ZAS in Berlin. Thanks to Ewald Lang, I landed my first job there, in January 2001. That was short-lived, however, since, thanks to the efforts of my now close friend Joachim Sabel, I was offered the first postdoctoral position in syntax at the Graduiertenkolleg Satzarten in Frankfurt, then coordinated by Günther Grewendorf.

Kleanthes K. Grohmann

Featured Linguist: Kleanthes K. Grohmann

After a good year there, a semester at the Institut für Linguistik: Anglistik in Stuttgart (thanks to Artemis Alexiadou), and two semesters at the Englisches Seminar in Cologne (thanks to Jon Erickson), I was hired by the then Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Cyprus in 2003. In my first year, I was a Visiting Lecturer in the fall and Visiting Assistant Professor in the spring semester, subsequently hired as full-time academic faculty at the rank of Assistant Professor in 2004 in the then restructured Department of English Studies. In this period, I brought to life and nourished the GACL workshop series, a student-oriented workshop where our under- and post-graduate students presented their work in a relaxed atmosphere with some famous colleagues from abroad. I also organized the by now infamous InterPhases conference (“definitely the biggest conference on Phase Theory and Interfaces ever held, which brought together some 200 linguists in Nicosia to exchange ideas on various issues regarding these topics”; see http://linguistlist.org/issues/21/21-1718.html). It featured several invited speakers (Richard Kayne, Howard Lasnik, and Gereon Müller) and Noam Chomsky for the keynote address, who also received an honorary doctorate from UCY at the occasion.

During these years, I also founded the free online journal Biolinguistics with Cedric Boeckx in 2007 (now with a new Biolinguistics Blog, set up by Bridget Samuels and other Biolinguistics Task Team members and even a Facebook group), carried out my first UCY-internally funded research project on minimalism (2007–2009), for which I compiled a glossary of key concepts and definitions with the help of my research assistant Christos Vlachos, and participated in COST Action A33 on language development in 5-year-olds coordinated by Uli Sauerland (2006–2010). Subsequently, I developed an ever-growing interest in Cypriot Greek and its development, especially first language acquisition in typically developing and language-impaired children.

With the creation of the Cyprus Acquisition Team in 2009, I ventured deeper into this world and later participated in COST Action IS0804 on bilingual SLI (2009–2013), coordinated by Sharon Armon-Lotem, for which I also served as Dissemination Officer. My next grant was another UCY-funded research project, Gen-CHILD (2010–2012). The Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation then funded two further projects of mine. One was a Young Researcher’s project on the L1 Acquisition of Pronominal Object Clitics in Cypriot Greek, for which I coordinated research by Theoni Neokleous who at the time pursued a PhD at the University of Cambridge, and a big project on SLI, on the Early Identification and Assessment of Preschool Children with Specific Language Impairment in Cyprus.

At the moment we’re working on a small research project funded by the Leventis Foundation through the University of Cyprus in which we created an adaptation to Cyprus and collect data for the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories, with the postdoctoral researcher Loukia Taxitari. Another postdoctoral researcher, Christiana Christodoulou, landed a prestigious Marie Curie Career Integration Grant under my supervision for a project investigating language abilities in Greek Cypriot children with Down Syndrome (in comparison to typically language-developing children).

Much of this work is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, including people from theoretical and applied linguistics, psycho- and neurolinguistics, developmental and cognitive psychology, statistical research methodology, and speech–language pathology. The great thing about this kind of research is that one never runs out of collaborators — or ideas!

I was awarded tenure at UCY in November 2009 and am currently Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies, up for my final promotion as we speak. Since then, I have served, among other things, as Chair (= Head of Department), elected member of the University Senate, and (currently) Vice-Dean of the School of Humanities.

These days, my main activities revolve around research related to activities within and beyond, but always inspired by, CAT (http://www.research.biolinguistics.eu/CAT): socio-syntax of language acquisition and development, comparative bilingualism, multilingual development in typical, atypical, and impaired children — and all of that with a biolinguistic angle. Speaking of which, check out the cool journal: it’s free, it’s open access, and it’s becoming better every year! Biolinguistics can be accessed through http://www.biolinguistics.eu and doesn’t even require registration. We can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BIOLINGUISTICS.Journal) — and very soon on Twitter with lots of additional social media activities.

Last but not least: And keep reading my daily news bulletin of the past two decades: Linguist List!  :-)

The LINGUIST List Operation

Dear LINGUIST List supporters,

Many of you have heard that the LINGUIST List relocated from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti to Indiana University in Bloomington in 2014. Please allow us to summarize what this relocation involved.

In spring 2014 we started cleaning out the former space of LINGUIST List and the Institute for Language Information and Technology (ILIT) at EMU and planning the relocation to Indiana University. Some team members decided to join us in the relocation and continue their work and lives at the new location. Unfortunately, not everybody could join us. Our editors Uliana and Danuta continue to support LINGUIST List remotely, but decided to stay in Michigan.

As you can imagine, the LINGUIST List operation involves a significant amount of technology and equipment. The servers that the LINGUIST List was using in Michigan supported among others the following systems:

It was clear that it would not be possible to relocate the hardware (7 servers of varying age and capacity) and the other equipment. One of the problems we were facing was that policies and restrictions at our new hosting institution would not allow us to operate the respective servers there. It also quickly became clear that the LINGUIST List would not have the funds to pay the expensive licenses for commercial software, e.g. LISTSERV, Adobe ColdFusion, or Oracle database server at the new location.

Many of our online linguistic tools (e.g. LEGO, GOLD, etc.) were developed long ago, with funds from research grants, using now outdated software, with systems running untouched for years on outdated infrastructure, written in programming languages that have been overhauled ever since and so on. As in any research environment with IT-systems and software, as soon as the software is ready and installed, the environment, programming language, and systems are outdated and need updates. For many systems, we were facing the situation that they could not be updated at all anymore, since they relied on components that were removed from modern Linux distributions years ago, because the programming languages and libraries they used were not even available anymore (in the required version).

All these issues together posed a serious problem. LINGUIST had no resources to fund new servers or the redevelopment and adaptation of the software and applications. No research funding agency could be approached in such a short time to help find a solution and preserve the data and applications. LINGUIST had no funds for a basic IT-infrastructure, or the mentioned commercial software licenses for the existing infrastructure and organization. On the other hand, the basics to run an operation like LINGUIST and all the projects and online applications were missing. The infrastructure demands are huge, e.g. a large digital storage space and quite high computational power to cope with the amount of data are needed, to serve millions of access requests every day, handle large amounts of data transfer, etc. On the other hand, the labor necessary to handle the setup, installation, administration, programming and data management was just overwhelming and immense. We had no funds to support any external IT-person to help us with the launch of the systems and services.

As you can imagine, in addition to these problems, there was no available solution to get help with these technical problems. There was not even time to ask for help, to start a new fund drive, or explain to willing helpers and volunteers what needs to be done, and how one could help us. As we were running out of funds, we were running out of time. We were already in over our heads.

Just before the move there were two significant steps that we took. We asked companies for help. We approached Google with an application to grant us free access to their applications and services as a Charitable Non-Profit organization. They approved us. Our problems with data storage, operational email and management tools were solved. We approached GitHub and Bitbucket to grant us free access to their services to manage our code-base for all the systems and software development projects that we had, and quite many we had… Since Bitbucket approved our application first, we decided to go with their service. We are grateful that Google and Bitbucket decided to support us and significantly reduce the workload that we had. Software development with the help of services like GitHub or Bitbucket is significantly easier and faster. We have a very good versioning system now, and collaboration between team members and external helpers is much, much better.

Since various policies at the new institution do not allow us to operate our own list- or email-server within the hosting institution’s intranet, we had to set up the necessary servers outside of the institution through commercial means. We also had to find fast and easy solutions for the LINGUIST List website and various other services to minimize the downtime during the move as much as possible. We have chosen to use Amazon EC2 and A2 Hosting virtual servers for that. These virtual server instances have significant advantages, but they also come with a price-tag. The price for the virtual servers is still lower than investing in new hardware, server hosting at any location, and hardware maintenance and administration costs. We estimate the LINGUIST List saves significantly on operational costs with the new infrastructure. In addition to that, the virtual server infrastructure opens up new flexible solutions. Any server instance can be backed up as an image, that we can download and even run in a virtualization software tool on our desktop machines. The new management tools for tablets for example offer an easy and neat administration interface. It has the touch of Star Trek to open up the tablet and add a new CPU or more memory to the servers, reboot the machine from a mobile phone, and so on.

The LINGUIST List team decided to stick with Linux as the operating system for all servers. We also decided to use only open source and free software for everything from now on. The database was replaced by PostgreSQL. The LISTSERV system was replaced by Mailman. Adobe ColdFusion was replaced with the open source and free Railo system. All operating systems were replaced by free and open Debian-based Linux systems. Even the desktop systems for the editors, developers and managers were replaced by Linux PCs. Our development environment is based on Vim, Eclipse, and other open and free tools. We have to confess, we make use of PyCharm (the free and community, or student and faculty edition, thanks to JetBRAINS for providing those free of charge).

The changes from a commercial database software to an open source one, or the switch from Adobe ColdFusion to Railo, do not just mean no licensing fees and therefore savings. They actually came with an incredible investment upfront. Most of the code, all SQL database commands and code sequences, the ColdFusion code – essentially everything had to be checked and rewritten. This could not be done in a month, two months or half a year. Given the aforementioned problems with hardware, outdated software, and other finance and time problems, this was just a very bad move. We cannot switch at the same time the running systems to free and open ones. Well, we can, and we did. Since we had to invest in updating the systems anyway, we thought that we can also rewrite and change everything and make the move to Open and Free. We have rewritten so much of the old vintage LINGUIST List website, it is an entirely new system in the back-end. We paid for the switch from commercial and expensive software to free and open source systems with our free time. We invested our weekends, nights, and holidays in the port and the relocation. More than once we had reached a point of total frustration, of physical and mental exhaustion, where no more coffee or sugar resources would help. Can you imagine? At the same time, we had to run the operations, continue editing, posting, talk to colleagues who want to make changes of postings, job ads, conference announcements, and also rent trucks for the relocation, commute back and forth for negotiations, checking out new housing and office spaces etc. May to August 2014 were the wildest months of our lives.

Many of you have experienced some glitches and broken or dysfunctional pages. We are sorry for that. Given the short time for relocation and the switch of the paradigms and systems, we were not able to test upfront before bringing up and making it live, but rather had to use user feedback to fix issues as they occurred. We transferred the lists to the new Mailman system. This has caused some of the deactivated accounts to be activated again. Colleagues and subscribers started getting mails and were quite surprised to receive the full LINGUIST list email collection every day; some were even angry with us. We are sorry for causing you this inconvenience, but there was no other way for us to transfer the list server mails, archives and subscriptions to the new system.

The team at LINGUIST List was massively reduced. Only Malgosia, Lwin, and Damir relocated from Michigan to Indiana, together with three GAs, Andrew, Sara, and Anna. The relocation meant not only a relocation of families, children, and households, it also meant the relocation of resources, the acquisition of equipment, the setting up of a new office space for the operation, and also the cleaning up the old one. The team did an incredible job. Within just 6 months all that was accomplished, and the operation of LINGUIST List was interrupted just for some hours and minutes. Many people did not realize that. Many in fact feared that this endeavor will fail, that it was basically impossible to achieve all this in such a short time.

We are lucky that IU provided us with a nice building to restart our operations. We were able to acquire a few PCs to start working again and we got some furniture from surplus to equip a meeting room and basic office space. We have a coffee machine again in the office, and things have calmed down somewhat. We sleep again, and life has some rhythm again. There is still a lot of work, a lot to do, and a lot we need to arrange and organize.

In the meantime we can report that:

  • The LINGUIST List website is up and running, faster and more stable than before, not only the newly written ‘vintage website’ with the new PostgreSQL database and Railo ColdFusion engine, but also the new website, which we could not continue developing since spring 2014 (based on Django and Python) because of the move.
  • EMELD is up and running, with some minor issues to fix from time to time. The code has been transfered from Adobe ColdFusion and Oracle to Railo and PostgreSQL.
  • The list server is back and all the archives and other functionalities are up, hosting not just LINGUIST and LINGLITE, but also many other lists that some of you might be subscribed to. We are now using the GNU open source server Mailman.
  • LEGO is up, with some issues that we still need to fix. This site was written in PHP and specific extensions and libraries. It uses in the backend the Apache Solr indexing engine running on a Tomcat server. This was a lot of work, to reinstall it and set it up. Some minor issues need to be fixed that have to do with the Solr communication in searches.
  • GOLD is up and running. It was also written in PHP using the Zend framework. We had to port old code to new server and software environments.
  • MultiTree is up, both the new and the old site. The old system still needs to be fixed, and the new one that was developed using Django and D3js needs some more development. The old system was written in one of the early Ruby on Rails versions. The port to the more recent Railo versions was quite complex.
  • OLAC is connected again, thanks to the help of many colleagues, e.g. Gary Simons, Steven Bird and others.
  • ODIN is up, and needs some minor corrections.
  • LL-Map is installed and needs to be activated again. Soon we should have the system and the connections up again, and all the polygons and maps available for browsing and search, linked to MultiTree, even LEGO and GOLD etc. There are new ways to contribute own maps and information now.
  • Etc.

There is still a lot to do. Most of the transfer has been accomplished. We did everything we could to preserve the data, port the applications, make the new site and operations more sustainable, cheaper, more open, and robust.

We are all set for a new start. After 25 years of the LINGUIST List, the technology and environment is again up to date, ready for the next 25 years.

Many of you know, the LINGUIST List has a very low operational budget. It did operate at its financial limits since spring 2013, without a fund drive in 2013, and a limited fund drive in 2014. LINGUIST started in the new location without any significant funds, just with the help and support of its hosting institution, the team, and some supporters.

The team and the operation now need your help. We depend on the Fund Drive 2015 to be able to continue with normal operations during the summer 2015, and during the next academic year. Graduate assistantships do not cover the summer. Although IU supports us with two fully covered GAs, and two partially covered ones (in addition to all the other support that we get from IU and the Department of Linguistics), we need to cover the summer months by paying editors. We also need more person-power to cover the next academic year.

Please consider helping LINGUIST List to continue its operations and donate during the 2015 Fund Drive.

The LINGUIST List Team

Featured Linguist: Picus Sizhi Ding

Picus Sizhi Ding


The LINGUIST List Fund Drive 2015Please donate!



我在90年代初踏足语言学领域,自认是与‘语言学家名单’一起成长的语言学者之一。 当我第一次听闻这个组织,它正是以电邮形式运作,那种兴奋的感觉跟我发现语言学是一门学科不遑多让。

出生于仰光的一个福建家庭,我早年的婴孩生活是在一个兼具闽南语和缅甸语的双语环境里度过的。那时候在东南亚的海外华人坚守祖先的语言,把它看作自己身份认同不可或缺的一部分。 后来,我家搬到澳门,伴我成长的语言变成是粤语和闽南语。那个年代英语是澳门大部分学校教的唯一一门外语。大概是升读初一的时候,我开始对国语/普通话产生兴趣,主要是通过听诸如邓丽君的流行歌曲接触到国语发音。在高中的最后一年,澳门电台推出了一个学习初级葡萄牙语的小节目,出于好奇,我学了一点点。 回想起来,原来自己对语言一直有着浓厚的兴趣。 这就是为什么当我看见北美大学长长的本科专业名单上出现‘语言学’这个专业时,我马上决定我要主修语言学。 由于各种的原因,我在美国、加拿大和澳大利亚都留下了留学的足迹,但在我的‘游学’生涯中,我的主修专业始终如一。 就这样,我分别从三个不同的国家取得了本科、硕士和博士学位,全都是语言学。

在南伊利诺伊大学本科毕业那年,我给Usha Lakshmanan教授任教的句法课写了一篇有关普通话的把字句的论文。顺理成章,硕士论文我也继续往这个题目下功夫,但我觉得研究自己熟悉的语言似乎太过容易。我开始有了日后攻读博士要研究、描述少数民族语言的想法;毕竟这是锻炼、造就一个全方位的语言学家的有效方法。我把这个想法告诉了我在西蒙·弗雷泽大学的导师Nancy Hedberg教授,她非常好人,把R. M. W. Dixon教授写的《寻觅原住民语言——田野工作者的回忆录》借了给我。 最终,我在1994年去了澳大利亚国立大学,准备把我的博士研究放在一个不为人熟知的语言上。我知道太平洋地区是澳国大的科研焦点,我对自己要研究的语言保持着开放的态度。 事实证明,校方没有要求我去描写波利尼西亚或澳大利亚的语言; 相反,我要研究的语言完全取决于我。

早在199212月,我从不列颠哥伦比亚大学的亚洲图书馆借了三本中国大陆出版的少数民族语言简志,供我圣诞期间阅读​​。 其中一本就是《普米语简志》,它是三本书中给我留下最深印象的一本。 这是我第一次听闻普米族和普米语。我对普米语的同部位复辅音做了一些分析,所以,这个藏缅语几乎是我首选的研究对象。但最大的问题是我不认识任何普米族,我甚至从未去过云南。我幸运地在澳国大找到了一个昆明人,而他的父亲又是当年云南省民族学院的教授。

我的田野调查中最难忘的经历之一是1995年的元旦除夕。我赶着要从县城返回普米村寨,便冲忙地登上了一辆正要启动的面包车。车子拐了一个弯、继续往跟以前不同的方向驶去 之后,我就觉得有点不对劲,问了身边的乘客我才知道面包车要前往一个我未到过的村庄,但那里有几户普米人家。 有了这个信息,我才稍稍松了一口气,我可以试着找一户普米人家帮忙。就在村子的大街上有一户普米族,我便进去了。用我有限的普米语告诉人家我的普米名字。结果,主人家热情地接待我。 但这跟我的普米语没有关系;恰好他是一个我认识的普米老人的弟弟。 真是太巧了! 另一个冒险的经历发生在2005年三月初。我随着一个家住四川木里、川滇交界地区的普米‘韩规’ 在山区长途跋涉超过12个小时。 当夜幕开始降临的时候,我看见一个大黑影跃过一条小溪。 我以为是豹子,但韩规告诉我那是一头熊,而这一区的熊是素食的,就像熊猫。 之后,他叫我呆在那里,天快要黑了,他先赶回家,然后再让人来接我。 在漆黑中,我看到前方微弱的光点;于是我举步维艰地走向村落,膝盖疼痛,鞋子全湿(高山覆盖着积雪)。 一个小时左右以后,韩规的儿子拉着一匹马把我接走。

我在中国的田野工作充满了挫折、喜悦,还有一点危险和幸运。在我第一次到云南进行研究之前,我有幸遇到了La Trobe大学的David Bradley(大卫·布莱德利)教授,而之后的几个月实地考察期间,我又在昆明遇见了他。 然而,我田野工作所取得的成果全赖于艰苦奋斗。 这些田野工作经历是我人生的缩影。 值得高兴的是,我能够随着自己的兴趣去研究中国这片语言多样性程度极高、但又被严重低估的土地上(这可能是当今语言学家最少研究的地区)的少数民族语言。从描写语言学到语言纪录和保护,中国,尤其是包括台湾地区的南中国,有着许多吸引田野语言学家到来的东西。


Read the English version of the letter.


Fund Drive 2015

Dear Colleagues, Linguist List supporters, linguistics and language lovers,

It is March 6th and high time for snow and winter to disappear. At our headquarters at Indiana University we fervently await the arrival of the new season of the year – the Fund Drive Season. Please come and check our festive Fund Drive web page:


Apart from the opportunity to donate, our Fund Drive site offers all kind of entertainment. As every year, we have for you prizes to win, games to play, stories to read, and songs to listen to– and maybe sing along with. So, visit our site, contribute with linguistic jokes, poems, and other works of art, and generally enjoy the season for supporting LINGUIST List.

Why should you donate? The answer is – because only a part of our operational costs are covered by our host institution. The rest we have to earn through advertising or receive from donations. We try to keep site advertising to a minimum, though, as our administrative costs continue to rise, we have added a few ads to take some of the financial burden off of subscribers.

This year our goal is to collect $79,000.00 for our editors and the programming support. You are not donating for your own interest alone – LINGUIST List is read worldwide, by professionals but also students and language enthusiasts who otherwise would have much more limited access to linguistic contents, especially for financial reasons.

LINGUIST List is and will remain free to the subscribers. Please support us to continue our service.

This year is important for LINGUIST List. It is the first year at the new location, at Indiana University. Apart from the beauty of the campus, we enjoy in Bloomington an exceptionally rich linguistic environment – rich in terms of colleague-linguists, language programs, languages spoken on the campus, and language resources. We envision that this rich linguistic environment will nurture LINGUIST List and our associated projects, and result in improved and enriched service to you. However, the relocation was a complex and logistically challenging endeavor, followed by months of re-launching, re-programming, and re-designing. Last year was draining for the LL financially, and also difficult in terms of work and effort we had to invest into the relocation. If you appreciate what we do please consider supporting us financially this year again – we need it more than ever.

2015 is important for us for yet another reason. In December, LINGUIST List will turn 25, quite an age for a mailing list. While at the University of Western Australia, on Thursday, December 13th, 1990, Anthony Aristar sent a message about the formation of LINGUIST to some colleagues. You can read the
message here:


Helen Aristar-Dry and Anthony Aristar ended their message with this paragraph:

“Let us say in ending that making a list of this kind a success depends crucially on initiating an ongoing dialogue between participants. Once this dialogue has been properly begun, the list acquires a life of its own, and little further effort is required to maintain its existence. To this end, we earnestly ask you all to begin contributing, and aid therefore in the continuance of LINGUIST.”

They were more than right in that the list acquired a life of its own. It was serving the linguistic community for almost 25 years now. Yet they were wrong about the “little further effort” to maintain its existence. They are surely very aware of that now. It requires a lot of effort by the team of student editors and programmers to provide a moderated mailing list with human editing services and post-publishing support for corrections, changes, and updates to posted information. This human touch makes LL unique, efficient, and reliable. It offers an interactive service with a team of dedicated linguistics students, learning about the academic scene and the linguistics profession, learning about running a list and a complex website, about posting on social media platforms, organizing fund drives, and also doing linguistic research. It has been a pleasure to have the LINGUIST List crew around, to be part of their efforts.

We are glad that LINGUIST is reaching silver status now. With technological progress in the last decades, the LINGUIST List has evolved into much more than a mailing list, and it will continue to evolve in order to offer what our supporters need. We hope to lay the groundwork for reaching gold in the next 25 years. The fund drive is necessary to help the LINGUIST List Team to achieve this goal. Please help us with this effort! Please donate!

Malgosia and Damir

LINGUIST List updated the list-server

Dear LINGUIST List subscribers,

LINGUIST List uses as list server software a system called Mailman.  You can read about Mailman on its main homepage.

Having received a number of questions about the list server, we have decided to put this brief overview together.

Our Lists

As you may know, in addition to LINGUIST and LINGLITE, we host and mirror a number of mailing lists.  You can view the list of all lists at the underlying link here.

The two lists that LINGUIST List maintains are:

    • sends out an email every time one of our editors approves a posting that was submitted to LINGUIST List from its users
    • it can be configured for every individual subscriber account to deliver a daily digest with the full email content
    • sends out one daily email with a list of issue titles and links to the full issues on the LINGUIST List website


To subscribe to one of these two lists, click ‘Subscribe‘ at the bottom of the left menu bar on the LINGUIST List homepage.  Select the list that you want to subscribe to on the subscription webpage.  This will take you to the subscription page for the list of either LINGUIST or LINGLITE.  To subscribe, fill out the ‘Subscribing to [list name]’ section.  Note that unlike our former software for mailing lists, Mailman requires subscriptions to have a password associated with them.

Accessing Your Subscription

In Mailman you can access your subscription settings yourself and change various options online.  You are fully in control of your subscriptions.  You can pause them, unsubscribe and alter settings like daily digest or full email delivery mode.  If you open the subscription page (LINGUIST or LINGLITE) you can click on ‘Unsubscribe or edit options‘ at the bottom of the page, which will take you to a new configuration page.

If you know your password for the list server and your particular subscription, put in your email and the password in the interface and click ‘login‘ to get to the account management page.

If you do not know your password, simply enter your email address and click on ‘Remind‘.  If you are subscribed with this email address, you will receive a password in your email inbox immediately.  If you do not receive any feedback from the list server in reasonable time, it might be that you are subscribed with a different email address.  See below in the next section for instructions how to identify the email address with which you subscribed to the list.

The settings for your account for the LINGUIST list offer different options: we are often asked about the Digest Mode and the Topic Filters.  When Digest Mode is set to On, subscribers receive one email a day containing the full text of every email that was sent out over LINGUIST.  When Digest Mode is set to Off, subscribers receive each email separately as they are sent out over LINGUIST.  Every message LINGUIST sends out is tagged by its topic area (jobs, calls for papers, books, etc.).  If you prefer only to receive messages from certain areas, just select those areas under ‘Which topic categories would you like to subscribe to?‘.


To unsubscribe, go to the LINGUIST List subscription page, select the list from which you intend to unsubscribe to get to the list subscription and management page.  At the bottom of the page click on the button ‘Unsubscribe or edit options‘.  In the new form type your email address in the field on top of the form.  You do not need to provide a password.  Simply click on ‘Unsubscribe‘ and check your inbox for a confirmation mail from the list server.  Confirm your subscription by either clicking on the provided confirmation link, or by following the alternative confirmation instructions in the email.

If you do not get a confirmation mail in reasonable time, it might be that

  • the confirmation email ended up in your spam mail folder, or that
  • you provided the wrong email address for unsubscription

This could be either due to a typo, or you might be using an alias of the real email address at the institution that provides you the email service.  It might be the case that you have moved from one institution or domain to another.  You email might be forwarded to the new address that you use now.

If you do not remember the email address with which you subscribed to the list, you should look at the detailed email header of one of the mails that you received from the LINGUIST List server.  Your email software should provide a function to display the detailed header for an email.  Most email software will provide a menu entry in the main menu or in the right-click context menu for this function.  In common email software like Outlook, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird you will find menu entries or options on right-click to display the full email header.  The email header should contain the full list of the path that the email took through the internet, as well as various other fields.  The most important field for your analysis will be the ‘To:‘-field.  This might be another email address that gets forwarded to your current email address, or it could be an alias of the email address that you currently use.

Use this specific email to submit an unsubscribe request in the above described way.

As long as you are receiving emails from the list server, you should be able to identify the email address from the header.  If you cannot identify the initial recipient address, consider consulting your local IT-personnel or a colleague or friend.  You might even have an option to save an email as a text file on your computer and open it up in a text editor to see the detailed email header.

There are various online instructions for different email client software to display full email headers:

You will find many more information sources by searching online.

Frequently Asked Questions

‘I can’t find my subscription.’ / ‘I unsubscribed and I am still receiving emails.’

More often than not, the email one thinks is subscribed to a mailing list isn’t.  If your subscription has been active a long time, it’s possible that your subscription is actually under a different email address that forwards to your current address.  This is especially problematic for academic email addresses where the domain is likely to change over the years (e.g. @linguistics.school.edu becoming @school.ling.edu).

In order to identify the email address with which you are subscribed, you need to display the full email header of an email that you received from the mailing list.

See the section Unsubscribing above for more details and solutions related to problems with the unsubscribe process.

‘I’m not receiving any emails.’

First things first, make sure your emails are going to your spam folder (especially if you use Yahoo!).  If LINGUIST emails are being tagged as spam, be sure to remove them from from your spam folder so your email client learns that they are not spam.  If this doesn’t solve the problem, try adding us to your contacts.

‘I have been unsubscribed due to excessive bounces.’

This seems to be an issue with some Yahoo domains, but in particular with services that make use of the Trend Micro spam filter on their mail servers.  The list server is configured to automatically unsubscribe or stop mailing to accounts that bounce too many times the LINGUIST List emails (LINGUIST and LINGLITE, but also other lists that we host).  This is crucial to avoid unnecessary internet data traffic and also unnecessary data transmission costs to closed accounts or non-responsive servers.  New configurations of some Yahoo email servers seem to cause problems to many mailing lists, even ours.  Our list server has been configured to fully comply with the Yahoo requirements and specifications.  If you are unsubscribed automatically, you will receive an email about that.  Either follow the instructions to subscribe again, or consider changing the email service provider to avoid future automatic unsubscriptions.

If your IT-service (some Universities are affected) is a customer of Trend Micro (your IT-team will know), they should urge them to remove the LINGUIST List listserv from their “Bad” list.  Their filters list our list server as “Bad” (status Jan. and Feb. 2015), as you can see here.  We tried many times to communicate with them to remove our server from this list, unfortunately without success, not even with a single response to our request.  They are the only service that lists our server as spam or bad.  IT-services that make use of their technology will bounce emails from LINGUIST or LINGLITE and the subscribers will be automatically removed from the subscription list after a certain number of bounces.  If this happens to you, contact your IT-team at your institution and inform them about the situation.  Activate your account again with the list (by following the instructions in the unsubscribe email notification, or by simply resubscribing again) and consider changing the email service provider, if you get unsubscribed again.  We do not seem to have issues with any of the free or commercial providers in general (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo at yahoo.com, hotmail.com etc.).

If you have problems with the described processes or any additional question or issue, feel free to contact us.

Your LINGUIST List Team

Updates and new site

Dear LINGUIST readers,

the Linguist List site has been transferred to a new server and background technology. The entire software base of the site has changed, from the server operating system, the web server itself, and background data storage, all is wrapped and dressed now in new bits and bytes, running on up-to-date hardware, connected with high bandwidth.

The main goal for us – justifying the investment in such a challenging migration – was to improve the user experience, the stability and robustness of the service, and the future maintenance processes. The current state brings immediate advantages to you and the entire development, management, and editing team at LINGUIST.

As you can imagine, the site had to be rewritten, reconfigured, and to a great extend reprogrammed from scratch. This is always a source of errors and bugs, even though we perform a deep quality control processes constantly. We may, and surely do miss serious flaws and issues with browsers and systems that we did not recognize earlier. Thus, if you encounter issues with the site, please do let us know about those. We are working intensively to remove and minimize the number of bugs and improve the user experience. After the complete migration to the new server, we are now facing many small problems and issues with the site and code. Some of our readers already pointed out problems. Thank you all for that! We really appreciate your help and all hints about pages or tools that are not working correctly. Thank you all for your time and effort to help the entire linguistic community and us to improve the website and mailing services of LINGUIST.

You can mail us your comments, suggestions, questions, requests, and error reports to linguist, errors, damir, malgosia, lwin or the other editors at linguistlist.org.

Thank you for your support!

Malgosia and Damir

Server maintenance and system downtime August 2014

Dear friends, colleagues, and LINGUIST List subscribers,

the LINGUIST List website will be switched off for an hour to two at least once, maybe even twice, between the 5th and 7th of August 2014. The mailing list will not be affected by this, neither will the various blog sites and other information services (e.g. our social media pages or the RSS feed).

During the down-time we will migrate most of the pages to a new service. We would appreciate, if you let us know of any problems with the website after the 7th of August 2014. The site has been migrated to a new server platform, new operating systems, and a completely new software environment. The services of The LINGUIST List will not only be much more reliable and responsive after the switch, they will also be extended with new features during the next weeks. We hope that the new technological environment will significantly improve the user experience with the LINGUIST List pages and services.

There might be issues with existing applications and function that we missed during our quality control procedures. We might oversee some bugs and problems with new functions in the next weeks. Please help us correcting any issues or problems. Let us know of any errors by mailing to linguist or error, or the moderators directly at linguistlist.org. Your help, suggestions, ideas, and comments are always welcome!

Thanks for your understanding and support!

Malgosia and Damir


Fund Drive 2014- The Results Are In!


Fund Drive 2014 Results

Hi Everyone!

The Fund Drive 2014 is OVER! Thank you so much to everyone for another successful year! We stopped this year before reaching our goal because the end of the Fund Drive coincided with the beginnings of the move of LINGUIST List from EMU to Indiana University. Though the Fund Drive is over donations are welcome at any time and can be contributed here.

This year we received AMAZING support from linguistic communities all over the world. Notable among these were Russia making the Top 5 in the Countries Challenge and University of Washington, who unseated the long-reigning champion in the University Challenge, Stanford University! Want to be the winner in your Challenge category? Look for the Fund Drive 2015 notifications!

Here are the results from all of Fund Drive 2014 Challenges:

University Challenge: University of Washington; winner of Fund-Drive 2014 University Challenge
Runner Ups: 2nd place Stanford University; 3rd place University of California, Santa Barbara

Subfield Challenge: Syntax
Runner Ups: 2nd place Computational Linguistics; 3rd place Sociolinguistics

Company Challenge: Google
Runner Ups: 2nd place ABBYY; 3rd place Center for Text Technology (CTexT)

Country Challenge Top 10:

  1. USA
  2. Germany
  3. Canada
  4. Russia
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Switzerland
  7. Spain
  8. Netherlands
  9. Belgium
  10. South Africa

Again, thank you so much for your contributions and support!

OT  Faithfully Yours,

          The LINGUIST List

Changes at LINGUIST List

Dear linguists,

We have some news to announce.

The LINGUIST List is moving.

This will not affect the website or mailing lists. The postal address is changing, as well as our phone and fax numbers.

The new fax and phone numbers are active:

phone: +1 812 391-3602
fax: +1 888 908-2629

The phone-line now provides a voice mailbox. You can leave us a message outside of common office hours (8 AM to 6 PM, Eastern Time). You can also text us to this number.

The new mailing address is from end of June 2014 only:

Department of Linguistics
Indiana University
Memorial Hall 322
1021 E. 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7005
United States

You can send all LINGUIST List related mail to this new address already now. From June on you should only use this new address.

Please update your address books.

The LINGUIST List has also a second moderator. Malgorzata E. Cavar is serving LINGUIST for a while now and has been nominated as a new co-moderator by the board of the eLinguistics Foundation end of May 2014.



The LINGUIST List Team!

Step right up and donate for your chance to win from Wiley Publishing!

Hello Readers!

Thanks to the recent donation from Wiley Publishing, we are able to give away not one, not two, but THREE books!

  1. Bhatia and Ritchie / The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, hardback, published Dec 2012 (was just honored as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title!) 
  2. Sidnell / The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, pub Nov 2012 (bestselling reference work)
  3. The Handbook of Chinese Linguistics, JUST PUBLISHED, April 2014 

We will randomly choose a name from donations that we receive from today through 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday (April 30, 2014). Make sure to DONATE TODAY and show your support for both your university and your favorite linguistic field by associating your donations!