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Fun Fact: Query Edition – or how you can use the LINGUIST List for your own research

Hey everyone,

The Query submission area, while lower in submissions than Jobs, Conferences and Books, is another valuable area of the LINGUIST List. The Query section allows linguists like you to ask research questions and seek participation in studies. This region of the LINGUIST List directly impacts the research that you do.

We asked our Query submitters about the relevancy of the responses they received to their research. We had 29 responses. 86% said that the responses they received were directly relevant to their research.

You can help us keep this service going by supporting us at funddrive.linguistlist.org

Featured Linguist: Gillian Ramchand

Featured Linguist: Gillian Ramchand

My mother is from Scotland and my father is from Trinidad. When those two met in Edinburgh and had kids, they eventually ended up living in the Caribbean, first Jamaica and then Trinidad. The world was less connected then. I grew up in a tropical paradise, which I despised for its smallness and lack of connection to the world. I could not wait to get out. (Now I am much more appreciative). When I was 14 I wanted to be an Astrophysicist. My favourite book was a book on physics and philosophy and I spent many fruitless hours trying to get my head around quantum mechanics. I’m sure I must have been unbearable. I applied to universities in the Big World outside and got funding to go to MIT for my undergraduate education where I double majored in Math and Philosophy. The MIT decision was a turning point— it could have been very easily another university and another path. I remember filling out the forms to accept Princeton, and waking up at six am to retrieve the envelope so that my mother wouldn’t mail it, and replacing it with the envelope accepting MIT instead. If I hadn’t gone to MIT, I would not have taken my first linguistics class as an undergrad in the philosophy programme. It was with Sylain Bromberger, and I remember my epiphany moment. He put the following sentence up on the board `The girl saw the boy with the telescope’, and drew two different structures corresponding to the two different meanings. That just exploded in my head. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with the syntax-semantics interface and particularly structural meaning.

While I was an MIT undergraduate, I joined the incoming graduate class and took classes with Ken Hale, Richard Larson and Jim Higginbotham who were my first teachers and inspiration. I am also embarrassed, but grateful to Noam Chomsky for agreeing to do an independent study with a cocky undergraduate on Burzio’s generalization, when I was so green and naïve it hurts to remember it.

I went to Stanford to do my PhD. I turned down MIT for grad school because my boyfriend at the time had been admitted to Berkeley for a PhD in English Literature, and then eventually also Stanford. It turned out to be a good choice since I got a wider exposure to different theories of grammar than I would have got otherwise and I was constantly on the back foot to justify my own approach to things, as opposed to being part of a dominant paradigm. I think it taught me to think more openly and critically, and reinforced my dislike of being a member of a club, any club. I also met my great linguistic friend, colleague and collaborator Miriam Butt who even now keeps me up to speed with the latest doings in LFG and computational things. Stanford is also the place where I met K.P. Mohanan and started my lifelong work and interest in South Asian languages, particularly Bengali. Mo never let you relax. He pushed you to always question, and think things through from first principles, and never to accept dogma or sloppy thinking.

Another pivotal moment during grad school was going to Edinburgh one summer to learn Scottish Gaelic just because. What a great language! It inspired me with great challenges for problem solving when I was getting bogged down with theory internal concerns. Scottish Gaelic is still one of my very favourite languages.

My first job after my dissertation was at Oxford University, where I was hired by Jim Higginbotham as University lecturer in General Linguistics. I stayed there 10 years. Those were good years, and I learned a lot about teaching by teaching extremely smart people. I taught standard GB theory and began to feel very dissatisfied with it, and dissatisfied with the lack of progress being made on interface issues. After a bit of a lull in motivation, where I did a lot of Scottish Gaelic singing, I started to get interested in linguistic theory again thanks to newly found colleagues and linguistic buddies David Adger and Peter Svenonius whose enthusiasm for syntax made me realise that there was exciting and brilliant new work out there and that I wanted to be part of that conversation.

For me, the great thing about linguistic research is the constant dialectic between the empirical and the theoretical. Maybe that is the same in any science, but in linguistic theory it feels as though those interrelations and feedback loops are at a degree of granularity to be perceived and appreciated on the practical day to day level rather than at an institutional or historical scales. Linguistics is unique for the richness and continuous stimulation of its data, dripping from almost any language you bother to look at carefully for more than two seconds, and which is accessible to anyone without fancy equipment or big counting devices. On the theory side, I like symbolic elegance and simplicity and I like the fact that we are in a field where most things have not been figured out yet. I also like the fact that language is so deeply connected to human minds and how we think as a species. The human brain is the final frontier for science, and linguistic theory is going to have big part to play in helping to figure that stuff out.

I joined the Linguistics department at the University of Tromsø in 2004 when they became a national centre of excellence, CASTL. This was another pivotal moment. I am extremely happy that I ended up in Norway, a country that I knew nothing about and would never have thought of emigrating to, but which now has become my home: beautiful landscape, a mature and humane democracy, with equal measures of equality and freedom. And the linguistics is not so bad either. I have the freedom to do my research, and pursue my own ideas about things. I still work at the syntax-semantics interface, and I still don’t belong to any club.

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Please support the LINGUIST List student editors and operations with a donation during the 2017 Fund Drive! The LINGUIST List needs your support!

 

Meet Jacob Heredos, Featured Staff of the week!

Jacob started at the LINGUIST List as an intern last summer, and once the summer ended, decided to stay on as an atypical staff member! He’s also the Master Mind behind the Geoling Treasure hunts you’ve been trying to solve (by the way, if you haven’t tried this week’s yet, you should really read this post: http://blog.linguistlist.org/uncategorized/enjoy-a-weekend-getaway-all-from-behind-your-keyboard/, there are prizes to win!)

You can find out about where Jacob comes from here: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/pages/JacobHeredos/ and read more about what he has to say to you below:

Dear Users of the LINGUIST List,

My name is Jacob. I started working with the LINGUIST List as an intern last summer, less than a week after finishing my BA in Anthropology, International Studies, and Spanish here at Indiana University.

I suppose my place in the LINGUIST List is a bit unorthodox in a few ways. First, you may have noticed that my background is not exactly in Linguistics (though I did minor in it). Second, I have no ties to the posting and editing that make up the core of the List, instead working on a number of our other projects and lending a hand wherever help is needed. Third, while our staff is mostly made up of MA and PhD students, I am no student at all, working only at the LINGUIST List and as a research assistant.

It has been a privilege to work at the LINGUIST List, and I think that my unusual position here has given me a unique perspective on the work that we do. As I moved more and more toward linguistics later in my studies, the LINGUIST List impressed me with its scope and utility. In every other discipline that I have involved myself in, none has anything even close to the central hub that the worldwide linguistics community has in the LINGUIST List. The List makes the world of linguistics, whether in industry or academia, infinitely more accessible to students and young professionals, and its value cannot be overstated.

The LINGUIST List has served the global linguistics community for nearly three decades, and I hope that it can continue to do so for decades to come. In my short time here, I have seen the monumental time and resources necessary to run the List, and the hard work of linguistics students and faculty who balance their own studies, teaching, and research alongside it.

Your generosity is what keeps us serving the community. Thank you for your support, and please donate to allow us to continue to serve you.

http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

Sincerely,

Jacob

Announcing: 5 Dollar donation day, and a special Lottery on Wednesday!

Hi everyone,

We are aware that donating to the LINGUIST List can be taxing to some of the smaller-sized wallets out there. We love to support every Linguist at any stage of their career, and that includes a lot of students! That’s why we’ve decided to put this part of our readership in the spotlight for the culminatory day of our Fund Drive, Wednesday 15 March, two days from today! That day, we are organizing a one day special FIVE DOLLAR DAY Lottery game! Here is how it works:

– It’s Wednesday March 15, you walk by your usual coffee shop. You are about to order your daily dose of caffeine in the shape of a large caramel latte. You stop and think: that day, you will only buy a small regular coffee, for a change.
– Instead, you invest the sum of the fancy latte into the LINGUIST List Fund Drive 5 DOLLAR DAY lottery! Here is the link to donate: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/
– Your name is entered into our Special Lottery and you get a chance to win: Phonetic Transcription in Theory and Practice, by Berry Heselwood (2013), published by Edinburgh University Press!

For those of you out there who donate 10 dollars or more, your name will not only be entered into this lottery, but also in our week-long 2nd Lottery of the LINGUIST List Fund Drive, for which this will be the last day to enter! (more details about this lottery here: http://blog.linguistlist.org/uncategorized/the-second-lottery-is-now-open/)

We look forward to honoring our student readership in our 5 DOLLAR DONATION DAY on Wednesday! 🙂

– the LINGUIST List Student Editors

Featuring Jobs and Journals Editor: Amanda Foster!

Did you know that the LINGUIST List Jobs editor is French? Meet Amanda Foster, featured staff member of the week! Amanda edits Jobs and Student Support announcements (http://linguistlist.org/jobs/), as well as Table of Contents and Journal Calls for Papers from our Linguistic journals database, and she helps maintain the Publishers and Journals database (http://linguistlist.org/pubs/). She also edits any French submission that come our way 🙂 You can read where Amanda is from here: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/pages/AmandaFoster/

And read a message from her right here – an insight into what it’s like working at the LINGUIST List! Consider supporting this Graduate Assistant by donating to the LINGUIST List: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

 

Dear Subscribers and Followers,

Bonjour! My name is Amanda, I’m in the 2nd year (in the final stretch!) of my MA in Linguistics at Indiana University. I started at the LINGUIST List in Fall 2015, at that time I was paid hourly, but thanks to your donations last year, LINGUIST List was able to hire me as a Graduate Assistant here in Fall 2016! I am writing to you to show you how much impact LINGUIST List has already had on my own life, so that you may see how far even the small donations you make can go.

First of all, I would like to express my deep gratitude to those of you who donated last year. When I started the program in Fall 2015, I was not financially sure that I would be able to continue past my first year into the program, in order to graduate. The fact that LINGUIST List was able to hire four GAs instead of 2 is a direct consequence of your donations.

Let me tell you how I got acquainted with LINGUIST List for the very first time, as an Undergraduate student back home. I am originally from France (right here: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/pages/AmandaFoster/), and at the time I was looking for a university program that could match my interest. That’s how I found Indiana University, from the student portal: http://linguistlist.org/studentportal/. LINGUIST List also helped me find my
very first Internship  through the Student portal, and today as I prepare to begin my professional career, I am so thankful for the Jobs and Student Support pages of the website! (http://linguistlist.org/jobs/)

Being an editor at LINGUIST List benefits me more than financially. Every day, as I edit your submissions, I am able to gain a closer understanding of the field of Linguistics.

But my favorite part about working at the LINGUIST List is that it provides a connection between linguists from around the globe, and working here enables me to be part of this community. This is such an incredible opportunity: as we all strive towards the common goal of reaching a better understanding of our world and the people who inhabit it, we are actually able to connect with each other at more than a theorical level. By donating, you enable us to provide the means to support this worldwide community.

Your donation, however small or large, has the potential to affect so many lives: those of researchers around the world who use LINGUIST List, perhaps your own research, and certainly my own life.

So, thank you for your ongoing, vital support. Please consider donating today: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

Sincerely,
Amanda

Fun Fact: Jobs Edition

Hey everyone!

I’m sure you’re aware about our job postings section. It’s one of our most popular areas of the listserv. The LINGUIST List has a large number of job postings relevant to our field. In 2016, there were approximately 700 job issues alone. Amanda and Clare work hard to make sure that jobs are posted promptly.

Jobs are one source of income for the LINGUIST List. However, the money we make from jobs is not sufficient to pay for the other services we offer. You can help us out by making a donation at funddrive.linguistlist.org.

Here is a chloropleth map I made in R that shows the percentage of LINGUIST List job posts by country scaled by population. If you click on a country, you should get some information about how many jobs we have received from that country.

Full Map

This data only contains job submissions before January 2016. We’ve only continued to grow since then!

Featured Linguist: Fabiola Henri

Featured Linguist: Fabiola Henri

Featured Linguist: Fabiola Henri

My identity as a formal creolist has been shaped by interplay between my country of origin and my formative educational background. I am a native speaker of Mauritian, a French-based creole spoken in Mauritius off the coast of Madagascar.

At a young age, I became painfully aware of how prejudices plague Mauritian creole-speakers and, in my particular case, the Creole community. I learned on the playground that speaking patois marks one as uneducated. My formal education was conducted in a colonial language but my family spoke creole at home. Mauritian education is built on the British colonial system but strives to accommodate the linguistic heritage of Mauritians—other than those of African descent. Mauritian creole—natively spoken by more than 95% of the population—only gained ancestral language status in 2011. Before that date, Mauritian pupils of African ancestry before took Chapel and etiquette classes instead of the rigorous courses offered to students from other ethnic backgrounds. And if at higher levels Creole students were authorized to register for Hinduism, they were not allowed into the classroom.

Private tutoring likewise has been institutionalized to the benefit Mauritius’ most privileged citizens. Acquiring a Mauritian education is thus a considerable struggle for Creoles—especially those raised in a single-parent household with only a modest income.  Despite facing some deplorable prejudices regarding Creoles’ intellect, I was fortunate enough along the way to come across many people who believed in my abilities. For instance, my high school French teacher, Mrs. Desha, provided my private tutoring for free.

I was determined to navigate my way successfully through these ingrained prejudices in the Mauritian educational system. I graduated high school with arts and languages A-levels—a momentous achievement considering I was the first member from my family to graduate high school. My mother then urged me into full-time work, but I was resolved to attend university. I had accumulated savings doing factory work in the summer since I was 13, and my mother helped as much as she could. I gratefully registered for a French BA at the University of Mauritius in 1997.

Ongoing debate on the status of Mauritian creole and language policy fascinated me. Yet I wanted to contribute in a new way. People routinely insinuated that creoles were broken languages devoid of grammar or complexity. If I emphasized how creoles actually possessed complex systems of grammar, these languages could come to be regarded differently. But the training that I sought was not available in Mauritius.

The University of Paris 3–La Sorbonne Nouvelle accepted me in 1999 to begin an undergraduate degree in Linguistics. Paris proved challenging. I juggled multiple jobs alongside school. By the end of my Maîtrise, I was ready to return home when I was awarded a scholarship from the French Government. This began another exciting chapter of my academic journey. I had time to attend seminars and even attended classes at other Parisian universities. My Master’s research focused on the Mauritian Noun Phrase with a formal and computationally efficient description in HPSG.

After graduating in 2004, I went back home to teach in an underprivileged Mauritian high school. Creole-speakers were continually penalized in an education system still so foreign to them. One pupil complained to me about conducting lessons in English, “If you had been on TV, I would have switched channels.” Already struggling students gained little knowledge from being instructed in a foreign language and subsequently found classes boring. Alongside local creolists, I participated in rallies asserting the sophistication of Mauritian creole grammar, urging for its formal introduction into the education system.

The French government again granted me funding for pursuing a PhD in Linguistics. I registered at the University of Paris 7 to work with an outstanding syntactician, Anne Abeillé. Graduate work allowed me to present my research internationally and network with renowned linguists in both creolistics and theoretical linguistics. One of my academic life’s most memorable and inspiring moments happened at the HPSG 2008 Conference in Kyoto. Ivan Sag talked with me over coffee about my work and the possibility of my moving to Stanford University. This was the first of many wonderful opportunities.

I completed my PhD in 2010 with a dissertation on verb form alternation in Mauritian. My research adopts a generalist perspective on creolization, according to which creoles emerge from a combination of factors including natural language change, language contact, input from the lexifier (e.g. forms, frequency, collocations), substratic influence, cognitive processes (e.g. untutored SLA, regularization, grammaticalization), among other factors. This work provides a unique view of creole morphology, one which challenged the simplificational model of creolization. Building on my Mauritian findings, I extended my research to include other French-based creoles as well as Portuguese-based creoles.

After postdoc and adjunct positions at Paris 7, Paris 3 and Lille 3, I accepted another postdoc at the University of Kentucky to work with Gregory Stump, an eminent morphologist, before being promoted to Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department. My associations with international scholars have led to formal collaborations in international research groups like the SEEPiCLa (Structure and Emergence of Pidgins and Creole Languages). I also collaborate with scholars in Mauritius to prepare creole pedagogical materials for Mauritian primary schools.

My academic career devoted to exploring the formal complexity of creoles has taken me across the globe and has established me as a major figure in contemporary creole studies—quite the far cry from that little Mauritian girl dreaming of improving life through education.

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Please support the LINGUIST List student editors and operations with a donation during the 2017 Fund Drive! The LINGUIST List needs your support!

Featuring a LINGUIST List staff member: Kenneth Steimel!

All these emails about Conference that you receive everyday in your email box…Do you ever wonder who is the link behind the scenes, between the organisers and the potential participants? Meet our Calls and Confs Editor, Kenneth Steimel! Find out about his hometown over here:

http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/pages/KennethSteimel/

and find out a little bit about himself right here – an insight into a LINGUIST List editor’s life!

Dear LINGUIST List subscribers,

My name is Kenneth Steimel and I am one of the 5 student editors here at the LINGUIST List. I am a PhD student at Indiana University as well. I edit Calls for Papers, Conferences, Media, Software and Ask-a-linguist. Working for the LINGUIST List has allowed me to pursue my graduate studies. I would not be able to afford my degree without the support of this organization. Since subscribers like you support the LINGUIST List, I am very thankful to all of you. 

As we move further into 2017, we need your support again. Without your donations, it becomes hard for us to sustain the services we provide. If you think we provide a meaningful service, please show your appreciation with a contribution. I know everyone here greatly appreciates your donations. Without the support you provide, we would not be able to support graduate assistants like myself who read and edit each post to keep the quality of content high. Truly, thank you. 

Your Call & Conference Editor

LINGUIST List Internships 2017

The LINGUIST List invites undergraduate and graduate students as well as particularly motivated senior high school students to the 2017 summer internship program.

Interns at LINGUIST List have the opportunity to participate in the daily operations of the LINGUIST List, including editing submissions to the LINGUIST List and correspondence with linguists.

Apart from that interns will have the opportunity to work under the supervision of local or visiting faculty at The LINGUIST List on concrete research projects related to language and STEM sub-disciplines, language documentation, as well as engineering of software solutions and algorithms, mathematical concepts and methods, and technologies related to speech and language data.

Depending on individual interests or skills interns can get involved in the following LINGUIST List related projects for a certain proportion of their work time:

  • GeoLing: A web-application that maps LINGUIST List events, institutions, resources on a GIS system for mobile devices and access
  • Voice interface: Development of dialogs and speech interfaces for use with Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Home, Cortana, etc. to provide LINGUIST List information over these voice systems/interfaces, develop new linguistic “skills” and extend existing ones
  • Improvement of the new LINGUIST List website and content, applications like Ask-a-Ling, and new services and applications

 

Interns will get an opportunity to also work with:

For more information on the specific projects read about them on the specific pages and visit our “Get Involved” site.

 

Thierry Declerck visiting the LINGUIST List

Thierry Declerck

Thierry Declerck

We were happy to have Thierry Declerck from the DFKI here in Bloomington over the last weeks. He writes:

“I have been visiting the Indiana University on the occasion of a workshop on Corpora in the Digital Humanities that I co-organised with Sandra Kübler.  At the same time I was very happy to follow an invitation by Damir Cavar to visit the office of the LINGUIST List and to discuss issues related to the topics of the workshop, especially in the field of low-resourced languages, and how to make resources for such languages available and more visible. Damir made an impressive presentation of the use and adaptation of recent speech technology products (e.g. Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Home) for accessing information available at the LINGUIST List (including information about conferences, workshops, jobs, or notes on language resources and technologies).

Thanks for hosting me and for the discussions we also had in the days following the workshop and my first visit at the LINGUIST List offices and hoping to continue the exchanges.”

Thierry Declerck