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To thank you for your support: spread the word and win a prize!

Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,

Yesterday, we did not send out any emails but one: a call for support. As usual, our readers were prompt to rise up to the occasion: in one day, we raised $1419.5 from 33 different donors! We knew we could count on you!

We are now only steps away from reaching our advisor’s challenge: if we receive $1453.97 more, our advisors will collectively donate $4,575! We believe that together, we can reach that goal by the end of this week! Also, until we reach our advisor’s challenge, we are keeping the University/Subfield/Countries/Region Challenges running! So when you donate to meet our advisor’s challenge, you can also support your team! The current leaders are: University of Washington/Syntax/USA/North America – but will they be the winners in the end?

Since we realize you’ve already been very supportive, we’d like to thank you and encourage you to spread the word around you, with a special reward. In fact, we’d like to give away this book, generously donated by our supporting publisher John Benjamins: The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology, by Stefan Dollinger! https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/impact.40/main

If you would like to win this book, all you have to do is write on Twitter or Facebook: “#whyIlovetheLINGUISTlist” followed by a message of support: what is it about the LINGUIST List that you like? How have we helped you in your career? or: Why did you choose to donate? One of you will be drawn to win this special prize!

Thank you for your support,

http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate

— the LINGUIST List

Fun Fact: Donors so Far

Hey everyone!

Thank you for the support you’ve shown for us! Here is a graph showing the number of donors versus the number of job posts on the listserv.

Full Map

The colors come from the ratio of number of donors and the number of jobs in a given country. We’ve still got some ground to cover before we reach our goal. If you’d like to show your support please donate at funddrive.linguistlist.org.

#whyIlovethelinguistlist – Spread the Word!

 

Dear LINGUIST Listers,

Thank you to all those who have donated so far during our Fund Drive! We are happy to say we are almost to $30 000… a dollar for every one of our users!

However, donating isn’t the only way to support us! You can also help us by spreading the word on social media! Use the hashtag #whyIlovetheLINGUISTList to share with us and with your friends! We want to know about the time you found your first job through our Jobs board, the time you organized your conference with EasyAbs, the time you got feedback for your research through a Query post… whatever your success story, we would love to hear about it! We will share these stories on our pages on Facebook (linguistlist), Twitter (@linguistlist) and Google+ (+LINGUISTList)!

Post #whyIlovetheLINGUISTList today and help us get the word out about our Fund Drive! And if you haven’t yet, visit our Fund Drive homepage (http://funddrive.linguistlist.org) to read more about what we do and to donate today!

Gratefully yours,
The LINGUIST crew

Top 10 Non-USA Universities in Donations to the LINGUIST List

Dear Linguists of the world,

In our recent Challenge updates, we’ve focused on the top Universities to have collectively donated to the LINGUIST List. Most of these are in the USA. But in so doing we feel that we have left out a very important part of our donors, who deserve a special thanks. Today, we are publicly announcing our gratitude to the people who have collectively donated from their non-USA Universities to the LINGUIST List! Here is the current top 10.

A special acknowledgement goes out from us to our most generous University, North-West University, South Africa, who is the only represented Campus from Africa on our donation page as well as being the one with the highest donation outside of the USA (and in front of many USA universities, Number 6 overall)!

1) North-West University, Potchefstroom and Vaal Triangle campuses, South Africa
2) University of Toronto, Canada
3) Simon Fraser University, Canada
4) Carleton University, Canada
5) Universität Konstanz, Germany
6) Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
7) University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
8) University of Potsdam, Germany
9) University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain
10) Universität Innsbruck, Austria

Don’t forget that you can still add to these numbers, and to the other Universities, by donating on this page: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

Thank you to our very international donors! We are excited to see that our small office in Indiana reaches out the entire world. If you haven’t already, please consider joining this global project!

https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

— the LINGUIST List team

Try your wits with some SpecGram puzzles!

Have you tried your wits yet in our Puzzle of the week?

There’s still time to win some Speculative Grammarian gear! On GeoLing (http://geoling.linguistlist.org/), visit the scenic island location mentioned in a Linguimerick in the March 2017 issue of Speculative Grammarian for the first clue!

If you missed our first game announcement, with more details, you can find it here: http://blog.linguistlist.org/uncategorized/travel-the-globe-with-us-once-again/

And for some additional fun that is not related to the game, here is a Linguimerick specially provided to us by SpecGram:

There once was a List named LINGUÍST
That featured a cool little twist:
’Twas made for those nerds
who’re in love with words.
Now give ’em cash—hand over fist!
—α-Betty Abū Gida

PS: If you felt moved by the above poem, now longing to contribute to our cause, you can visit this link: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

Fun Fact: Funding Sources

Hey everyone! Thank you once again for your overwhelming support yesterday! You may be curious what the LINGUIST List needs your donations for. Currently, we have four main sources of funding:

Our supporting publishers
Job posters (we charge for each job post)

Financial contributions by Indiana University in the form of two stipends for our editors and the LINGUIST List house.

Lastly, contributions from supporters like you! Your donations account for approximately 1/3 of our entire budget. The money you donate pays for the other three Graduate Assistants. As one of those assistants, I am immensely thankful to all of you!

If you like the work that I and other editors put in, making sure the LINGUIST List contains Linguistically relevant content and that this content is consistent and correct, consider donating at funddrive.linguistlist.org

Thank you!

Fun Fact: Easy Abs Edition

Fun Fact: Easy Abs Edition

Hey everyone!

This is Kenneth again. I’m here to let you know about Easy Abs. This area of the LINGUIST List ties in with my last Fun Fact on Conferences and Calls for papers.

Easy Abs is a FREE and user friendly service for conference organizers to set up the abstract submission process. You can create a new conference in Easy Abs or view a list of current conferences in Easy Abs by visiting http://linguistlist.org/confservices/EasyAbs/index.cfm.

Lwin Moe, our programmer and systems expert, works to make sure that the experience is smooth and conference organizers have what they need. He also works to fix any problems should they arise.

We are only able to offer this as a free service due to contributions from people like you. Feel free to show your appreciation at https://funddrive.linguistlist.org.

Thank you!

Incredible Parrot Speech Decoded As 300 Years Old English Dialect -April fool’s :)

We’re sure you’ve caught our April Fool’s day spoof 🙂 If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to take the time for this entertaining read! (and don’t forget that our Fund Drive is still running for two more weeks: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/)

 

Puerto Lempira, Honduras —- Shrouded in mystery and dense rain forest, the region known as La Mosquitia In south-eastern Honduras is one of the largest and least explored wilderness areas in Central America. It adjoins the Caribbean Sea to the east; its Caribbean shore constitutes part of the Mosquito Coast, which was something of a pirate haven during the Golden Age of Caribbean Piracy in the 17th and early 18th centuries.

Recently, aerial surveys have revealed for the first time untouched ruins left by a mysterious and yet unnamed civilization. The latest archeological team to venture into La Mosquitia is a joint Honduran-American expedition led by Dr. Rebecca Webb of Penrose University. Dr. Webb’s team is now excavating a site that appears to have been a significant pre-Columbian urban center.

La Mosquitia provides an ideal habitat for many species, including an astonishing number of bird species and subsubspecies. One of these is the Yellow-Naped Amazon parrot, which is renowned for its ability to mimic human speech.

During the excavation’s third week, Dr. Webb noticed an intricately carved chunk of stone protruding from the rain-forest floor. She thought it might be a were-jaguar head and crouched down for a closer look it. Just then, completely out of the blue, she heard a parrot’s squawky voice say, “Thee bist a zon of a biscuit eater.” Or at least that’s how she transcribed it.
“The voice certainly gave me a start,” she said. “I looked up and saw a beautiful Yellow-Naped parrot perched on a branch not more than five meters away. I immediately scratched down a quasi-phonetic transcription of the vocalization, but I confess I didn’t understand what it meant. It did strike as sounding like human speech, however, and I was pretty confident that it ended with the words “of a biscuit eater”.

Soon other members of Dr. Webb’s team reported encounters with parrots whose vocalizations sounded incredibly like human speech. Some sounded almost like a strange form of English, but others were largely unintelligible, such as the following, as transcribed by members of the team: “Avast ye zee dogs” and “Veed the vizhez”.

Jessica Pollard, a student of Dr. Webb’s, had studied German and thus was able to recognize the word “bist” in Webb’s initial transcription as the 2nd-person singular form of the German verb “sein” (“to be”). It then occurred to her that the preceding word “thee” might be the archaic English 2nd-person pronoun, mostly because it would agree the verb in the grammatical category “person” if in little else.

Mystified, Dr. Webb decided to contact her friend Dr. Montague Hyde, a dialectologist at Kingsbridge College in the UK. When Webb told him about the parrots, Hyde was astounded and more than a little skeptical, but he nevertheless agreed to board a flight for Honduras the following day. Even as he took his seat on the plane, Hyde was beginning to form a hypothesis about the parrots’ vocalizations, but it seemed utterly ludicrous. He simply had to observe the phenomena with his own eyes and ears.

Once Prof. Hyde arrived at the site and heard the parrots for himself, his wild hypothesis was confirmed in short order. To his astonishment, the parrots’ vocalizations turned out to be very close to the English spoken in the county of Somerset, England around 300 years ago. That is, the parrots seemed to be exhibiting fossilized fragments of a centuries-old form of English.
Prof. Hyde notes certain key properties of the parrots’ vocalizations that led him to this amazing conclusion. According to Hyde, the clearest piece of evidence lies in the sounds z (and zh) and v. For example, when Hyde heard the parrots say, “Veed the vizhez,” he at once recognized it as the Somerset way of saying, “Feed the fishes,” since in Somerset English, the fricatives s and f become z and v, except when adjacent to another consonant.

Thus, “zee dogs” in “avast ye zee dogs” corresponds to “seadogs,” and “zon” in “Thee bist a zon of a biscuit eater“ corresponds to the modern Received Pronunciation “son”. According to Hyde, this voicing of fricatives in Somerset and surrounding counties is a very old phenomenon.

“One can find it Shakespeare, in fact,” Hyde observes. “For example, in King Lear, Act IV, Scene 6, the character Edgar affects a Somerset accent to disguise himself:

“Chill not let go, zir, without vurther ‘cagion.”

“The words ‘zir’ and ‘vurther,’” Hyde explains, “are supposed to be the Somerset forms of ‘sir’ and ‘further,’ respectively. ’Chill’ is in fact a contraction of a very Germanic 1st-person person ‘Ich’ and ‘will’. And ’’cagion’…I have no idea what ”cagion’ is.”

The occurrence of ‘Ich’ in King Lear reminds Hyde of the phrase “thee bist” in the initial vocalization: “Thee best a son of a biscuit eater.” Hyde says that “bist” is indeed is a relic of an earlier Germanic form of the verb ‘to be’. He adds that the form “thee” has long been used as a nominative pronoun in Somerset, even though “ye be” is today more common than “thee bist” for saying “you (sg) are.”

According to Hyde, to call someone a son of biscuit eater was a fairly common insult in the 17th and 18th centuries. He further expounds, “Though it may not sound particularly bad to our ears, it’s doesn’t sound particularly good either, does it? I mean, I think we can agree that it’s certainly not a compliment to call someone the progeny of a compulsive eater of biscuits.” Even so, Dr. Webb, didn’t seem to be especially offended upon learning what that first parrot had actually called her. “I’ve been called worse,” she said.

But where and from whom did these parrots acquire these words and expressions? According to Hyde, the source can be none other than the West-Country pirates who terrorized the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy (roughly 1650 to 1730). “The parrots’ vocabulary, phonetics, and idioms match this context perfectly,” Hyde says. “The southwestern counties at that time produced a lot of sailors—-a lot of sailors, including pirates.”

Sarah Bradford, a parrot specialist at the Honduran Zoological Society speculates that some 300 years ago, a pirate—-let us call him Edward—-adopted a certain Yellow-Naped Amazon parrot named Polly. Edward, having hailed from Somerset in England, spoke in the Somerset dialect. According to Bradford, yellow-naped parrots happen to be excellent “talkers”, second only to the African Grey parrot in their ability to mimic human speech. Edward’s pet parrot no doubt learned to replicate many colorful expressions.

Now, while parrots are famously long-lived, pirates aren’t, so Polly probably outlived Edward. After Edward died, perhaps on or just off the Mosquito Coast, Polly would have probably flown off into the jungle of La Mosquitia and found a mate. He would have taught his young and perhaps also his mate the words and phrases he learned during his life as a piratical pet.

Bradford further speculates that the descendants of Polly could have continued to transmit these vocalization from generation to generation. She explains that to parrots, the precise mimicking of a vocalization is more important than the vocalization’s semantic content, so perhaps parrots are better able to replicate a vocalization from generation to generation than humans. Remember also that the lifespan of a Yellow-Naped Amazon parrot is 60-80 years. Such long lives would help bridge the gap between 300 years ago and the present.

Author: Tony Meyer

Travel the globe with us once again!

Dear LINGUIST Listers,

Happy Friday! Now that it’s the weekend, you may think you have the chance to sit back and relax… but think again, because the next edition of the Great LINGUIST Treasure Hunt is here! So grab your passport, your walking shoes, and your travel-size toothbrush, and head to the LINGUIST List International Virtual Airport!

This game involves travelling the (virtual) globe with us and testing your linguistics wits. Everyone who completes the treasure hunt will be entered to win a very exciting prize: a copy of “The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics,” published by everyone’s favorite journal of satirical linguistics, Speculative Grammarian!

To play, you need to go to GeoLing, our online interactive map interface. You can find the navigation buttons by clicking the menu button in the upper left corner. Select and unselect Local Events, Jobs, Conferences and more to view them on the map. Game clues will be found in different locations on different kinds of pins.

To get you started, here’s the first clue:

Visit the March 2017 issue of Speculative Grammarian. In one of the “Linguimericks” in this issue, a scenic location on an island nation is mentioned. Find this spot on GeoLing for the next clue!

Buena suerte, mirary soa e, and yoo dara o: may the best linguist win!

-Your LL Team

Fun Fact: Easy Abs Edition

Hey everyone!

This is Kenneth again. I’m here to let you know about Easy Abs. This area of the LINGUIST List ties in with my last Fun Fact on Conferences and Calls for papers.

Easy Abs is a FREE and user friendly service for conference organizers to set up the abstract submission process. You can create a new conference in Easy Abs or view a list of current conferences in Easy Abs by visiting http://linguistlist.org/confservices/EasyAbs/index.cfm .

Lwin Moe, our programmer and systems expert, works to make sure that the experience is smooth and conference organizers have what they need. He also works to fix any problems should they arise.

We are only able to offer this as a free service due to contributions from people like you. Feel free to show your appreciation at funddrive.linguistlist.org. Thank you!