Hello Linguist List Subscribers,

We are excited to announce a brand new contest: The LINGUIST List Logo Contest! We are looking for a new logo for our website—one that is modern, cool, and captures the essences of LINGUIST List. LINGUIST List is operated by and used by linguists, so why not have a linguist design our new logo?

Take a look at the history of LINGUIST List logos:

Red Blue Yellow Logo


Red Yellow Sun


Sunset Logo


Boxes logo

It’s time for a change. We are calling all of our graphic design savvy subscribers out to help us with this task! If you are interested in design and looking to get your name out there, and want to help us out, please read our terms and conditions and enter the contest! We have more than 25,000 mailing list subscribers, more than 27,000 social media followers in the world, and more than 1.5 million unique visitors on the website per year. That’s a lot of people viewing your art work!

Please send any logos you’ve designed to in svg format.

Remember, as always, LINGUIST List is a free and openly available resource dedicated to providing the best service possible for all fields of linguistics. Please support the LINGUIST List Fund Drive 2015 with a contribution:


Your LINGUIST List Team


Terms and Conditions:

  1. This competition consists in a contest to design a logo for LINGUIST List. It is open to everyone.
  2. To enter the competition, design a logo to be used on the LINGUIST List website. Design an image which you think incorporates the essence of LINGUIST List. Email your design in svg format to
  3. All photos, drawings, text, and any other content or information submitted by you to LINGUIST List shall become the sole and exclusive property of LINGUIST List, and LINGUIST List shall have no obligation to preserve or return content to you. If you are selected as the winner, you are allowing LINGUIST List to use your design for free and for any purpose.
  4. We will acknowledge the winner on our web site by mentioning their name and affiliation if requested. No monetary compensation is foreseen.
  5. We reserve the right not to select a winner, and not to use any provided logos.
  6. Entries must be entirely your own original work and must not breach any copyright or third party rights. LINGUIST List will not be made partially or fully liable for any non-original work submitted by you. All entries must be suitable for publication on the LINGUIST List website and public viewing. The design must not include any defamatory, offensive or unlawful content.
  7. Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and to agree to be bound by them when entering this competition.
  8. This competition is administered by LINGUIST List.

Calling All Language Warriors: Donate Today and Win a Lakota-English e-Dictionary!

Dear LINGUIST List Readers:

Happy Wednesday, everyone! We are continuing our Language Warrior theme week by giving away another prize donated by The Language Conservancy, an institution dedicated to rescuing the world’s endangered languages, restoring them to vital use, and safeguarding them for future generations.  They help prevent the extinction of languages by: 1) raising funds for research; 2) increasing the international public awareness of the social and personal consequences of indigenous language loss; and 3) providing technical support to organizations and communities engaged in revitalizing their languages.

For today’s prize, we are giving away TWO copies of this Lakota-English/English-Lakota electronic, downloadable dictionary.  This dictionary is compatible with a Windows or a Mac. You can read about all the awesome features this software offers here:

Interested?  It can yours if you donate a minimum of $25 to the LINGUIST List before noon tomorrow (April 2, 11:59 am EST).  Your name will be entered into the drawing and two of you will be selected at random from our pool of donors.  Please donate by following the link below:

Please spread the word about our raffle and other Fund Drive activities, by liking, sharing, retweeting, as well as by good old-fashioned word of mouth.

Thanks and good luck!


The LINGUIST List Crew

Startling Allegations Rock Historical Linguistics Community

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana – It has been an exciting week for the Indo-Europeanist community. While Monday saw the announcement of Bob’s Law, which derives the modern English Pez dispenser from the Proto-Indo-European *pesd-, today’s news marks a more controversial chapter.

Recently uncovered documents suggest Jacob Grimm may have forged evidence to support some of his theories.

“We now suspect that the entire Tocharian branch may have been invented by Grimm to further his career and possibly to impress women,” Professor Schmaltz, a noted figurehead in such matters, explained. “After all, we’ve had tremendous difficulty deriving the word yakup in Tocharian A that is claimed to correspond to PIE *deiwos.”

At a press conference held earlier this morning Schmaltz also cited accounts of Grimm’s character by some of his contemporaries:

Karl Verner wrote of Grimm, “Jacob was there at the onset establishing sound change rules. He worked tirelessly, never stopping and never shifting his opinion.” More damning is a letter written by Hermann Grassmann after Grimm’s death stating, “When I first met him, he had two aspirations: academic rigor and a drive to become famous. As he got older it seems the first gave way to the second.”

Scholars point to sloppy forgeries like this tablet as proof of Grimm's misconduct (via Wikimedia).

Scholars point to sloppy forgeries like this tablet as proof of Grimm’s misconduct (via Wikimedia).

This new theory, unveiled at the ongoing Construction of Reconstructed Languages conference, may be supported by work of folklorist Professor Jones of the Totally Legit School of Language Studies.

Jones notes that a hidden confession may be found in the classic fairy tale The Two Beans, or Zwei Bohnen, die verbrüdert sind, diskutieren die moralischen Implikationen des Fälschens historischer Dokumente, um die Karriere einer der Bohnen zu fördern, one of many collected by Jacob Grimm and his brother Wilhelm.

The text may have gone unnoticed by researchers this long for two main reasons. First, the bean that likely represents Jacob Grimm, has consistently been mistranslated into English as Jacob Melancholy the Bean, instead of Jacob Grimm the Bean. Second, as Jones points out, the relative dearth of violence in The Two Beans has diminished its popularity.

“Of course, as with any Grimms’ Fairy Tale, there is a fair amount of unnecessary violence, but in The Two Beans, the focus is Jacob the Bean’s monologue in which he takes responsibility for gross academic misconduct.”

In response to these allegations, Thomas Grimm, a descendant of Jacob Grimm, announced he had recently discovered a box full of his ancestor’s documents indicating both his innocence and access to a modern-day word processor and printer.

Language Warriors: Want to Win a Copy of the Speak Hidatsa Textbook? Donate Today!

Dear LINGUIST List Readers:

For Day 2 of our Language Warrior Theme Week, we are giving away Híraaca íire! – Speak Hidatsa! Level 1, a textbook and CD combo, donated by The Language Conservancy ( to our Fund Drive. According to the Endangered Languages Project, Hidatsa is critically endangered, so this textbook is an invaluable linguistic resource to help promote the revitalization of the language amongst the Hidatsa children.

The Language Conservancy is dedicated to rescuing the world’s endangered languages, restoring them to vital use, and safeguarding them for future generations.  They help prevent the extinction of languages by: 1) raising funds for research; 2) increasing the international public awareness of the social and personal consequences of indigenous language loss; and 3) providing technical support to organizations and communities engaged in revitalizing their languages.

Normally valued at $30 USD, the Híraaca íire! textbook and CD can be yours for a minimum donation of $20 to the LINGUIST List, if you donate before noon tomorrow (April 1, 11:59 am EST). Donate here:

Stay tuned for other Language Warrior themed prizes.  Please spread the word!  We appreciate all of  your support.

Thanks and good luck!


The LINGUIST List Crew

Become a Language Warrior: Donate Today!

Dear LINGUIST List Readers:

Today, we are introducing a very special theme week.  Every day we’ll be giving away a prize donated by The Language Conservancy (, a collaborator of the LINGUIST List.

The Language Conservancy is dedicated to rescuing the world’s endangered languages, restoring them to vital use, and safeguarding them for future generations.  They help prevent the extinction of languages by: 1) raising funds for research; 2) increasing the international public awareness of the social and personal consequences of indigenous language loss; and 3) providing technical support to organizations and communities engaged in revitalizing their languages.

Today, we are giving away this Language Warrior t-shirt (size large):

A general favorite among the LINGUIST List team, this t-shirt can be yours for a minimum donation of $25.  Become a Language Warrior and donate before noon tomorrow (March 31, 11:59 am EST) to win this great t-shirt.  You can donate here:

Stay tuned this week for more fun prizes from The Language Conservancy. We will be giving away some awesome Lakhota, Hidatsa and Crow language resources.

Thanks and good luck!


The LINGUIST List Crew

The LINGUIST List Events in March

Dear Colleagues, Subscribers, and Supporters,

While we are all very much engaged in managing the normal operations of The LINGUIST List and running the 2015 Fund Drive, Heike Zinsmeister, a linguist and colleague from the University of Hamburg in Germany, visited our office in Bloomington at Indiana University.

Heike Zinsmeister visiting LINGUIST List at Indiana University (March 2015)

Heike Zinsmeister visiting LINGUIST List at Indiana University (March 2015)

Should you be on the IU campus in Bloomington, we would love to meet you. Please come and see us!

Please consider supporting LINGUIST List with a donation during the fund drive.

The LINGUIST List Team!


Fund Drive and The LINGUIST List Team 2015

Dear Colleagues, Subscribers, and Supporters,

Perhaps you were wondering, who are these people at LINGUIST List at Indiana University running the operation, posting your submissions, maintaining EasyAbs, correcting and changing conference announcements. Here is a picture of some of the students, programmers, and managers of the LINGUIST List Team at Indiana University:

Some members of the Linguist List Crew (March 2015)

Some members of the Linguist List Crew (March 2015)

These are some of the people who volunteer, work hourly, are graduate assistants, or full time employees at LINGUIST List. There are many more of supporters, student and faculty editors on the IU campus and at other locations.

Everybody at LINGUIST List is convinced that the service that LINGUIST offers to the international community is important and should be continued. It is a service for the international linguistic community, operated by members of the international linguistic community, and supported and funded by the same community. It is independent. It is free from corporate or market pressure. It is full of enthusiastic lovers of languages and linguistics.

To be able to continue the service, LINGUIST needs your support. Some of the people in the picture above need financial support to be able to support the LINGUIST List operation. We ask you to support the work of the student editors with a donation during the 2015 fund drive.

You do not have to support our office puppy, we got enough supply for her:

The LINGUIST List Office Puppy

The LINGUIST List Office Puppy

She is very modest and does not need much more than the love and care of all office members:



However, the everyday operations of LINGUIST are costly. We pay for the servers to run mailing lists, not just the two lists that LINGUIST List manages, but also numerous other lists for the global linguistic community. The website for the LINGUIST List, as well as some websites for other organizations and projects are hosted by The LINGUIST List. LINGUIST has to pay for the traffic and maintenance of the servers, the storage space and the computer hosting. While LINGUIST is mainly run by graduate assistants who receive a stipend during the semesters, the summer time LINGUIST has to pay students hourly to continue working as editors. Without their help, LINGUIST cannot function.

The Fund Drive 2015 is asking for donations to cover these costs to fund the operation of LINGUIST List and support the editing students. Please consider donating to The LINGUIST List on the fund drive website.

Thank you!

Your LINGUIST List Team


Syntax: Favorite Tree of Editor Ashley Parker

Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers:

As you may have seen, the theme for Fund Drive 2015 is Branching Out. As we are all settling into our new lives in Indiana, our theme has to do with laying new roots, planting new orchards, and setting an environment for LINGUIST List to thrive in future. Trees are a big part of our Fund Drive (see, a big part of our lives, and a big part of linguistics.

When asked to consider what my favorite linguistic tree is, my mind filled with complex, clever, and even controversial parse trees and abstract syntax trees. I visited MultiTree ( to find a language tree that was special to me. While I find all of that incredibly fascinating, there is no linguistic tree that is more special to me than this one:

Favorite Tree

Sure, this tree is quite simplistic and seemingly banal, but it’s the first linguistic tree I ever drew. It was the undergraduate class in which I drew this tree that lead me to a future in linguistics. Without this tree, I would likely have vastly different career aspirations, and I certainly wouldn’t be here at LINGUIST List working with what I love—linguistics—every day. Of course, my knowledge and work with trees has grown bigger than NPs, but this is the most sentimental to me! Therefore, I am proud to call this tiny tree my favorite tree of all.

Please consider supporting our Fund Drive by making a donation to LINGUIST List. Your support is not only important, but vital to our operation. We are so grateful for everyone’s support and the incredible future that you are helping to grow.


Ashley Parker

Student Editor





Featured Linguist: Thomas Ede Zimmermann

LINGUIST List Fund Drive 2015

Featured Linguist: Thomas Ede Zimmermann (Goethe Universität Frankfurt a.M.)

Featured Linguist Thomas Ede Zimmermann

Featured Linguist: Thomas Ede Zimmermann

I was born and raised in the industrial city of Hannover, (then West) Germany. I was 15 when I decided to become a linguist. Here is how. Having entered the Oberstufe – the final phase in the traditional German grammar school – in the summer of 1970, I began developing a mild form of future angst: only 3 years to go until the Abitur (= German high school diploma) and no long-term plans! My parents, both non-academics, were not very helpful in this respect, trying to push me in the direction of German studies. Since I wasn’t sure whether this is what I would want to spend my life with, I decided to find out by browsing the local bookstores and came up with a pile of publishers’ catalogues of books for first-year students of Germanistik. I made my selection of the hottest titles, 4 volumes of a History of the European Novel among them, and returned to the bookstore to find that the only available book of my choice was the one with he catchy title Language, Thought, and Reality (or rather, Sprache, Denken, Wirklichkeit), by famous hobby linguist B. L. Whorf (as I know now). I bought it, read it, and … wanted to become a linguist! This was not so much for the (apparently mis-analysed) wonders of the Hopi language. Rather, what impressed me most was something Whorf used to illustrate his more than debatable claims on the subtle influence of grammar on our thinking: the structure of possible monosyllabic words of English, which he presented in one neat formula! I immediately forgot about the literature part of German studies and went to the local library to get hold of any linguistics textbooks I could find – not many, and all of them with a strong structuralist flavour (which was of course, not for me to discern).

Having spent the following year with langue vs. parole, double articulation, different kinds of oppositions, etc., I was beginning to become disappointed at the overdose of theoretical grandeur and the lack of neat formulae I had hoped for. This was about to change when, in the summer of 1971, I spent a couple of weeks in London with my brother’s friend Wolfgang Zucht, an anarchist who didn’t know anything about linguistics except that there was this guy Chomsky, who also happened to be an anarchist and had written all these linguistics books full of neat formulae. Wolfgang told me about John Lyons’s Fontana Modern Masters volume on Chomsky which had just appeared in German – and opened up a new world to me. I remember spending my last two Gymnasium years reading anything vaguely generative I could find in the local bookstores, from Lyons’s Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics to Lakoff’s Generative Semantics. It was the latter (which I had read in a German translation) that made me aware of the logical approach to meaning, but I did not get seriously into this before entering university.

Hannover did not have anything to offer but a German studies department, and so I decided to leave my hometown and register for the MA programme in theoretical linguistics at Konstanz University. This was in 1973, the beginning of my formation as a semanticist, under the gentle direction of Arnim von Stechow, who in my first year introduced me (and himself) to Montague’s Universal Grammar. At the end of that term I hadn’t grasped 10 per cent of that stuff, but my determination to master it all had been borne. This was to take me another few years of studying linguistic semantics as well as some philosophy and mathematical logic in Konstanz and London (with Hans Kamp), together with an amazing crowd of teachers, friends, and fellow semanticists I met on the way – too many to mention here. In the summer of 1978 I finished my MA thesis (on Montague Grammar – what else?), with the clear feeling that I knew and understood everything. I was young.

Becoming a semanticist back in the 1970s was quite different from what it is in the days of Heim & Kratzer (incidentally, two of my old Konstanz friends). The field had not been established as a sub-discipline of linguistics, and despite some serious integrative attempts (thanks to Barbara Partee), it was still perceived as an esoteric pastime of a small community of logicians, philosophers of language, and (few) linguists. In Germany, this community was particularly strong, with enough funding to have spectacular conferences bringing together some of the best researchers in the field. I attended quite a few of them, though rarely presenting anything, during the time I worked on my dissertation, which was supposed to be about the interface between logical and lexical semantics. I never finished that dissertation, for at least two reasons. The first was that I kept changing my mind over the very subject area: my original strategy had been to formulate model-theoretic constraints on meaning postulates to keep them from overgenerating (a serious issue at the time, and still), but the more I worked on it, the less confident I became that model theory is the right framework for natural language semantics. The other reason was that I was easily distracted, working on a lot of other problems at the same time, and with more success (in terms of publications). One of my favourite topics was Groenendijk’s and Stokhof’s fascinating partition semantics of interrogatives. When investigating its logical underpinnings, I found that one of Montague’s implicit hypotheses about semantic analysis – that his intensional type logic provides a restrictive framework of compositional semantics – was not quite right. I wrote a short article about this and showed it to my would-be supervisor Arnim von Stechow, who saw to it that I would submit it as my dissertation. In the event it was accepted by him (and the co-promoters) and also got published in a logic journal. Rather than being proud of these 13 pages in print, I have always felt a bit ashamed for never having written a proper dissertation; but in the meantime I got used to being introduced as the guy who must have written the shortest linguistics dissertation ever.

From (too many) search committee meetings I know that German professors expect their colleagues to have written at least two books. I managed to do without this, having passed my Habilitation in Stuttgart (in the 90s) with the ‘lazy’ option of submitting, instead of a monolithic book, a bunch of published articles on a number of quite different topics in logic and semantics. Eventually I still managed to find a permanent position as a professor of semantics (at Frankfurt) – and wrote two books since then, both textbooks, but still. And they are full of neat little formulae accounting for the complexities of compositional meaning.


Please support the LINGUIST List student editors and operations with a donation during the 2015 Fund Drive! The LINGUIST List really needs your support!

Journals: John Benjamins is Giving Away 5 One-Year Subscriptions…Donate Today to Win!

Dear LINGUIST List Readers:

It’s Friday, everyone, and we are wrapping up the week with a prize donated by John Benjamins. John Benjamins is giving away 5 one-year subscriptions. Five of you can be the lucky winners of the linguistic journal of your choice from John Benjamins’ catalogue. For a full listing of John Benjamins current linguistic journals, see here:

Valued anywhere between €105 and €424, a one-year journal subscription can be yours for a minimum donation of $50 USD. Donate before midnight tomorrow (March 28, 11:59 EST), and enter to your name into the drawing. You can donate at the link below:

Can’t afford to donate $50? If you donate any amount before midnight on Sunday, you will entitled to a 20% off promotional code to the ISD Language and Linguistics book catalogue, which has up to 4000 linguistic titles.

We do our best to provide you with a free service that benefits the entire linguistic community, but we cannot do it without your help. If you have already donated or cannot afford to donate at this time, you can help by spreading the word about our publisher prize giveaways and other Fund Drive activities (like and share on social media, or just plain old-fashioned word-of-mouth). We appreciate all of your support!

Have a wonderful weekend and good luck!

The LINGUIST List Crew