Historical Linguistics: Programmer Lwin’s Favorite Tree

Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,

 

As you may have known from previous Fund Drive emails, trees are a big part of our Fund Drive this year. I would like to tell you about my very first Tibeto-Burman tree that I digitized at LINGUIST List and appeal for your continued support of our LINGUIST List students.

benedict1972

I went to Michigan in the summer of 2010 to work at LINGUIST List as an intern while I was a graduate student in computational linguistics at Indiana University in Bloomington. I was assigned to the  MultiTree team. I had to learn the ins and outs of digitizing a typological tree for the project. As a native speaker of Burmese and an ethnic Mon in Burma (now Myanmar), I have always been fascinated by the linguistic typology of Tibeto-Burman and Mon-Khmer languages. During my internship, I digitized several Tibeto-Burman trees. My very first tree was the hypothesis by Paul K. Benedict (http://new.multitree.org/trees/id/17642). I learned a lot about the relationships of Tibeto-Burman languages that summer. I learned about new languages such as “Banpara” (http://new.multitree.org/trees/code/nnp). There are more recent hypotheses about the relationships of Tibeto-Burman languages, yet Benedict’s hypothesis was my first digitization of a tree for the MultiTree project as an intern, and I will always think of it as a special one.

Please consider donating so that LINGUIST List can support student editors and interns to edit the mailing list and work on linguistic projects.

 

http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

 

Sincerely,

Lwin Moe

Programmer at LINGUIST List

To All Language Warriors: Donate Today and Enter to Win a Copy of Speak Crow! from The Language Conservancy

Dear LINGUIST List Readers:

Day 4 of our Language Warrior theme week: we are giving away another prize from The Language Conservancy.  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’s prize is Biiluukaalilaah! – Speak Crow!, a textbook and CD combo for Level 1 Crow.  According to Ethnologue, the Crow Language has a threatened status with approximately 3000 speakers.  If you are interested in language revitalization and preservation, you can have a copy of your own by donating and entering the raffle to  win this resource book.

Normally the combined value of these items is $55 USD, and it can be yours for a minimum donation of $25.  Donate to the LINGUIST List before noon tomorrow (April 3, 11:59 am EST), and get your name in the drawing for this combo set.

You can donate at this link:

http://goo.gl/e656LG

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.  Everything we do at the LINGUIST List is made possible by your continuing support.

Thanks and good luck!

Sincerely,

The LINGUIST List Crew

Featured Linguist: Joseph C. Salmons

LINGUIST List Fund Drive 2015

Featured Linguist: Joe Salmons (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

Featured Linguist: Joe Salmons

Featured Linguist: Joe Salmons

 

‘Featured linguist’ blurbs used to directly address the question ‘how did I become a linguist?’. Every single day I think about that, how lucky I am to be a linguist and one doing what I’m doing.

Growing up mostly just outside Kings Mountain, North Carolina, from first grade into college I was a really weak student and came close to dropping out of high school. But I graduated and stumbled into the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and into Philosophy and Foreign Languages, departments with amazing profs who worked hard to help me along. About halfway through, things clicked, especially in the philosophy and history of science, and I just worked on learning languages, especially German. Philosophy courses didn’t yield big answers but I learned something about how to approach problems. The German program made it possible for me to go to Germany one summer, my first trip ever outside the southeastern U.S. Both things were life changers.

To understand the historical underpinnings of some of the exciting stuff in philosophy, I went to get an MA in German at the University of Texas at Austin. Here again, things clicked because of a professor and a subject. Learning languages was fun, but there were weird things going on, say, where German word forms did and didn’t have umlaut or which nouns took which gender. I took the required course in the history of the German language with Edgar C. Polomé; every session answered those kinds of questions and things I hadn’t known enough to wonder about. I could never quite figure out the rules for how to think and argue in literature classes, but this was familiar turf: Figuring out generalizations about data. And even if Karl Verner and Hermann Paul weren’t always presented in terms of hypothesis testing and theory building, it was easy to see a science developing and advancing.

I learned from Edgar for the rest of his life. Most of my History of German: What the past reveals about today’s language was directly shaped or inspired by Edgar, but it’s his insistence on trying to see the big picture, language structure integrated into history and society, that drove the writing of that book.

Edgar C. Polomé, cher maître

Edgar C. Polomé, cher maître

After grad school, I got a job at Purdue University, where I soon met Monica Macaulay, another featured linguist in this fund drive. She changed my life completely, not just because we came to spend all our time together, but because she knew mountains of stuff about linguistics. Before long we’d co-authored our first article, the classic “Offensive Rock Band Names: A Linguistic Taxonomy” (Maledicta 10.81–99, 1989). From her and others, I saw that understanding language change demanded understanding linguistic theories and thinking about problems beyond just sound change. I’m still trying to do that.

And Monica and I got married. I played bass and guitar in a lot of bands in those years, including with the Nailbiters, Mobile Home and Carnival Desires but mostly with Rusty Cow recording artists, Phrogs, who rocked the wedding.

Not our greatest hits, but some songs some people liked.

Not our greatest hits, but some songs some people liked.

When the chance came to move to Wisconsin, where Monica had grown up, we jumped. That the great Germanist Rob Howell was (and still is) here was key and the history of Wisconsin linguistics is irresistible —people like Frederic Cassidy, Einar Haugen, Eduard Prokosch, Morris Swadesh, W. Freeman Twaddell and others taught here and W.P. Lehmann, Robert D. King, Dennis Preston and others studied here. Lester W.J. Seifert — universally called ‘Smoky’ — has come to exemplify Wisconsin linguistics for me. He taught an amazing range of courses in and far beyond Germanic linguistics but also taught German language on Wisconsin Public Television and travelled the state to talk to community groups about language, in addition to making early recordings of heritage German across eastern Wisconsin. He didn’t just teach and research, he engaged the state in what he was doing and why it mattered.

A 1949 article from a Milwaukee newspaper about Smoky Seifert’s work. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. In Wisconsin, Smoky is central to understanding immigrant bilingualism.

A 1949 article from a Milwaukee newspaper about Smoky Seifert’s work. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. In Wisconsin, Smoky is central to understanding immigrant bilingualism.

With time, it became possible to follow in Smoky’s (and others’) footsteps. Tom Purnell and then Eric Raimy joined the faculty and we started the Wisconsin Englishes Project (http://csumc.wisc.edu/wep/), doing research, teaching and doing outreach using regional language and dialect as a hook.

The Wisconsin Englishes Project team (Tom, me, Eric), Wisconsin Public Television studios.

The Wisconsin Englishes Project team (Tom, me, Eric), Wisconsin Public Television studios.

We’re still trying to understand language in its full context, from the social setting to cognition. That work has offered incredible opportunities, like editing Diachronica and working with the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, both rich collaborations with new chances to learn.

To be able to do these things with the students and colleagues I collaborate with is humbling but it’s also a pure joy and easy pleasure.

Getting off the bike after riding last summer from Whitefish, Montana to Madison with Phil Macaulay.

Getting off the bike after riding last summer from Whitefish, Montana to Madison with Phil Macaulay.

What a trip, and it’s not over.

For more than five years, Monica and Anja Wanner, Rajiv Rao and I had the privilege of editing book reviews for LINGUIST. We saw up close how hard the LINGUIST staff and especially students work to provide us all with so many resources. Those resources wouldn’t have replaced all the support I got from so many generous people along the way, but they sure do supplement that kind of support. Step up and support LINGUIST.

Onward!
Joe

 

 

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

 

Ethos…Pathos…LOGOS!

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 funddrive@linguistlist.org 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:

http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

Sincerely,

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 funddrive@linguistlist.org.
  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:

http://goo.gl/jnn3xw

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:

http://goo.gl/e656LG

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!

Sincerely,

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 (http://www.languageconservancy.org/) 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:

http://goo.gl/e656LG

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

Thanks and good luck!

Sincerely,

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 (http://www.languageconservancy.org/), 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):

http://goo.gl/uVq8GC

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:

http://goo.gl/e656LG

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!

Sincerely,

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:

LINGUIST List Puppy

LINGUIST List Puppy

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