Author: Everett Green

Staff Letter: Jeremy Coburn

Dear LINGUIST Listers,

My name is Jeremy Coburn and I am the student moderator and editor for The LINGUIST List working on book announcements and book reviews. I have the pleasure of working with some of the most prominent publishers in the world to deliver publications on cutting-edge developments within the field of linguistics to you, our readers. My job is to ensure that the books we announce on LINGUIST List are current and relevant to you and your interests as a linguist by vetting the hundreds of publications which are submitted to us each month for announcement. This means that when you receive a book announcement from The LINGUIST List, you know that what is being advertised is hand-selected for our linguistic audience.

The LINGUIST List, and by extension the generous donations given by so many of you, allowed me to obtain a Master’s degree in General Linguistics from Indiana University, our host institution, last Spring without accruing any of the crushing student debt that affects most graduate students. Now, I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at IU pursuing a PhD in Linguistics with a concentration on African languages and linguistics. Having lived in East Africa for several years, I developed a love for the linguistic diversity present in Africa and consequently focus my research on the description of languages of Tanzania. My doctoral dissertation research focuses on the phonetics and phonology of Hadza, an endangered language isolate spoken in north-central Tanzania. I am particularly interested in the acoustics and articulation of clicks in Hadza using instrumental methods, including 3D/4D ultrasound. I have been selected for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Tanzania with the Hadzabe beginning in Spring 2021.

I would like to thank you, our readers, for all that you do for me and my family. In addition to being a linguist, I am also a husband and father of two rambunctious children (4 & 2). Thanks to your donations, I am able to support my family while pursuing my post-graduate degree. When my wife and I began this crazy journey of graduate school, we had little more than the ambition to pursue a dream of studying the beautiful languages of East Africa and trying to help the world in some small way. We moved to Bloomington, Indiana from Utah without any job or source of funding to pay for my studies. We didn’t know how we would pay for anything. But now, because of your support and contributions, I have a GA-ship with the LINGUIST List which covers my tuition costs and gives me enough money to feed my growing family. Please continue to support LINGUIST List as much as you are able because it does make a significant difference in our lives. You can do that by donating to our fund drive at the following link:

Thank you again from Jeremy, Lynzie, Ryker, and Maiya!

Fund Drive: Donation Information

Hello all,

We have gotten some questions about donations and we wanted to provide some more information for you.

Donations to The LINGUIST List via The Indiana University Foundation are tax-deductible (IU Foundation is registered to solicit charitable contributions in all states requiring registration. For the full disclosure statement, see The LINGUIST List is hosted by Indiana University which is why donations are going through an IU webpage.

If you are interested in setting up a recurring donation that is also possible. To set up a recurrent gift to The LINGUIST List with IU Foundation please visit:

Then please type “Linguist List” in the ‘search more funds’ field. If The LINGUIST List is not selected then your donation will go to IU rather than to us.

Thank you all for your donations and your continued support. If you have any other questions about donations please reach out to us.

Thank you!

LL Team

Challenge Update: Week 8

Hello readers!

Welcome to our week 8 challenge updates! Since our update last week, we have gone up a significant number of percentage points. We were at 36.11% last week and as of this post’s writing we are at 45.14%!

It looks like we have had some competition in the Subfield Challenge over the past week. Sociolinguistics wanted a taste of first place, and they have it with $2,560 in donations. Phonology is still in second place with $2,307.32. Syntax has since fallen to third place with $2,080 donated.

For the University Challenge we still have our host university, Indiana University, in first place with $1,385 from 8 donors. For second place we have a new member in the top three — Wayne State University with $1,100 in donations from 3 donors! That puts the University of South Carolina in third place with $935.00 across 12 donors. One top contender that we usually see more activity from is the University of Washington. They typically hold a top 3 position in our challenge, but we have only received one donation of $50 from them this year. Do they plan to make a last minute appearance? Are they perhaps waiting to shake things up towards the end of the fund drive? We will have to wait and see!

North America is still in first place for the Region Challenge with 130 donors which is an increase of 21 new donors in a week! In second place we have Europe with 86 donors which is 8 more donors than last week. Asia is still in third place and they have had one new donor this past week.

These challenges are really heating up this year! Tune in next week for another challenge update and if you want to affect the outcome for your favorite challenge group, you can find our donation website here:

All the best,
– The LL Team

Fun Facts: Behind the Scenes 2

Let’s pull back the curtain once more…

Hello readers!

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at LINGUIST List and what happens after you hit ‘Submit’ on our site? Well in short, a lot happens. Bear with us, this Fun Fact is a little long but it’s super interesting.

Once you hit ‘Submit’ on our site, the announcement is then added to that category’s queue and is then awaiting Editor approval. With a few exceptional categories, like TOC announcements, there is a turn-around of 48 business hours for all submissions, in most cases though, submissions get posted before this. It is during these 48 hours that Editors quality assure each submission and work with the submitters so that each announcement is correct.

For each category on our site we have at least one dedicated Editor who is responsible for every announcement in that area. They are responsible for proof-reading each submission, ensuring that each piece of content is linguistically relevant, making small edits to formatting so that each announcement is up to our standards, and in the cases for Journals and Conferences there is an extra check that must be done. For these two areas the Editors must thoroughly research the event or journal to make sure that it is not predatory or a scam. Editors are also responsible for communicating with submitters to make sure all announcements are correct before they are posted on our site.

Book announcements and TOC announcements on our site require accounts. To publish TOCs, each submitter must have their account access opened by a LINGUIST List Editor to make sure that publisher accounts are secure and are not being accessed by anyone else. TOC announcements take a little longer to edit than some other areas because on top of our editing and formatting standards, each abstract must be read, and the linguistic subfields and languages must be tagged individually!

Our editors do a lot of work to edit all submissions, fact-check, and communicate with submitters to make sure the announcements on our site are of the utmost quality.

Our Editors are not the only ones who do a lot behind the scenes work at LINGUIST List, we also have a Web Development (web dev) team and a System Administrator. Web dev is responsible for many things, including ensuring that our sites, new and old, are running smoothly and that there are no issues with our submission forms. They are also the ones who receive the much-appreciated feedback from our users regarding improvements to The LINGUIST List. Our System Administrator is responsible for keeping our services running, whether that be our servers or making sure that our mailing lists are working. They also make sure that our technology in the office is up-to-date and running smoothly.

The LINGUIST List is a non-profit and we do not charge our readers or subscribers a fee to access the information posted on our site. Even though we are a non-profit, we do still have some services that come with a fee, such as Job announcements, social media boosts, TOC announcements, and Book announcements. We also have the support of various publishers who pay an annual fee for Book announcements. These service fees go right back to us to keep LINGUIST List running.

The LINGUIST List stands out from other listservs in various ways, but one very distinct way is that while we do not publish articles we are technically a journal. We have our own ISSN number and we are archvied with the U.S. Library of Congress! Every announcement on our site is retained in a permanent online archive. In addition, The LINGUIST List provides hosting and archival services to over 100 other linguistics-related mailing lists.

While LINGUIST List has a faculty Moderator, it is worth noting that all other employees here are students. All our Editors, Web Development staff, and our System Administrator are all graduate students at our host university, Indiana University. The LINGUIST List employs us as graduate students and without this opportunity it would not be possible for us to continue our degrees.

By donating to The LINGUIST List, you are not just contributing to a vital online resource and community, but you are also contributing to the future of our field by allowing us to fund graduate students. Your donations further the field of linguistics in many ways. Thank you for all of your donations and help each year, the employees at LINGUIST List are very grateful!

If you would like to donate, you can find our donation page here:

Best regards,
The LL Team

Featured Linguist: Bonny Sands

This week, we are happy to bring you the work of Professor Bonny Sands for our Featured Linguist!

Professor Bonny Sands

The mostly blue-collar suburb on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon where I grew up was not the best place for a hopeful polyglot in the 1970s and early ’80s. Today, the area has many shops, churches and other establishments with signs in Russian, Korean, and Spanish. Back then, classmates who used languages other than English in their homes were small in number, and, with the exception of ASL, I don’t recall any languages being shared at school much. Looking back, I can see that I missed opportunities for learning about other languages and cultures; I failed to pay attention because English dominated the linguistic landscape. I tried learning about languages from books but rarely got past the sections on pronunciation which inevitably had something about the vowel in “caught” being different than the vowel in “cot”, which made absolutely no sense to me.

When my older brother Ron took French in high school, he taught me and my twin sister a few words and phrases such as “Fermez la porte!” when we were still in grade school. I still remember being fascinated that the French word porte was like the word ‘portal’ that I knew from watching Star Trek. Just about my only exposure to African languages at that point would have been Lieutenant Uhura speaking a few words of Kiswahili in a Star Trek episode. (I was definitely a nerd before that was a cool thing to be). In middle school, I liked to read the dictionary and find more about the roots that connected different words together. I sought out books such as Mario Pei’s “The Story of Language” and Isaac Asimov’s “Words from History” to learn more. When this same brother brought home a course catalog from the University of Oregon, I studied it, imagining all the things I might get to learn about one day. I came across this thing called “Linguistics” and learned that was a major where you could learn about all of the languages of the world. How fun! You wouldn’t have to be limited to a single language! When it came time for me to think about college, I narrowed down my choices by only looking at ones that had a Linguistics major. When I took Introduction to Linguistics the first semester of my Freshman year (with David Odden, at Yale University), I was pretty much hooked.

Of course, being a linguist is not the same as learning to speak many languages. I love learning about languages even more than I love learning them. I really wanted to be a historical linguist, given my interest in etymology, but didn’t know how I could do that given my lack of language-learning achievements at that point. I took Historical Linguistics & Intro to Indo-European with Stephanie Jamison, which I loved, but never having studied Latin, Greek, etc. I didn’t see how I could specialize as an Indo-European historical linguist. I had a lot of great classes as an undergrad that allowed me to learn about languages as diverse as Pangasinan, Icelandic and Classical Chinese. I learned about syntax, language acquisition, field methods, etc. but besides historical linguistics, the other subject that really grabbed me was phonetics. The time I spent with a speech therapist as a child learning how to correct a lisp taught me early on about my alveolar ridge, and how to listen to myself and adjust my pronunciation. I loved learning about ejectives, implosives and clicks in Louis Goldstein’s phonetics class and about patterning of sounds in Pam Beddor’s phonology class. Even though I have an abiding interest in (pre)history, I wanted to study living languages, since there’s something about teaching your mouth to move in a different way that is so much fun. (Like watching a ballet dancer on “So You Think You Can Dance” learn to dance hip-hop, or seeing a b-boy tackle a jazz number).

My specialization in African linguistics was due in large part to the fact that Kiswahili was taught at Yale using a method called soft-immersion. Having failed to become fluent enough after four years of study (with all A’s!) to pass an advanced French class, I knew I’d never become fluent in another language without learning through immersion. My Junior year, I took Kiswahili at 9am, then went straight to German at 10am. The languages were so different and taught in such different ways that I never got them confused and I was happy to make up for lost time in learning languages. I don’t have any extraordinary talent for language-learning but just put in the time to acquire the skills needed to do fieldwork and to read the literature in at least one part of the world.

I was excited by the choice of Kiswahili. I felt it was wrong that my schooling up to that point had taught me so little about Africa and I had (and still have!) a strong conviction that every adult should know basic facts about different parts of the world — such as, what languages are spoken there. About a third of the world’s languages are in Africa, so even as a supposed expert, I find myself in a (blissful) constant state of learning.

My two years of Kiswahili (plus a summer-abroad in Kenya) was enough for the label “Africanist” to be bestowed upon me when I started grad school at UCLA, despite having done relatively little to earn it at that point. I happened upon the study of clicks for my MA thesis when Peter Ladefoged suggested I work on some recordings of isiXhosa that Rosalie Finlayson of UNISA had sent him. He and Ian Maddieson had a series of NSF grants that resulted in their book “The Sounds of the World’s Languages”, and they took me with them to Kenya and Tanzania to record words of the click languages Dahalo, Hadza and Sandawe. I returned to Tanzania to continue working on Hadza (resulting in the sketches in Routledge volume “The Khoesan Languages”, ed. Rainer Vossen). Since my dissertation work (supervised by Tom Hinnebusch and Ian Maddieson) showed that Hadza is best viewed as a language isolate, I shifted my research focus to Khoesan languages in the Kalahari Basin, where I could collect data for historical reconstruction and phonetic description. Since being at Northern Arizona University, I have conducted fieldwork on languages such as Nǀuu, ǂHoan, and varieties of !Xun with colleagues Amanda Miller, Chris Collins, Levi Namaseb, Andy Chebanne, and others. Some of these findings are published in the book “Click Consonants”, published by Brill.

These days, I am transitioning away from fieldwork and trying to focus on publishing more. I’ve enjoyed expanding my knowledge of African languages to be able to write surveys on topics as diverse as: “Language revitalization in Africa”, ” The sounds of the Bantu languages”, “Tonogenesis”, and “Tracing language contact in Africa’s past”.

Linguistics as a discipline still has so much to learn from Africans and African languages. It is a deeply rewarding area of study and I encourage everyone to seek to know more about this large and important part of the world.

Thanks for reading and if you want to donate to the LINGUIST List, you can do so here:

All the best,
– The LL Team

Fun Facts: Halloween

Hello Linguist Listers,

As Halloween approaches, LINGUIST List is pleased to announce a special conference* that would not be possible at other times of the year.

Conference Title: Special Conference on Historical Linguistics and Philology: resolving controversies once and for all

Dates: October 31, 2020, Midnight to 1 am

Venue: Steinau, Germany (hometown of the renowned philologists Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm)

Conference Description:

Due to the annual thinning of the veil between this world and the next, we will be able to hear from an exciting series of invited speakers that we would otherwise not be able to reach. These speakers will be able to shed new light on various controversies in historical linguistics and help us definitively expand our knowledge of proto languages and their development. Keynote Speakers include:

  • Serega, former native speaker of Proto-Indo-European
  • Mikko, former native speaker of Proto-Uralic
  • Parvati, former native speaker of Proto-Dravidian

The conference will be live-streamed, but due to the incorporeal nature of our invited speakers, only an audio portion will be available. For those of you attending in person, please bring your own Ouija board in order to participate in the Q & A session following each talk. In the interests of time, and because our speakers will not be familiar with modern alphabets, closed (yes/no) questions are encouraged.

*DISCLAIMER: This is not a real conference, but a bit of fun in the spirit of Halloween. Happy Halloween everyone! We hope you enjoy the holiday weekend safely.

Challenge Update: Week 7

Hello Linguist Listers!

Welcome to another round of our challenge updates!

We have moved from 24.22% of our total goal up to 36.11% since our last challenge update… A huge increase! We really appreciate all of you who donate year after year as we would not exist without your help. Now let’s take a look at the challenges.

In the Subfield Challenge, we have Syntax holding fast to their lead as usual. They have increased their already impressive contributions from $1,600 up to $1,930. Will they be the first to break the 2K barrier? In second place we have another switcheroo as Phonology has reclaimed the second place position from Sociolinguistics with $1787.32 donated. The lead is still narrow however, as Sociolinguistics is right behind them with $1710.00. The competition between these two fields has been intense for quite awhile. Stay tuned to see who pulls ahead.

In the University Challenge we have Indiana University, Bloomington taking a strong lead at $1,335.00. This is up from $435 in the last update. What an increase! In second place we have the University of South Carolina still holding the position with $915 donated and in third place, we have Stanford University with $625.00 donated.

For the Region Challenge we have North America holding its first place position with 109 donors. They are now he first region to break the 3-figure barrier. In second place we have Europe with 78 donors and in third place we have Asia with 12 donors.

This was major progress for our fund drive and we cannot thank all of you enough for your donations. Tune in next week for another challenge update and if you want to affect the outcome for your favorite challenge group, you can find our donation website here:

All the best,
– The LL Team

Status Update: Week 7!

Hello Linguist Listers,

We’ve managed to pass the 30% mark over the weekend and we’re making good progress towards the 35% mark. As of this post’s writing we are currently at 32.93% of our total goal! As always, our biggest thanks to all of you who have already contributed to the fund drive.

We need $829.09 to reach the 35% mark so please consider helping us to get to that next checkpoint. Also, remember that any donations you make can go towards helping your favorite group to win the donation challenges that we post weekly. See our latest post here:

If you are interested in contributing to the fund drive, you can do so by visiting our donation page here:

We hope you have a great start to your week.

All the best,
– The Linguist List Team

Fun Facts: Student Resources

Hello Linguist Listers,

Many people think of LINGUIST List primarily as a resource for professional academic linguists. While this demographic does make up a large portion of our subscribers, LINGUIST List is also dedicated to serving the needs of up-and-coming linguists.

Our student portal is specifically designed to aid students in their entry into the field. Prospective linguists will find information on the field as a whole, stories about how various linguists became involved in the field, and what types of work is currently going on in the field. Our recently developed Programs platform serves as a database for linguistics programs at universities around the world. Prospective students can search by geographical area, subdiscipline, and type of program. If your university’s program isn’t yet listed, we encourage you to add it here (

LINGUIST List also provides resources for those whose studies are already in progress. LINGUIST List helps publicize numerous conferences geared towards graduate and undergraduate linguists each year. Our Queries section connects student or postgraduate researchers with the larger linguistics community, oftentimes helping them find native speakers or data for ongoing research projects. Our ‘Ask a Linguist’ feature is also an invaluable resource for those who may be new to the field and unsure where to look for answers to questions of a linguistic nature. The student portal includes several writing resources, such as MLA/APA resources, information on language codes (MultiTree), and more. Graduates and postgraduates can also find information on funding opportunities in our Supports section. After completing their studies, LINGUIST List helps connect qualified linguists with employment in their field through our Jobs section, which just this year has advertised 343 jobs so far.

Those of you who have been keeping up with our Fund Drive posts thus far will know that LINGUIST List is staffed entirely by graduate students. Many of us would find it impossible to continue our studies without the funding from our jobs here at the List. Over its thirty-year history, over 200 graduate students have worked at the LINGUIST List as editors and programmers. That means that there are potentially up to 200 linguists working in the field today whose studies were directly supported by YOU, the subscribers of LINGUIST List!

We’re very proud that a large part of our work these past thirty years has been to help students as they enter the field of linguistics and provide resources and insight into our vibrant community of study. Since LINGUIST List is partly funded by donations, we want to thank those who have given throughout the years. You have enabled countless young linguists to find the resources and support they needed to pursue their work in the field. We hope to be around for (at least!) thirty more years, and to continue helping students on their way to becoming linguists, but we can’t do that without your help! If you are able, please consider donating to our Fund Drive here (

Thank you for your continued support!

Challenge Update: Week 6

Hello readers,

Here is our mid-week challenge update! Since the weekend update, we’ve reached 24.22%, thank you all!

Even though there hasn’t been an update since the weekend, Syntax is holding onto their lead position in the Subfield Challege with $1,600 in donations. Sociolinguistics is coming in strong in second place still with $1,100 in donations, and Language Acquisition with $843.99 wants to keep the third place spot they snagged from Phonology.

For the University Challenge, University of Southern Carolina is keen on keeping their first place spot in terms of most donations and most money donated. They have 11 donors totaling $915! Indiana University is still in second place but has moved up a bit with $435 and 5 donors. In third place we have the University of Surrey with 1 donor at $250. That’s a very generous donation!

In the region challenge, we have received a few donations from North America for the Region Challenge, which brings them to 78 donors. Europe has increased its numbers a bit and is still in second with 49 donors while Asia remains in third place with an increase to 11 donors (up from 10 last week).

There wasn’t much to update in terms of challenges this week, but we have received donations since our last update and every donation matters. We appreciate everyone’s help in this, any amount you can give helps LINGUIST List fund graduate students and also allows us to keep providing our readers with necessary resources. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.

The LL team