Author: Kenneth Steimel

Fun Fact: Books Edition

Hey everyone,

Ken here with some fun facts for all of you. Well more precisely, some fun visualizations.

The LINGUIST List announces books on all manner of linguistic subjects. These are sent out over the listserv and featured on our website. Visit this site to see a word cloud generated from the titles of books submitted for each year. You can slide the slider to see what the word cloud for that year looks like. What sort of patterns do you see?

If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. The funddrive is still running but we’re quite close to our goal now.

If you’ve already donated or just donated, thank you, we appreciate it.

Fun Fact: Multitree edition

Hey everyone,

Ken here with another fun fact for our 2018 Fund Drive campaign. Did you know that LINGUIST List maintains a number of different projects in addition to our listserv, website and social media announcements? We host and maintain projects like Multitree, LL-Map and Qenaga. Today, I’m going to be talking about Multitree.


Multitree is a searchable database of proposed language family trees. Multitree was created by going through hundreds of books and recording the proposed genetic relationships in those books. When you search a language or language family, like Niger-Congo, you get an interactive map where you can expand nodes to dive further down a branch of the tree. You can also view a citation for where this tree was taken from.

Multitree is a valuable resource for linguists like you and a fun, interactive way to introduce students to language family trees. It facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration with linguists to reach more accurate conclusions about human language, culture, and history.


For more information on Multitree visit and for information on how to navigate Multitree and some of the advanced functionality visit

If you appreciate services like Multitree that we continue to maintain and support, please donate to our 2018 Funddrive campaign (

Fun Fact: Reviews Edition

Hey everyone,

Kenneth here to provide you with another fun fact about the services that the LINGUIST List provides. This time, I’m going to be talking about the Reviews area of the website and listserv.

Since 2007, we have had over 3,000 books reviewed by members of the Linguistics community. Over 200 were reviewed last year alone.

For reviews, we make connections between publishers and potential reviewers. Our reviews editor, Clare Harshey, orchestrates the reviews process making sure that reviewers get their materials and that the written reviews are edited.

Our review editors Dr. Helen Aristar-Dry and Dr. Robert Coté work hard to proofread and edit the reviews that are submitted. Both of these teams have a monumental task.


If you appreciate the services that the LINGUIST List provides, including reviews, please show your support with a donation on <a>the LINGUIST List fund drive page</a>.


We truly appreciate it!

Fun Fact: Ask-a-Linguist Edition

Hey everyone!
Ken here with another fun fact for you. Last week, I talked about the usage numbers for the website. This week, I’m going to talk a little bit about one of the services we offer on our website: Ask-a-Linguist.

This site is a QA board for non-linguists to ask questions from linguists like you. However, I find that many of the questions asked appear to be from linguists who are interested in something that’s not their area of research or linguistics students.

We’ve had 33 questions posted so far this year that touch on a variety of different disciplines and the majority of these questions have answers. Some even have multiple responses and comments.

I invite all of you to check it out. There’s some great questions like <a href=>this question about what language is</a> and <a href=>this question about how affixes emerge in languages</a> .

What do you think about these questions? If you think they’re interesting or if you have questions of your own, please create an account <a href=>here</a> .

All posts are moderated (by me) so only questions that are related to Linguistics or language are allowed and all spam is filtered out.

If you appreciate services like Ask-a-Linguist, please donate to the <a href=>LINGUIST List funddrive</a>.

We are half of the way to our goal and time is running out. Please donate.

Fun Fact: Website Edition

Hey everyone,

Ken here with another fun fact for all of you. I imagine you’re acquainted with our website ( Our featured staff this week, Paige Goulding has been hard at work getting our new website up and running. A large part of the challenge with this is that our website receives a large amount of traffic. Here are some figures to show the volume of visitors we receive:

For the main site there are nearly 600,000 page hits per day and nearly 20,000 unique visitors. Over the course of a week, we receive about 83,000 unique visitors.

As we design the new site, we want to ensure that we can improve load times as well as reducing the load on our current systems.

Now for the fun part.

Some of you are using some wild browsers. One of you is using version 0 of firefox (the latest release is version 59), there’s some netscapes and mosaics out there.
Someone (probably me) used the blackberry browser.

Our visitors represent almost every operating system from amiga to BeOS (unfortunately, there wasn’t one ending in z). 15% of our users are using Linux (woot!). Someone out there is visiting us using Windows XP… interesting stuff.

To help pay for this traffic and the content that drives this traffic, please donate to the linguist list on our fund drive page.

Fun Fact: Jobs Edition

The jobs area of the LINGUIST List is a place for companies and universities to post job announcements. This is one of the busiest areas of the listserv. Over 10,000 jobs have been submitted over the LINGUIST List to date. Clare is our primary editor tackling this task with support from Sarah. This week’s fun fact is going to shed a little light on the variety of submissions we receive.

As I’m sure you know, linguistics touches on a large number of other fields.
Linguists are doing linguistics in jobs all around the world, interacting with people working in other disciplines daily. This is apparent by the job submissions we receive.

The graph below shows the 32 top department names for job submissions along with how many jobs these departments submit to us. This was created by querying our database for the top 50 most common and then manually combining ones that were the same (e.g. Department of Linguistics and Linguistics Department were both changed into Linguistics).

That’s quite a spread in different areas you all are working in!

Maybe you’re someone who found a job by using the LINGUIST List or maybe you fund the right candidate because of posting with us. If you appreciate the work that we do to bring job postings to you, please consider donating at the funddrive page.

Fund Drive Fun Fact: Easy Abs

Hey everyone,

Kenneth here again with a Fun Fact for all of you. This week, we’re directing a lot of our content towards EasyAbs. EasyAbs is a free service we provide for conference organizers that helps make the process of receiving and reviewing abstracts, well…Easy!

We have a large number of testimonials coming out later in the week that we collected last year from happy conference organizers. I’m here to provide some numbers (and graphs) for you all.

Since 2008, we have had 1,259 conferences use this service. That’s not counting the meetings that were deleted by the organizers. Over 75,356 abstracts were submitted to these conferences!

We had 136 conferences with deadlines last year and 7,686 abstracts were submitted last year as well.

Something that I thought might be interesting to look at is the number of abstract submissions per conference. I’ve created the graph below to display this. The top graph indicates the number of abstract submissions we received during a year while the bottom graph indicates the number of meetings held during this same year. The middle graph displays the ratio of abstracts to meetings for a given year.

While last year saw less meetings than typical, this looks like it’s normal fluctuations from year to year. However, the number of abstract submissions appears to be dropping. At first glance, it looks like now is the time to submit an abstract! However, these stats are distorted somewhat by the distribution of abstracts among conferences.

Here’s a histogram showing the distribution of how many abstracts each conference received. As you can see, this looks somewhat Zipfian with very high outliers.

This is probably a case where it would be better to look at median instead of mean since the Zipfian distribution has very high outliers. These high outliers could severely affect the abstract submission count (e.g. if just one 1000 submission outlier was missing from a year, the ratio of abstracts to conferences would lower a lot). However, significance tests are a little too serious for Fun Facts don’t you think?

EasyAbs is important to a lot of people as the 1,259 conferences that used this service indicate. If you appreciate EasyAbs or any of the other services the LINGUIST List provides, please consider a contribution to our annual fund drive campaign. It’s going on now!

You can donate by visiting . Thank you!

Fun Fact: Calls & Conferences Edition

Hey everyone!

This is Kenneth with some fun facts about the LINGUIST List for you. As I wrote in my personal letter earlier this week, I edit the Calls & Conferences area of the listserv (in addition to a few others). This area of the listserv features conference submissions from around the world. You can see for yourself using the interactive map at .

Last year, we had over 2,000 unique conferences announced over the listserv. Each of these conferences gets edited by one of our editors. We try to make the conference announcements as clear as possible and correspond with the submitters if some things are not clear.

This is a super important area. Not only because this is what I do but because it provides such a huge collection of Linguistics conferences that you can search through, save, or forward to your peers.

As editor, I have a unique perspective. I’m stunned by how varied the field of Linguistics is.

That 2,000 conference figure mentioned above is actually the number of unique conference announcements. Each conference is allowed to post 3 calls for papers and a program announcement. Some conferences choose to simply announce a description of what the conference is geared towards. I’ve made a chart showing how the Calls & Conferences section has grown over the years.

9 years ago, the number of announcements was only two thirds of what it is now. Apparently 2015 was a bad year for the conference program. What do you make of this?

The LINGUIST List relies on donations from people like you to keep areas like Calls & Conferences going. Because of people like you, we can deliver this edited, moderated information.

If you appreciate the LINGUIST List as a source of events in the field or if you appreicate us in general, please donate at

Thank you

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

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

Thank you!