Author: Nils Hjortnaes

The last 6 days of the Fund drive

Dear LINGUIST List readers and subscribers,

Our 2019 Fund Drive is coming to a close with only 6 days left, and we still have less than half of our goal. Without the support of our readers, there is a very real possibility that the LINGUIST List could die out. As many of you rely on our services to stay informed, this would be an unfortunate loss.

To those of you who have already donated, we are eternally grateful. Your support allows us to continue serving the linguistics community. We want to keep these services available to the global linguistics community, and we need your help sometimes to make it happen! If just one thirtieth of our subscribers donated the lowest possible amount allowed by the host institutions donation counter, we would reach our goal immediately.

Thanks for being with us all these almost three decades, and here’s to being here, serving linguists all over the world, for decades to come.

All the best,
-The LL Team

Fun Facts: Linguist or Polyglot?

Hello all,

It’s time for our next Linguist List fun fact! As linguists, we’ve all had the conversation at some point that goes, roughly, “Oh, you’re a linguist? How many languages do you speak?” followed by a hasty explanation of what linguistics actually is and how it is not about learning languages. It certainly doesn’t help that many linguists also happen to be polyglots. This is the case for all of us here at the Linguist List, so for our fun fact this week we’d like to tell you a bit about the languages we speak here, besides the obvious English.

In no particular order, Becca (Jobs) speaks French and Swedish. Nils (Web Development) speaks German and a little bit of Danish. Sarah (Journals and TOCs) really loves Germanic, and knows German, some Icelandic, Old Norse, and various other dead germanic languages. Everett (Conferences and Miscellaneous) knows Spanish, Japanese, and a little German. Jeremy (Books) knows Swahili, Hadza, Nigerian Pidgin, Welsh, German, and Arabic. He’s also teaching his adorable son some Swahili. Gosia (Moderator) knows Russian, Croatian, Polish, and Serbian. Peace (System Administrator) knows Korean. And Yiwen (Web Development, Supports, and Internships) knows Mandarin, Cantonese, German, and some French.

Even though learning languages isn’t what linguistics is about, they’re still pretty neat, so we do it anyway. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a broader knowledge of languages.

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading. If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book and job announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

LINGUIST List potrzebuje Waszego wsparcia

Kochani,

zwracam się do wszystkich miłośników języków i językoznawstwa. LINGUIST List potrzebuje Waszego wsparcia. Od prawie trzydziestu lat służymy dyscyplinie, staramy się łączyć, bezstronnie informować, zapewniać czytelnikom poczucie uczestnictwa w szerszej wspólnocie akademickiej, ponadnarodowej i interdyscyplinarnej. Przez lata pomogliśmy tysiącom ludzi znaleźć pracę, ogłosiliśmy tysiące konferencji, książek, artykułów, publikowaliśmy recenzje, opinie, dyskusje, około setki studentów ukończyło studia bez długów dzięki pracy w LINGUIST List.

Nasza działalność może się skończyć z dnia na dzień. Tylko mały ułamek naszego budżetu pochodzi ze środków uniwersytetu, który nas gości. Reszta to reklamy i wsparcie czytelników. Jeżeli nie będzie wsparcia czytelników, nie będzie dochodu z reklam i nie będzie wsparcia administracji naszego uniwersytetu. Rozumiem, że minimalna suma donacji – 10$ – nie jest małą sumą, ale zapraszam wszystkich, którzy mogą sobie na to pozwolić, żeby wsparli LINGUIST List. Jeśli 10$ to zbyt dużo, zawsze można złożyć się w kilka osób. Jeśli nie możecie wesprzeć nas finansowo, podajcie dalej informację o naszej akcji zbierania funduszy, To jest Wasz serwis, Wy z niego korzystacie i Wy tworzycie tę wspólnotę.

https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/
lub bezpośrednio:
https://iufoundation.fundly.com/the-linguist-list-2019

Pozdrawiam.

Malgosia Cavar
Moderatorka, LINGUIST List

Staff Letter: Nils Hjortnaes

Hello all,

This is my face

My name is Nils. You may recognize it from some of the fun facts or the Antarctica post, and while I enjoyed the latter in particular, my main role here at the LINGUIST List is to work on the new website. Because we are all grad students, it’s been a slower process than I’d like, but it’s coming along, and worth checking out! Go see for yourself and let us know what you think.

Besides working at the LINGUIST List, I am a PhD student at Indiana University, our host institution. My primary interest, in a very broad sense, is computational methods for under-resourced languages and language documentation. I’ve still got a lot of work and a long ways to go before I even think of defending, but it wouldn’t be possible at all without my job at the LINGUIST List.

Me pretending to be good at climbing

In terms of my life outside academia, my primary hobbies are rock climbing, fencing, and video games. They do a good job of keeping me sane while I work on projects and classes. I’ve also been playing violin for 18 years, though I don’t play as much as I’d like anymore, and I’m fluent in German thanks to attending an immersion elementary school. I took a class on Danish in college because that’s where my ancestors came from, but I admittedly don’t speak it very well.

As I mentioned, all of us here at LL are graduate students in Linguistics at Indiana University. By working here, we get our tuition paid as well as a small stipend, allowing us to contribute to the community directly while learning to contribute to the field academically. We are committed to keeping LL free, especially since a not insignificant portion of our readers are (we’re pretty sure) graduate students or recent graduates seeking jobs.

So when you support the LINGUIST List, you’re not just supporting a valuable resource for the Linguistics community, but several linguists in training. We’re still a long ways away from our funddrive goal for this year. To those of you who have already donated, we cannot thank you enough. We’ve survived for nearly 30 years thanks to the support of our large community. With your support, we can finish building a new, modern website and continue the bring you the valuable information and news of what’s new in the world of Linguistics.

Thank you again for all of your support, everyone here at LINGUIST List is forever grateful to all of you. If you would like to help us to continue providing resources to the linguistic community please visit our fund drive page and donate.

Thank you to the University of Antarctica

Hello all,

Several of the consultants assisting researchers

We here at the LINGUIST List would like to give a shout out to the University of Antarctica for their extremely generous donation of $20,000. As the #6 top university in Linguistics in the world, with the #4 best graduate Linguistics program, their work is invaluable to the community, especially their latest project documenting the indigenous languages of Antarctica.

With such a large area and the difficulty of travel across the continent, it is no surprise that there are diverse dialects throughout Antarctica. The goal of the U of A’s most recent project is to document the features of these various dialects and, eventually, to create a dialectal map of the entire continent. It is a bold undertaking, but certainly a valuable one for any future researchers interested in the indigenous Antarctic populations.

For example, on the northern side of the continent, it is common to include only one squawk between trills. In contrast, on the northern side of the continent, they tend to reduplicate the squawks between trills. These are both totally different than the northern side of the continent where they lengthen the vowel on the squawk, a very unique feature.

So thank you once again to the University of Antarctica, both for your valuable work and your generous donation to our Fund Drive.

A graduate student of Linguistics at U of A involved in the project

If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book and job announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

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

Fun Facts: FAQ Page

Hello all,

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for more fun facts! One of the jobs of our editors is to answer questions regarding your posts or our policies. I’ll be honest, we aren’t fans of reading through our policies either. They’re long and pretty dry, as policies often are. We also noticed that many of the questions you, our readers and submitters, have are very similar. In the spirit of our funddrive, and the theme of revitalization, we’ve created a new FAQ to make it much easier for you to find the information you’re looking for!

https://new.linguistlist.org/faq/

It’s one of the many features we’re working on adding to our new website. Speaking of which, watch for next week for more information and fun facts on our new, revitalized website!

Nils

If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book and job announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

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

The Importance of Tech in Language Revitalization

Hello all,

For our second fund drive blog post I wanted to continue talking about the impact and importance of technology in language revitalization. In our previous post, Becca talked about a specific project with Hakha Chin (Laiholh). Here, I want to generalize a little bit and talk about why I think projects like that are so important.

The most obvious place technology can help in language revitalization is teaching and data collection applications, such as Duolingo. If nothing else, apps like these open the door to multilingualism, especially in America where learning even a second language is not nearly as common as I think it should be. Common Voice is at the other side of that with data collection, and you can read about that more in Becca’s post if you’d like. But these aren’t really the kind of applications I’m talking about here, I want to go deeper and look at language technology.

One big example of what I’m thinking of, and a very important one, are speech to text and text to speech systems.

Amazon’s Alexa, a voice activated tool

This is the technology behind Siri, Google, Alexa, and Cortana. As a native English speaker, I am incredibly privileged to have some of the best language tech at my fingertips because so much work has been done on English already. And while there may still be a long ways to go before we have anything resembling a true Artificial Intelligence, it’s easy to gloss over how big a difference there still is between English and less resourced languages.

This also illustrates a theoretical situation which may contribute directly to the extinction of languages. Any time someone wants to use their phone or other voice activated device and it is not in their native language, they must switch to a language that is available. Any multilingual speaker can tell you that switching languages takes a lot of cognitive effort, as I will personally attest to. Our brains just don’t want to. How often do you use your phone? If you’re like me, or pretty much anyone else in my generation, the answer is a LOT. Too much, really. And incorporating language technology is only getting more and more prevalent. So if you’re a speaker of a language that isn’t available on your tech, at what point do you just stop speaking your native language and just switch to the more common one you’re pretty proficient at?

In the tech industry we make a big deal about “User Experience” and “Accessibility”, which are definitely a good thing, but carry a cost if any aspect is ignored. My point is this: it’s not enough to just teach a language and make language learning resources available. In order to truly revitalize a language, it needs to be available in all aspects of life, and the growing amount of technology used on a day to day basis is a critical point. The good news is that people are working on it. Under Resourced Languages are gaining popularity and even companies are recognizing this, see again Mozilla’s Common Voice. Machine learning methods are being worked on which aim to reduce the amount of data needed to make them effective, opening them up to these smaller languages.

If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book and job announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

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

Fun Fact 2: Virtual Contact Cards

Hello all,

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for our second fun fact! Have you ever wanted an excuse to visit somewhere but can’t justify it because academic life is hard? Conferences are the perfect excuse! Using LINGUIST List’s geoling, you can check out what conferences are nearby your dream travel destination and plan accordingly. Geoling also lists jobs and summer schools, so if you’re looking for a place to visit, or just want to see what’s out there, take a look!

A brand new feature we just added to geoling, thanks to our very own intern Julian Dietrich, is the ability to download contact cards, called vCards, from the huge selection of contacts available through us. By selecting contacts on the menu and then clicking on one of the pins, you can find the download vCard button on the bottom of the short description. This will allow you to automatically add that information to your list of contacts. And yes, it works on both Android and iPhone.

We hope you enjoy the new feature! And there are more coming soon. Talk to you next week for our next fun fact!

If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

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

Nils

Fun Fact: Our Editors

Hello all,

This is Nils, the web developer at the LINGUIST List, and I’ll be doing this year’s fun facts for our fund drive. I’d like to kick it off with some fun facts about our editors, the people who make sure that everything we post is formatted consistently and the content is relevant to you, our readers. Without our editors the list would get flooded with irrelevant, annoying ads and typos that sneak past our spam filters.

We all come from a wide range of places and backgrounds. To illustrate that, we’ve (almost) all written a bit on where we’re from, which you can find here. Finally, every one of the editors is also a graduate student of Linguistics at Indiana University and we all work part time in the office located just a block away from campus. This is why your donations are so important. They not only support a major source of news in Linguistics, but also a part of the next generation of linguists in their studies.

If you appreciate services provided by the LINGUIST List like book announcements, please consider donating to our annual fund drive campaign. We rely on your donations to continue operating and supporting our editors.

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

Submitting To The LINGUIST List Just Got Easier

Hello all!

After lots of hard work, we are thrilled to announce the beta release of our new submission form! For those who don’t know, we have been working on updating our entire website to make it cleaner, faster, and easier to navigate. You can see the site here: https://new.linguistlist.org/. As part of that process, we’ve created a brand new submission form that’s easier to use for you to submit your posts to the LINGUIST List. The form is designed to guide you through the submission process and make sure we have all the information we need to publish your post. So far, the following posting areas have been completed and tested:

Discussions, FYIs, Internships, Jobs, Media, Notices, Obituaries, Queries, Software, Summaries, and Supports.

If you would like to post to any of those areas, please give the new form a try! Conferences and Workshops are currently being tested and should be released soon. All other areas are under development, and will be tested before they are released to ensure they are fully functional, user-friendly, and secure.

The new form features collapsible cards instead of different pages for each section, making it much more intuitive and easier to follow. Instead of having to go between tabs, you can now open and close the cards as needed, all on one screen. In addition, all posting areas are now in one place, making navigation easier and forms for different areas much more consistent with each other. These improvements aren’t all. We have much more planned once the rest of the posting area forms are finished, so keep an eye out for future improvements.

You can find the new form here: https://new.linguistlist.org/submit/

Let us know what you think! Feedback can be sent to webdev[at]linguistlist.org

Thanks,

Your LINGUIST List team