Crew Letters

Staff Letter: Everett Green

Hello Linguist Listers,

I hope my message finds all of you well. This is Everett Green checking in. I’m the calls and conferences editor for the LINGUIST List. If you have sent a conference call, program or announcement through our website, it was almost certainly posted by me. I’m also responsible for editing submissions to FYI’s, Media, Software, Discussions, Queries and Summaries. This may seem like a disproportionate amount of work but these areas don’t receive quite as many submissions as Calls & Conferences, hence my being responsible for all of them at once. I have had very pleasant interactions with many of you in emails and I always enjoy helping top-notch researchers like yourselves in getting the word out about your conferences, calls for papers and other important pieces of information.

At the office.

Working on conferences gives me a very interesting snapshot of the kinds of work that people are doing within linguistic sub-fields and in interdisciplinary spaces. I must say that the sheer breadth and scope of the work being done is quite vast. So vast in fact, that a person could easily dedicate their life to studying the topics and questions addressed at a single, very specialized conference, not to mention any of the more broadly focused conferences which can cover countless numbers of topics. This bird’s eye view of the field of linguistics is an unofficial perk of the job since it has very much assisted me in deciding which area of research I would like to contribute to. Though I have not fully committed to a particular subject of study (there are so many interesting fields!), I have been able to narrow my preferences down in very meaningful ways thanks to my job here at the LINGUIST List.

Outside of the LINGUIST List, I am a dual PhD student in Computational Linguistics and Cognitive Science. I have currently been studying how artificial neural networks can be used for better natural language processing and how we can apply that language processing to give our computers a superior understanding of natural languages. Ideally, in the future, we would be able to interact optimally with our computers(or robots) through natural language alone. This wouldn’t just make things more convenient for the average computer user but it would also increase accessibility for those who cannot currently use computers due to disabilities.

Hopefully I’ll have more time for these one day…

In terms of recreation, I have many interests though most have been shelved in the pursuit of higher goals. The interests that have managed to survive the culling are music and video games which fit together quite well since music is integral to video game development. The latter subject actually has minor applications for my research as well. Before attending graduate school, I had done some recreational video game design with my friends and gained some useful programming skills in the process. As duolingo has shown, gamification of language acquisition is quite popular among the general public and I believe that it is another tool that can be leveraged to help researchers collect data and publish more robust studies when utilized carefully.

I will have worked at the LINGUIST List for two years come May and I can easily say that it is one of the best jobs that I have ever worked in. None of it would be possible without the donations that all of you provide us with and I sincerely thank all of you for your continued support of our work. I only hope that I can repay the favor by contributing research that makes all of your lives healthier and happier. If you haven’t donated and you would like to, you can find our donation page here. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to read about me and I hope to keep assisting all of you in whatever way that I can here at the LINGUIST List.

元気で
Everett Green

An Upset in the Universities Challenge!

Dear LINGUIST List readers and supporters,

It’s time for your weekly challenges update! Syntax still leads in the subfields challenge, but there’s been an upheaval in the universities challenge! Can old competitors rise to the challenge?

Syntax defends its lead with $2050.00
Semantics comes in second with $1859.00
Sociolinguistics heads up third with $1195.00

…where are the P-Side subfields? Will they change the trend?

Stanford University takes an awesome lead with $1205.00 (11 donors)
University of South Carolina heads up second place with $835.00 (12 donors)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale takes third with $500.00 (from 1 donor!)

And the leader is…?

The winner of the last two years, University of Washington, has yet to appear in the top three… will they allow Stanford to take the crown?

North America remains in the head with 105 donors
Europe comes second with 81 donors
Asia takes a solid third with 14 donors

United States of America (USA) remains in third with 97 donors
Germany in second boasts 19 donors
Spain comes third with 11 donors

Thanks for playing, and thank you SO much for your consistent support throughout the last (almost) three decades. The LINGUIST List relies heavily on donations in order to keep our services available to academic linguists all around the world. We love our supporters!

–The LL Team

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.

Staff Letter: Peace Han

Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,

peace_car_mirror

Looking forward to spring!

This is Peace Han, the systems administrator and one of the student programmers here at the LINGUIST List. I hope this message finds all of you well and ready to greet the spring! It’s still a little chilly here in Bloomington, Indiana, but the flower buds have finally begun to bloom and all of us at the LINGUIST List are eagerly awaiting warmer weather.

 

In case you couldn’t tell by the barrage of fund drive messages being sent your way, we are currently running our annual LINGUIST List Fund Drive! As my colleagues and fellow graduate assistants have mentioned before me, all of us are indebted to you, our readers, for this opportunity to participate in and serve the global linguistic community. The LINGUIST List has been for all of us a place for personal and academic growth, as it has been for numerous linguistics students before us over the past 29 years and counting.

Working as the system administrator and programmer for the LINGUIST List has given me some interesting insight into the development of code and coding styles over the years. Because much of the code running the current site was first written many years ago at the dawn of the internet era, and because the LINGUIST List has changed and adapted so much to incorporate new technologies, idiosyncrasies and outdated conventions sometimes still persist in the code. It is always an adventure trying to track down exactly why certain features were written in one way rather than another, and I am often reminded of linguistic fieldwork as I read, write and interpret the legacy of code inherited from student programmers  who worked on this website and its various features before me. Still, the natural language comments left in the code by my predecessors are much more helpful to me than code language, reminding me that we have a long way to go before computers and AI can catch up to natural human language. This is why I believe the work we linguists do is so valuable, and why I am honored to be able to contribute to this field through the LINGUIST List and through my studies.

guitar_shot

Programming, studying linguistics, and playing guitar as a side gig.

Outside of my job at the LINGUIST List, I am a student at Indiana University in the Computational Linguistics, joint BS/MS program, with a dual degree in Psychology. The Linguistics department at IU and the LINGUIST List both have been wonderful in supporting me throughout my academic career at IU, and I would not be able to complete the 5-year program without your support. I and all of my fellow student graduate assistants working at the LINGUIST List are grateful for the chance to support and give back to the linguistics community while also completing our studies.

So once again, thank you for your continued support of the LINGUIST List! If you think the LINGUIST List and the various services it offers are valuable, as all of us at LL do, or if you are a believer of free and open communication within the field of linguistics (or if you simply want to stop having to exit out of the fund drive page to reach our site), please donate here. We are all grateful for your support!

Best,

Peace Han

Systems Administrator | Programmer

The LINGUIST List

Saving Endangered Languages with Prescriptivism

Re-Printed from the Speculative Grammarian

Neil de Veratte
Director of Fieldwork Studies
Winter Academy of Language

All over the world, languages are being lost at an alarming rate. Field linguists do their best to preserve these languages, but find their speaker communities apathetic. “Why should I learn WotʃaKorlitt?” they ask, “It’s Spanish I need to get a job.” We need to look at successful languages, whose speakers are engaged with their language, to see what endangered languages can learn from them. When we do, we inevitably find that the most successful languages are those which possess a tradition of prescriptivist grammar. English has an army of armchair pedants who tell us all to never split an infinitive, that the passive should be avoided, and that prepositions must not be used to end a sentence with. French has the Academie Française to pronounce arbitrary bans on loanwords, and Spanish the Real Academia Española, which aims to ensure everybody talks like Cervantes. The Chinese are taught from an early age to regard all Sinitic languages as dialects of Mandarin.

…with prescriptivism?

All these languages were originally documented by their own speakers, who made up arbitrary rules to show off their own cleverness. The results are invigorating. Such rules are endlessly debated, denounced, defended and defied, and as a result, the speakers care about their language.

Contrast the situation with endangered languages. These are documented by outsiders, schooled in the descriptivist method, and content to simply record what they find. Their work may result in a Bible translation, but that is as close to arbitrary commandments as they’re likely to get.

A new approach is necessary. Fieldworkers should no longer passively describe a language. They must set out to create new rules for the language, so as to stimulate the debate that keeps a language alive. As such rules must be internally unmotivated, the researcher needs to think carefully about where to obtain them. A good strategy is to copy rules from a language that the speaker community considers prestigious, as English pedants do with Latin. In South America, Spanish or Portuguese would be the first choice, although it may be wise to base rules on the European form of the language rather than the local one. This approach has two advantagesthose who accept the new rule will see it as conferring the prestige of the dominant language on their own, whereas those who reject it will see the dominant language as tainted by association with the hated rule.

Other researchers may prefer to manufacture rules based on theoretical considerations. This raises the question of which framework to use for the purpose. On one level, it makes little difference, as they will all be equally incomprehensible to the speaker community, but I would recommend Metasyntactic Heuristics, since it is now understood only by two aging academics in remote English universities, and they haven’t spoken to each other for 25 years.

Our fieldworkers are now reporting back from the first trials of this method. We are still analysing their findings, but one has reported spectacular results from convincing an Amazonian tribe that they are not allowed to discuss abstract concepts.

 

—-

This article was originally printed in SpecGram Vol. CLXXII, No. 4

Thanks for reading this special LINGUIST List announcement of this important April 1st news article re-printed with permission from the Speculative Grammarian. Check out SpecGram at http://specgram.com/

In seriousness, the LINGUIST List devotes countless hours to helping out the global linguistics community by managing thousands of announcements for journals, tables of contents, new book publications, reviews, jobs, internships, calls for papers, and conferences. We are managed by a small group of graduate students who work hard to provide these services. We rely on your donations to keep ourselves afloat! At this time we are at only 17% of our goal. If you use the LINGUIST List’s numerous services, please consider donating!

Staff Letter: Becca Morris

Dear LINGUIST List readers,

Here I am showing off a new haircut.

My name is Becca Morris and I am the Managing Editor here at LINGUIST List (LL) and I am also responsible for Finances, posting jobs, and creating social media boosts. We may have met via email, or you may remember my staff letter from last year.

It has been almost a year since I started at LINGUIST List and it has truly been a wonderful experience and opportunity. I am now a second year PhD student in Computational Linguistics at Indiana University and I would not have been able to continue if I hadn’t gotten my graduate assistantship job at LL – I came to IU as an out-of-state unfunded MA student. By employing graduate students The LINGUIST List is providing us the means to contribute to our field in an impactful way, while at the same time they are helping us tremendously.

Since my staff letter last year, I have become a second year PhD student and I am now working on Universal Dependencies and Dependency Parsing for Hakha Chin (as mentioned in my blog post) at IU. I am also minoring in Informatics. I expect to finish my qualifying exams by the end of Fall 2019 and then become a candidate. In my spare time, which there is not a lot of as a graduate student, I am teaching myself Swedish and would like to work with this language in the future.

I also like to go to concerts in the small amount of spare time that I have. Coheed and Cambria is my favorite band and this was my ninth time seeing them live.

LINGUIST List has not only allowed me to excel academically but also personally. This past year has been a rather transformative year for me and I don’t think I would have been able to do it had it not been for LL supporting me. I was able to find myself, personally and academically, this year and I will forever be grateful to The LINGUIST List for helping me along this journey.

Working at LL has taught me many things, for example, how to make valuable connections with notable people in our field and how to become better at time management and these are valuable skills that I will use throughout my career. This job also allows the editors and programmers to see what is going on in our field and provides us the opportunity to contribute to academia in a meaningful way.

LINGUIST List provides our field with vital resources and we couldn’t do it without your support. When you support The LINGUIST List you are not just supporting the editors and the programmers but also the linguistics community as a whole. Next year LL will turn 30 and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

 

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

Tack så mycket!

Sincerely,
Becca Morris
Managing Editor
Jobs Editor
Finances

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.

Featured Linguist: Jason Rothman

We are pleased to feature this week’s linguist, Professor Jason Rothman! Read his linguistics journey below!

Like many linguists (certainly like many of us at LL) Rothman was passionate about language long before he knew what “linguistics” really entails

I have always loved language.  I wanted to be a linguist before I really knew what linguistics was. Like many, I originally thought that being a linguist meant a perpetual life of learning language after language.  So dedicated was I to that romantic notion as a teenager that I forged parental consent at the age of 17 to get a tattoo on my inner right ankle. Supposedly it said “linguistics” in Mandarin characters. I have since found out that what is actually there is, well, close enough!  It is a good thing that becoming a linguist has worked out, since tattoos are permanent. In many ways, I was utterly naïve about what a linguist studies. Of course, there are many types of linguists and many complimentary questions related to language worthy of scientific investigation. But, in hindsight, I was not really aware then of even the essential elements that transcend paradigms and, we would agree (I hope) make us linguists.   I suppose the path that brought me in my youth to dedicate myself to linguistics is not terribly different from many: a deep fascination with language coupled with a nerdy desire to understand the dynamic, essential characteristic of this mundane property that defines us as humans, yet is mostly taken for granted.

My real linguistic journey began in earnest in my late teens, when I moved from a suburb of New York City to the remote lands of farm-country New York state.  5 hours from my people-packed home environment, in what appeared to me to be the middle of nowhere, stood a shining and ‘gorges’ beacon of scholarship and architectural beauty (Ithaca is famous for its gorges and, thus, the saying Ithaca is gorges instead of gorgeous).  My first proper linguistics course was, Introduction to Linguistics taught by Professor Wayne Harbert.  He was so passionate and such a good teacher, but it is, nevertheless, fair to say that my romantic notion of what linguistics is was shattered.  It was hard. It was serious. It was a science! I began to think that maybe this tattoo was going to need a cover-up. I am not sure that laser technology to remove tattoos existed in the mid 1990s, so I was even more determined to keep at it.  After the initial shocks of phonetics and phonology—the first part of the course as I recall—my introduction to syntax assured me I was on the right path. I stopped designing the cover-up tattoo somewhere around Halloween of that first semester.  At Cornell, I was able to study linguistics but also Romance languages in all their glory. While I had wonderful professors in cultural studies and literature as well, these courses further hammered home that my love of language would best be served with a linguistic perspective.

In 1999, I moved to Los Angeles to start a MA/PHD at UCLA.  During the MA portion, I studied most closely with the late Professor Claudia Parodi and Prof. Carlos Quicoli. Although we were focused on Romance languages, particularly Spanish and Portuguese, we were taught to use them as tools to understand language in general.  Accurate description of these languages was important, but not enough. Somewhat differently from my undergraduate degree training, sophisticated description was not the end goal. Professors Parodi and Quicoli taught me what I know of formal syntactic theory and in doing so they instilled in me the importance of approaching language in a truly scientific manner.  Today I would describe myself as a formal psycholinguist passionately interested in, if not obsessed with, how the mind represents and processes language(s). But at this time, I had not yet discovered the full joys of language acquisition and processing. The formative years of my MA studies, however, paved the way. I recall thinking: How could these complex systems possibly come to be acquired?  If language was as complex as I was studying, how does the child get (much of) this in her head even before she fully develops domain-general cognition and is able to do other demanding cognitive tasks like math? How do bilingual children do this for multiple languages? How do adults do this and why—at what levels—are they different in acquiring these systems?

Professor Nina Hyams

In 2001, I took my first bona-fide course on general acquisition theory with Professor Nina Hyams. I could not have imagined then how a single course would change the path of my career trajectory and thinking.  I found it. I loved syntactic theory. I was seemingly good at it. However, it was not completely satisfying for me devoid of experimentation probing the development of these complex systems. At the time, experimental syntax as we know it in recent years largely did not exist.  I had been working on null arguments in Spanish and Portuguese at the time. I recall learning in Nina’s class about the well-known Delay in Principle B effect in child language—when children of certain languages until late (age 5 or so) can violate Principle B of the Binding Theory.  At the time, one proposal regarding why this is seen in some languages and not others related to whether the language syntactically licensed null arguments (subjects). It was fascinating.  I was hooked. I wrote my first paper related to how studying Brazilian Portuguese, a language believed to be in a diachronic shift from a null subject to a non-null subject language, children could help adjudicate between theoretical proposals. I found a way to combine my love for language in general and my skills in and penchant for the precision of formal linguistic theory to a domain where theories can be tested directly.  I never looked back.

The next year, also in a course Nina teaches on bilingualism and second language acquisition, I was first introduced to two other amazing role models that would forever change my thinking.  By this time, I had already decided that I would do my PhD work in acquisition but I was still unsure in what populations. Nina is not a specialist in bilingualism. And so, although skype did not exist at the time, she supplemented this course with lectures via video-conferencing and/or live performances. One such lecture was by Professor Bonnie Schwartz who talked to us about her then new model related to child L2 acquisition.  Another was by Professor Maria (Masha) Polinsky on heritage language bilingualism. Both are now dear friends and colleagues. I am not sure they will even recall the questions I asked in those lectures, having given that specific lecture or, if so, that I was even there, but their talks left such an impression on me. By the end of this term, I knew that I would work on bilingualism. That was not necessarily a wise idea or an easy path because UCLA does not have an emphasis on this, at least from a formal linguistic perspective, but I was determined.  And Nina was very inspirational, motivating and supportive. Between her and Carlos Quicoli and very generous people in the field who helped along the way, I was able to put together a decent dissertation project and learn so much.

I was very fortunate to get a job immediately after graduating—this was 2005 when such things were more possible.  My first one was at the University of Iowa where, among many other great friends and colleagues, I was very fortunate to fall under the wing of a proverbial giant who seemed to believe in me more I did myself.  If you know me now, you might not believe it but I was then a (more) quiet person who was not so confident in his abilities. Professor Roumyana Slabakova was the most supportive mentor any new assistant professor could ask for.  She forced me, in ways she knows and for things she did consciously and in ways she does not know because it was simply her presence and her excellence, to believe in myself and that together we could train a proverbial army to ask and answer important questions.  Together we started the journal Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism (this year finishing its 10th year in production), built the first lab I (co)-directed and mentored many wonderful PhD students who are now leading changes in our field.  In 2010, I moved to the University of Florida where I was able to mentor another cohort of truly exceptional students and grow in my research base.  It was there that my bug for psycholinguistic methods first took hold, not the least due to my wonderful colleagues working with online measures. It was also there that my concern for incorporating input quality in formal linguistic theories related to the development and ultimate attainment of bilingualism, especially heritage language bilingualism, was solidified.

Professor Roumyana Slabakova, Rothman’s colleague and mentor at University of Iowa

In 2013, I took a full professorship in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, in the UK.  At the time, the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) was being formed and I was one of the new hires for the center. Reading has been very formative, not the least due to being in a Psychology department.  I made a conscious effort to learn about, expand into and invest in online processing methodologies and the connections between language and cognition (especially in bilingualism) more generally. I was able to found the University of Reading Psycho-and Neurolinguistics lab, co-directing it with Dr. Ian Cunnings. Using behavioral experimentation, eye-tracking, EEG/ERP and even (f)MRI we have been able to inject formal linguistic insights into studying how the mind and brain adapt to bilingualism as well as combine formal linguistic theory questions into modern psycholinguistics where this has been rarely done for heritage language bilingualism and adult additive multilingualism.

As I write this, I am in the process of moving full time to UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where since 2014 I have been in a 20% Adjunct Professor position in the Language Acquisition, Variation and Attrition (LAVA) research group and the NTNU/UiT joint Acquisition, Variation and Attrition (AcqVA) group.  At UiT, we will inaugurate the Pyscholinguistics of Language Representation (PoLaR) lab which will bring EEG/ERP to language research above the Arctic Circle. In September, I will begin a 4-year research project funded by the Tromsø Forskiningsstiftelse (TFS) entitled Heritage Language Proficiency in their Native Grammar (HeLPiNG).  This roughly 3-million-Euro grant will employ several post-doctoral scholars as well as fractional professorships through 2023. While I will miss my Reading family terribly, I am very excited to join full-time what is one of the best epicenters of linguistics anywhere in the world, not only the incredible cluster of linguists in LAVA and AcqVA but across several other world-leading research groups in various domains of linguistics housed at UiT, Center of Advanced Studies in Theoretical Linguistics (CASTL) and Cognitive Linguistics: Empirical Approaches Russian (CLEAR) .

As is likely true of most, many accidents, a lot of luck, passion and endurance has brought me to where I am today.  I have been fortunate to work with the most talented group of young scholars over the past 14 years. My students and postdocs have inspired and challenged me more than anyone else and remind me that while I am a professor, I am also a student at the same time.  This year marks 20 years since I began graduate school and while there have been many ups and downs, I feel privileged to have done so much more than I ever thought possible when I first moved to Los Angeles from Ithaca. So many people have supported me along the way, whatever I have accomplished is a testament to all that you have contributed.  You know who you are, so thank you. A quarter century has passed since I got that linguistics tattoo. While it’s a little faded on the surface its longevity and symbolism are real, inspiring and enduring.

Staff Letter: Sarah Robinson

Dear LINGUIST List readers,

My name is Sarah, and I’m on the Pubs Team–I manage journals, journal calls for papers, TOCs, summer schools, academic papers, and dissertations. We may have met through email, or you may have read some of my blog posts about nerd stuff on the LL blog. You may even recognize that introduction from my letter last year (sorry, I still have the same job.) I’m also cross-trained in jobs and conferences and can jump on those editorial areas if other editors are out for the day.

This is my (joyless as usual) face. Guest-starring: Lir the cat!

I’ve worked at the LINGUIST List (henceforth: LL) for a couple years now, and it’s been an awesome opportunity. LL has been instrumental to my academic career in the form of funding–I came to my graduate program unfunded and tripled my student debt in less than a year. I got a graduate assistantship from LL in my second year and it basically saved me from having to drop out because of sheer financial pressure. What I mean to say is that LL is providing opportunities to graduate students like me who might otherwise have no way to participate in academia, and has been doing so for years.

I earned my MA last year in General Linguistics from Indiana University, Bloomington, LL’s host institution, and am now a member of the PhD program in the Linguistics Department at IU, as well as doubling in the Germanic Studies Department. Since starting my graduate program, I’ve been able to study Old Norse, Icelandic, Old High German, Old English, German, Gothic, ancient Germanic literature and philology, (can you tell I have a bit of a thing for historical linguistics and dead Germanic languages?), as well as branching out into Cognitive Science, in particular the intersections between cognitive linguistics, discourse analysis, and sociolinguistics. It’s a pretty broad range of topics, but the overlaps in subjects have made it possible for me to specialize in a really particular niche as well as building a strong background in a range of linguistic studies.

It is pronounced /li:ɹ/. He enjoys sleeping in unusual places.

LL provides a specific and indispensable opportunity to its editors–since we interact with scholars all over the world in a huge range of specializations, and since our job involves functionally acting as a middle man for the fire-hose of academic literature and publications, we get a birds-eye-view of the trends in current linguistics in a wide range of specializations and subfields.

LL handles thousands of submissions and a gigantic amount of data day-to-day, and there’s only a handful of graduate students working diligently to keep our 30,000 subscribers up-to-date on linguistic publications, job opportunities, conferences where they can submit their research, and much more, as well as doing the hairy work of filtering predatory publishers and conferences that are likely to hurt academic careers more than help them. And it’s not just editors who work so hard to support the global linguistics community around here–keep an eye out for our WebDev team’s “fun facts” series on Tuesdays to learn more about all the services LL provides.

You might be wondering: “is she trying to solicit support for an awesome non-profit? Or just looking for an opportunity to show us her cat?” but he is a very good cat, okay? Please donate.

When you support the LINGUIST List, you support the mission the LINGUIST List stands for–the cause of creating a global linguistics community, a place to share knowledge and find resources–but you also support students like me, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to be part of it.

Thanks for donating!
Best regards,
Sarah

Fund Drive 2019

Dear Linguists,

A year has passed since the beginning of the last year fund drive and we ask you again: support the LINGUIST List. If we want to stay a relevant source of information, we need to keep re-inventing ourselves and invest in the re-development and update of the elements of the site and services that have served us for years. We strive to remain a source of relevant information for all of you and make your interaction with LINGUIST easy and pleasant. This year we have re-designed the submission forms and while we are still testing, we listen to your feedback and hope to have soon a simple and pretty interface. Apart from the back-end renovations, we have a new LINGUIST List web site – which contains all the same information but is easier to navigate and visually more pleasing. In the spirit of renovations and renewals, the theme of this year’s fund drive will be language documentation and revitalization. Please visit our site – to find out how to donate, to check how your university,
country or discipline ranks in the fund drive challenges, or to read thrilling stories about revitalization projects. Or go directly to the donation site (https://iufoundation.fundly.com/the-linguist-list-2019). Don’t forget to leave the name of your university and your discipline in the note field to participate in the fund drive challenges!

To stay on top of the game we need your feedback but also moral and financial support. Only part of our income comes from other sources – from the support of our hosting institution, Indiana University, and income from advertisements. Please, if you read LINGUIST List, donate. Even the smallest donations matter. We cannot continue without the support of our readers.

This year’s fund drive will be run via Indiana University Foundation. It is connected with the celebration of IUDay and will last till late April. In the 6 years since we have moved to Bloomington, we have become a part of Indiana University but our main goal is to contribute to a global community. We hope the community is there for us. Let’s make it a short fund drive. Please feel free to share broadly the link to our campaign. Support the LINGUIST List.

The LINGUIST List Team:
Malgosia, Helen, Jeremy, Becca, Everett, Nils, Peace, Sarah, Yiwen