Crew Letters

The Fund Drive is almost over: only three days left

Dear LINGUIST List readers and subscribers,

Our 2019 Fund Drive is almost over. Just three days left! and we still have less than half of our goal–just 46%.
We depend on the support of our readers to make our yearly operational costs. Without the support of our wonderful community of linguists all over the world, the LINGUIST List would disappear.
We know how many linguists the world over rely on this unique service to stay informed, and we love serving the global linguistics community–but we have to rely on donations to keep these doors open and these services free to users.

To those of you who have already donated, thank you! Your support means the world to us, and you keep us afloat.

If just one thirtieth of our subscribers donated the lowest possible amount allowed by our host institution’s website, we would reach our goal within the hour.

click here to donate: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

Thanks for being with us all these years; without you, there’s no us. So here’s to being here, serving linguists all over the world, for years to come.

All the best,
-The LL Team

Fund Drive: Five Days Remain

Dear LINGUIST List readers and subscribers,

Our 2019 Fund Drive is coming to a close with only 5 days remaining, and we still have less than half of our goal–just 43%. We depend on the support of our readers to keep our service available to linguists all over the world, but there is a very real possibility that the LINGUIST List could disappear. We don’t just run LL, we rely on it ourselves–to find journals, to stay informed and up to date on journals, conferences, and job opportunities around the world–and we know how many other rely on this resource as well.

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

click here to donate: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

Thanks for being with us all these years; without you, there’s no us. Here’s to being here, serving linguists all over the world, for years to come.

All the best,
-The LL Team

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

There’s only one week left…

Dear LINGUIST List readers and subscribers,

It looks like our 2019 Fund Drive is coming to a close, and we have less than half of our goal. As you know, we make up only part of our budget from our host institution, and we rely on the support of our users and donors to keep these services available. Some of you may have tried to post an announcement during one of our two “day without LINGUIST List” blackout days, and found the LL services unavailable. There’s a real danger that such an event could become permanent in the future, if we are unable to keep ourselves funded.

We greatly appreciate the support and donations of our loyal readership. You know 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 almonst three decades, and here’s to being here, serving linguists all over the world, for decades to come.

All the best,
-The LL Team

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: 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!