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=https://askaling.linguistlist.org/question/1844/what-are-the-defining-qualities-of-a-language/>this question about what language is</a> and <a href=https://askaling.linguistlist.org/question/1797/the-origin-of-affixes/>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=https://askaling.linguistlist.org/account/signup/?login_provider=local>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=https://funddrive.linguistlist.org>LINGUIST List funddrive</a>.

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

Fund Drive Challenges: Where does your University Stand?

Dear Linguists and Subscribers:

It’s time for the regular challenges update!

In the Subfield Challange:
Syntax has cut itself a pretty wide lead with a total of $2485!
Computational Linguistics comes in second for now, with $2095.
Sociolinguistics brings up the third with $1660.
(And on a side note–Historical Linguistics is finally catching up with Semantics for 4th place. Hello my fellow historical linguists!)

In the University Challenge:
University of Washington has again surpassed Stanford University! With a total of $1665 from 27 donors, Washington is aiming to beat Stanford.
Stanford University is in second place with $1370 from 20 donors.
And in third place, our own host institution, Indiana University! $1340 from 11 donors places IU in the running!

In the Region Challenge:
North American leads with 159 donors!
Europe remains in second with 63 donors, but seems to be steadily catching up.
Asia is in third with 12 donors.

In the Country Challenge:
The US remains in the front–for now!–with 147 donors.
Germany remains in second with 21 donors.
And Canada has outstripped Austria at last with a total of 12 donors! Go Canada!

LINGUIST List has just passed 37% of our Fund Drive goal, thanks to all of you. We still have a ways to go, but we have made really good progress this last week. We appreciate you!
–The LL Team

Fun Fact: Website Edition

Hey everyone,

Ken here with another fun fact for all of you. I imagine you’re acquainted with our website (https://linguistlist.org). 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.

Fund Drive goal update: 20%!

Dear Readers,

We’re writing to thank you for your generosity so far in our Fund Drive: we have passed 20% of our goal! We have received donations from over 150 users, 77 universities, 30 countries, and linguists in a wide variety of subfields (currently led by Computational Linguistics, Sociolinguistics and Syntax)!

We are passionate about our role in the world-wide linguistics community, a role that we have played for 28 years. We now have 30 000+ users who range from fledgling linguistics students to distinguished, life-long contributors to the field, and we are proud to provide services that meet various needs for users all along that spectrum. Whether it’s a new job, a promising conference call, or a particularly interesting new book, we want to be the place you find it.

But to achieve that end, we need your help. Although we never charge our readers for the information we provide, our operation isn’t free. We rely on the generosity of our users to fund Graduate Assistants, programmers, summer interns, IT infrastructure, and so on. Without your donations, the LINGUIST List would simply not be possible.

If just 1 in 10 users would donate $10, we would reach our goal and end the Fund Drive TODAY. We could get back to doing what we do best: serving linguists around the globe. So please, if you haven’t yet––please visit our Fund Drive homepage to learn more about us, and why we need your donation.

Gratefully yours,
The LINGUIST List Team

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 funddrive.linguistlist.org . Thank you!

Fund Drive Challenges Update

Welcome to another week of the LINGUIST List Fund Drive Challenge!

In the Subfield Challenge:
Computation linguistics remains in the lead with $1390!
In second place, Syntax follows closely with $1050.
Semantics comes in third with $865.
The Subfield Challenge is neck-and-neck all down the ranking, by the way–Historical Linguistics can displace Applied Linguistics with only $52, and Phonetics is only $15 behind Psycholinguistics! Check out the complete list below.
View Full Ranking

In the University Challenge:
Stanford University leads–for the time being–with $1350 from a total of 16 donors!
Washington University proudly encroaches with $1085 from 9 donors.
Arizona State University with $500 from only 1 donor!
This challenge is also close, with fourth and fifth place hotly contested–Temple University remains in fourth with $300, and fifth goes to University of California, Santa Barbara–but University of Oslo and The Ohio State University are tied and only $25 behind UC Santa Barbara! Take a look at the full ranking to see where your university stands.
View Full Ranking

Region Challenge:
North American maintains a strong lead with 69 donors–but don’t get too comfortable with that lead!
Europe comes in second with 35 donors.
Asia is in third with 7 donors.
We’re so grateful for our donors from all over the world!
View Full Ranking

Country Challenge:
The US remains in the lead–for now!–with 66 American donors.
Germany is in second with 11 donors.
Austria comes up third with 5 donors.
View Full Ranking

As always, we are grateful to our supporters and followers for everything they have done to support us. Thanks for being there with us for the last 28 years!
–The LL Team

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 geoling.linguistlist.org .

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 funddrive.linguistlist.org.

Thank you

LINGUIST List’s 2018 Fund Drive is officially open!

Dear Linguists,

The world seems to be  changing at a dramatic pace, perhaps faster than ever before. It is not only about the technology, though to a large extent the changes are technology-driven. AI is invading not only research labs, but our daily life and linguists are now in the forefront of the technological revolution with respect to the way how people interact with computers and machines. Facebook and other social media platforms have changed the way information is disseminated and how we validate the significance of what we find out. The use of social media has changed the way we think and what we consider important. The internet has re-defined our access to knowledge, not without impact on higher education and academic life.  The discipline of linguistics has expanded as well.  There are virtually thousands of us, linguists, world-wide – separated by geography, frameworks, politics – but for almost 30 years, the linguistics community has been connected through LINGUIST List.

The mission of the LINGUIST List as a platform that connects linguists globally is simply unique. Last year we published over 2000 announcements about conferences on six continents, we informed you about over 100 summer schools and advertised close to 1000 books in linguistics. We cut across disciplines. We are a professional linguistic organization with a global outreach that is not topic or language-area oriented. We provide verified information, not fake news. We accompany linguists in their professional journey and –  as the discipline and the world around us are changing – we ourselves evolve. In the last couple of years we have expanded on social media and added new services. GeoLing (https://geoling.linguistlist.org/), for example, is meant to focus on events which are relevant locally and to target primarily local communities. We are working to improve search and customize our readers’ experience by tailoring the contents we offer to our readers’ interests.  You can subscribe to the most recent announcements on LINGUIST List using your Alexa App, and you can select any combination of the specific posting areas. Finally, we are also ready to roll out our new website https://new.linguistlist.org/, which is – we hope – visually more appealing, easier to navigate, and dynamically features  the most important and current contents for your easy access.

If you want to support this global community of linguists, please consider donating to the LINGUIST List. We want to continue serving you the best we can but for that – we need your support. Please donate now; any amount is welcome.


Faithfully yours,

The LINGUIST List Team

Malgosia, Damir, Clare, Ken, Sara, Yiwen, Mike, Peace, Page, Helen, Robert

To thank you for your support: spread the word and win a prize!

Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,

Yesterday, we did not send out any emails but one: a call for support. As usual, our readers were prompt to rise up to the occasion: in one day, we raised $1419.5 from 33 different donors! We knew we could count on you!

We are now only steps away from reaching our advisor’s challenge: if we receive $1453.97 more, our advisors will collectively donate $4,575! We believe that together, we can reach that goal by the end of this week! Also, until we reach our advisor’s challenge, we are keeping the University/Subfield/Countries/Region Challenges running! So when you donate to meet our advisor’s challenge, you can also support your team! The current leaders are: University of Washington/Syntax/USA/North America – but will they be the winners in the end?

Since we realize you’ve already been very supportive, we’d like to thank you and encourage you to spread the word around you, with a special reward. In fact, we’d like to give away this book, generously donated by our supporting publisher John Benjamins: The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology, by Stefan Dollinger! https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/impact.40/main

If you would like to win this book, all you have to do is write on Twitter or Facebook: “#whyIlovetheLINGUISTlist” followed by a message of support: what is it about the LINGUIST List that you like? How have we helped you in your career? or: Why did you choose to donate? One of you will be drawn to win this special prize!

Thank you for your support,


— the LINGUIST List

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 funddrive.linguistlist.org.