A Personal Request to Linguists around the World

(A letter from one of our founding members)

Dear LINGUIST List Readers,

It is with sadness that I read that after six weeks LL currently still is far off from the target needed to maintain LL in the next year. And it is with sadness that I read only about 200 (!!!) out of ‘thousands of linguists’ decided to contribute to the fund-raising goal. It really is a sad state of affairs if people who actually benefit hugely by the information made available by LL do/did not consider making a very much needed contribution to maintaining one of the most important resources of our profession.

Without LL we as linguists would be lost. Where else will we find out about new publications (books, theses, etc) and planned conferences (a huge variety) internationally? You are quite right when you ask:

What would happen if LINGUIST List was not there tomorrow?
What would this mean for you and your colleagues, for your students?
What would this mean for the linguists in smaller institutions without big funding?
What would this mean for linguists in other countries?

As someone from far away (South Africa) I can confirm that the international part of my career of 42 years has been made possible by LL. LL enabled me to see which conferences I could attend (Europa, USA, Africa, Australasia, Asia, etc.), which conferences would suit my research better, who would attend these conferences (always a nice network opportunity), where I could apply for funding. Due to LL I could find out about important new publications in my fields of specialization. Therefore: without LL being a linguist in South Africa would have been a lot tougher then it already is due to the distance from other continents. As an example: because of LL I recently was able to virtually participate in a conference in Tbilisi, Georgia.

As I consider myself a ‘founding member’ of the LL (I had already started to use LL and its predecessor at the beginning – 1992 I think) I have the confidence to plead with linguists elsewhere in the world to consider making a contribution. If everyone of the “thousands of linguists” in the world (wherever they are) send the equivalent of $20-30 LL will have more than enough for the next year. And then everyone should make it an annual habit to contribute.

I especially want to urge linguists from Africa to wake up and contribute to an absolute worthy cause (it is very easy to do it by means of a credit card). In my own case I contributed $100 – which in SA rand is a lot of money due to the exchange rate. But I believe I have a professional obligation to keep the LL going as I personally benefited a lot from LL throughout my career. And because of me, many linguists in SA also benefited since I regularly forwarded relevant information to them.

Nowadays I am retired but I still check the mail from LL every day – and then I forward applicable information to younger linguists in my country. And I regularly see applicable publications which must be ordered and read, like recently with Normativity in Language and Linguistics (see https://benjamins.com/catalog/slcs.209#).

Therefore, to all linguists: Help LL to continue their mission (on our behalf!), i.e. ‘to connect linguists from different universities all over the world, different countries and different frameworks. Help them to continue telling us about the conferences we organize, the books we wrote (or are considering writing), new books in our fields, the vacancies we want to fill, the funding opportunities for students, the grants we can apply for, the ideas we want to share’.


Kind regards from South Africa

Prof Wannie Carstens
Nowadays extra-ordinary professor in Afrikaans linguistics
North-West University
Potchefstroom South Africa


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