Fun Facts: A Fund Drive Retrospective

30 years ago…

Thirty years ago, Anthony Aristar and Helen Dry sent out the first issue of the LINGUIST List, reproduced below. Much has changed since this message went out. They spoke of a “linguists’s name server”, later realized as linguistlist.org, now one of the oldest continually running websites online. The early list served as a discussion forum and also welcomed announcements for jobs and conferences; now, the Linguist List is the premier site to list job searches, conferences, publications and other opportunities in all fields of linguistics.

But much has stayed the same. We remain “a forum for the discussion of those issues which interest professional linguists.” The list really did “acquire a life of its own”. Today, as before, the list is maintained by linguists for linguists. All linguist list administrators, editors and site developers are professors or graduate students in linguistics.  Our continued funding relies on the contributions from linguists like you, and we thank all of you for your decades of support.

Stay tuned to see more interesting issues from the LINGUIST List archive, and please visit funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate to help us reach our funding goals. In the wise words of our founder in 1990, “To this end, we earnestly ask you all to begin contributing, and aid therefore in the continuance of LINGUIST.”

Read our first issue here, or see it in full in our archives: https://linguistlist.org/issues/1/1-0/

Thursday, 13 Dec 1990
Anthony Aristar, University of Western Australia
ANNOUNCING THE FORMATION OF LINGUIST

We would like to thank all of you for replying to our request for support in setting up a linguists list. We received a far larger number of replies than we had expected, and, as a result of that considerable support, the powers-that-be have agreed to fund the list, which has been called “LINGUIST”. […]

All public messages received will be archived, and ultimately become available to subscribers through an archive server. We hope to add further services–e.g. a linguists’ name-server–as disk-space and time becomes available. […]

…the goals of the list: to provide a forum for the discussion of those issues which interest professional linguists. It is most emphatically our intent that the list not acquire an ideological or theoretical bent of any kind whatsoever. As of this moment, and by dint of historical accident (i.e. we volunteered), the two editors are:

Anthony Aristar: University of Western Australia
Helen Dry: University of Texas at San Antonio

Let us say in ending that making a list of this kind a success depends crucially on initiating an ongoing dialogue between participants. Once this dialogue has been properly begun, the list acquires a life of its own, and little further effort is required to maintain its existence. To this end, we earnestly ask you all to begin contributing, and aid therefore in the continuance of LINGUIST. Most particularly we ask you to begin the practice of directing all linguistically relevant public announcements to this list, and to ask your department to do so too. This list is the appropriate place for job and conference announcements as well as for ongoing discussions about the discipline.

– The Editors

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