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

Fun Facts: Linguist or Polyglot?

Hello all,

It’s time for our next Linguist List fun fact! As linguists, we’ve all had the conversation at some point that goes, roughly, “Oh, you’re a linguist? How many languages do you speak?” followed by a hasty explanation of what linguistics actually is and how it is not about learning languages. It certainly doesn’t help that many linguists also happen to be polyglots. This is the case for all of us here at the Linguist List, so for our fun fact this week we’d like to tell you a bit about the languages we speak here, besides the obvious English.

In no particular order, Becca (Jobs) speaks French and Swedish. Nils (Web Development) speaks German and a little bit of Danish. Sarah (Journals and TOCs) really loves Germanic, and knows German, some Icelandic, Old Norse, and various other dead germanic languages. Everett (Conferences and Miscellaneous) knows Spanish, Japanese, and a little German. Jeremy (Books) knows Swahili, Hadza, Nigerian Pidgin, Welsh, German, and Arabic. He’s also teaching his adorable son some Swahili. Gosia (Moderator) knows Russian, Croatian, Polish, and Serbian. Peace (System Administrator) knows Korean. And Yiwen (Web Development, Supports, and Internships) knows Mandarin, Cantonese, German, and some French.

Even though learning languages isn’t what linguistics is about, they’re still pretty neat, so we do it anyway. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a broader knowledge of languages.

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading. 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.

Featured Linguist: Sonja Lanehart

Sonja L. Lanehart, Ph.D.
Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities

When I was a teenager, I asked members of my family at a gathering, “Why do Black people use be so much?” Because many people in my family and people important to me struggled with literacy, my mission was to go to college and graduate school and earn a Ph.D. where most of my family did not make it past high school. Without anyone to tell me African American Language (AAL) was a valid language variety, I originally set out to study Speech Pathology as an undergrad at the University of Texas to “fix” African Americans.

During my time as a student in Austin, I was exposed to James Sledd’s “Bi-dialectalism: The Linguistics of White Supremacy” (1972) and “Doublespeak: Dialectology in the Service of Big Brother” (1984). Sledd, as a southern White male, spoke about language and identity rights for African Americans (and southerners) in a way they could not (Freed 1995) because, as is still the case, African Americans were seen as too close to the situation. I have always found it troubling/problematic/ironic that, with the inclusion of African Americans and other people of color into the academy, or “the Ivory Tower,” we have often been discouraged from studying our own people because we are accused of being too close to the situation and therefore unable to be objective, whereas Whites have freely studied everyone for centuries and seemingly without reproach or prejudice or subjectivities in the eyes of the research community or the ever-nebulous “they.” As James Sledd noted forty years ago, even “compassionate, liberal educators, knowing the ways of society (i.e., the narrative society has constructed about blackness/Blackness), will change the color of a student’s vowels because they cannot change the color of their students’ skins” (1972, 325). Similarly, James Baldwin, in response to the 1979 case Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School v. Ann Arbor School District—the very Ann Arbor I happened to spend my graduate and Ph.D. years at the University of Michigan—wrote:

“The brutal truth is that the bulk of White people in America never had any interest in educating Black people, except as this could serve White purposes. It is not the Black child’s language that is despised. It is his experience. A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled. A child cannot be taught by anyone whose demand, essentially, is that the child repudiate his experience, and all that gives him sustenance, and enter a limbo in which he will no longer be Black, and in which he knows he can never become White. Black people have lost too many Black children that way.” (1979, 19E; emphasis added).

Having meditated on both Sledd’s and Baldwin’s words during my college exposure to linguistics, I remained a lifelong learner of language variation because I come from a community whose language is not valued. Instead of trying to “fix” the language of my people (where there are no problems to begin with), I, a Black woman, was not discouraged from studying my own people because I vowed to use my education to remedy the linguistic prejudices people hold against AAL and its speakers. I know these negative beliefs about AAL persist. I see them in my classes when African American students, usually while using AAL, reject there is such a thing as AAL or that they themselves speak it. I hear this attitude reflected when I interview Black adults, college students, and teenagers about their perceptions of language. I cringe at both Black and non-Black employers who say they will not hire someone who pronounces ask as “aks” (a common pronunciation in AAL) or uses “double negatives” (multiple negation) because it represents faulty thinking (as if language were math) or who pronounces four as “foe” (again, common in AAL) or who just plain does not use “good” English (i.e., “bad” English is a synonym for AAL). I hurt listening to people denigrate Rachel Jeantel for her speech during her testimony as a witness to the murder pf her best friend.

Sista, Speak!
Black Women Kinfolk Talk about Language and Literacy
By Sonja L. Lanehart

I have based my work in Critical Sociolinguistics since the murder of Trayvon Martin, the devastating trial of his murderer, the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the massacre of “The Charleston Nine,” and the murder of my distant maternal relative, Sandra Bland, and too many other Black women and men, girls and boys, across the United States. I focused my vocation on asking questions needing answers and investigating gaps in the literature regarding language use and identity in African American communities because I am part of those communities. It is business and it is personal.

As sociolinguists, we have a responsibility to the communities we study in addition to ourselves. As a Black sociolinguist studying Black communities, it is incumbent upon me – and all scholars – to use scholarship both within and outside the academy for the benefit of humanity and society. This is why I do what I do.

 

 

 

 


Thanks for reading this Featured Story by Sonja Lanehart. While you’re here, please consider donating to the LINGUIST List; only a small portion of our funds come from our host university, and we depend on our donors to keep our services available to linguists all over the world.

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

Challenges Update!

Hello all, welcome to another Challenges Update!

It looks like Syntax is still in the lead with $2050! They are followed pretty closely by Semantics with $1894, and in third we still have Sociolinguistics with $1365.

These three subfields seem to have solidified their places in this Fund Drive’s Challenges, will there be some changes before it’s over?

The top three for universities are as follows: Stanford is still in the lead with $1230.00 (12 donors), followed by University of South Carolina with $885.00 (13 donors), and Southern Illinois University Carbondale with $500.00 (1 donor).

It looks like Stanford would like to win this year over University of Washington!

North America is first place for regions with 118 donors. Europe takes second place with 90 donors, and is followed by Asia with 14 donors.

With 109 donors, USA takes first place for the countries challenge. Germany comes in second with 22 donors, and Spain takes third with 12 donors!

Thank you all again for your continuous support! Please check the Fund Drive page for more updates and to donate!

Sincerely,
The LL Team

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

Old Musical, Old Language, New Experience

Hello LINGUIST Listers,

On the topic of language maintenance and revitalization efforts that we have been discussing during our 2019 LINGUIST List Fund Drive, let’s look at an exciting development in the world of musical theater.

The critically-acclaimed Broadway classic “Fiddler on the Roof” premiered off-Broadway entirely in the Yiddish language for the first time earlier this year. This newly re-imagined version of the musical pays greater homage to its roots; the original musical was based on Yiddish novels written by Sholem Aleichem around the turn of the twentieth century. Theater-goers reported an exciting authenticity watching the production in the language that Tevye and his village-mates would have been speaking in the early 1900s.

The Yiddish language has undergone seriously decline in recent decades but the creators of the new version hope that having such an iconic musical entirely in Yiddish will encourage an improved image for the language. Much of the Yiddish-speaking population now resides in the New York City area. With the production of “Fiddler of the Roof” happening nearby, it is hoped that increased exposure will strengthen the language’s vitality in the region and encourage the rising generation to respect their heritage.

Whether this will be the case will have to be seen but overall it is an enthralling project for Yiddish-speakers, “Fiddler” fans, and proponents of minority languages everywhere.

*******
Fund Drive 2019 is among us! To donate please visit this link: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

Please be sure to check out our new and revamped site at: https://new.linguistlist.org/ and let us know if you have concerns or recommendations. Please note that it is still a work in progress. Thank you!
*******

Cryptogram Winners! There’s still a few more prizes…

Dear LINGUIST List readers and supporters,

Yesterday, we posted a puzzle for you to solve with the promise of prizes, and you answered the call! We already have winners who have claimed the SpecGram copies and the magnets, and we now have only 7 post cards to give out. The puzzle is below again if you want to solve it for a sweet Speculative Grammarian post card! We’re so grateful to Trey Jones and the awesome editors at SpecGram for sharing their sweet loot (and cool puzzles) with us.

it’s e’s-y!

If you are interested in claiming one of the remaining post cards, write us an email with the answer and send it to:

funddrive[at]linguistlist.org

srobinson[at]linguistlist.org

everett[at]linguistlist.org

 

Congratulations to Jonas, Magdalena, Jessie, Anda, Julia, Brandon, Jing, Angie, Maša, Marcin, Kamil, and Krzysztof! Thank you for playing!

If you haven’t donated to the LINGUIST List yet, what are you waiting for? LL relies on you–our readers and supporters–to keep our services available to linguists all over the world. Click here to donate, ad remember to check the instructions above, how you choose to fill out the form may affect whether we can document your linguistic subfield or university, should you want your donation to be reflected in the weekly challenges updates!

Thanks again for your support over the last 29 years. We truly appreciate our supporters, and we truly appreciate the awesome guys at Speculative Grammarian!

Best regards,

The LL Team

Cryptogram Winners Already!

Wow, our readers are quick draws! It looks like we already have two winners who have claimed the two SpecGram copies. Congratulations to Magdalena and Jonas!

Additionally, two more people have answered and will receive magnets for their quick participation. Congratulations Anda and Jessie!

it’s e’s-y!

We still have more magnets and post-cards, so if you want to write in an answer to the puzzle, send us an email at:

funddrive[at]linguistlist.org

srobinson[at]linguistlist.org

everett[at]linguistlist.org

 

And thank you for playing!

If you haven’t donated to the LINGUIST List yet, what are you waiting for? LL relies on you–our readers and supporters–to keep our services available to linguists all over the world. Click here to donate, ad remember to check the instructions above, how you choose to fill out the form may affect whether we can document your linguistic subfield or university, should you want your donation to be reflected in the weekly challenges updates!

Thanks again for your support over the last 29 years. We truly appreciate our supporters, and we truly appreciate the awesome guys at Speculative Grammarian!

Best regards,

The LL Team