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.

#whyIlovethelinguistlist – Spread the Word!

 

Dear LINGUIST Listers,

Thank you to all those who have donated so far during our Fund Drive! We are happy to say we are almost to $30 000… a dollar for every one of our users!

However, donating isn’t the only way to support us! You can also help us by spreading the word on social media! Use the hashtag #whyIlovetheLINGUISTList to share with us and with your friends! We want to know about the time you found your first job through our Jobs board, the time you organized your conference with EasyAbs, the time you got feedback for your research through a Query post… whatever your success story, we would love to hear about it! We will share these stories on our pages on Facebook (linguistlist), Twitter (@linguistlist) and Google+ (+LINGUISTList)!

Post #whyIlovetheLINGUISTList today and help us get the word out about our Fund Drive! And if you haven’t yet, visit our Fund Drive homepage (http://funddrive.linguistlist.org) to read more about what we do and to donate today!

Gratefully yours,
The LINGUIST crew

Top 10 Non-USA Universities in Donations to the LINGUIST List

Dear Linguists of the world,

In our recent Challenge updates, we’ve focused on the top Universities to have collectively donated to the LINGUIST List. Most of these are in the USA. But in so doing we feel that we have left out a very important part of our donors, who deserve a special thanks. Today, we are publicly announcing our gratitude to the people who have collectively donated from their non-USA Universities to the LINGUIST List! Here is the current top 10.

A special acknowledgement goes out from us to our most generous University, North-West University, South Africa, who is the only represented Campus from Africa on our donation page as well as being the one with the highest donation outside of the USA (and in front of many USA universities, Number 6 overall)!

1) North-West University, Potchefstroom and Vaal Triangle campuses, South Africa
2) University of Toronto, Canada
3) Simon Fraser University, Canada
4) Carleton University, Canada
5) Universität Konstanz, Germany
6) Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
7) University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
8) University of Potsdam, Germany
9) University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain
10) Universität Innsbruck, Austria

Don’t forget that you can still add to these numbers, and to the other Universities, by donating on this page: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

Thank you to our very international donors! We are excited to see that our small office in Indiana reaches out the entire world. If you haven’t already, please consider joining this global project!

https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

— the LINGUIST List team

Try your wits with some SpecGram puzzles!

Have you tried your wits yet in our Puzzle of the week?

There’s still time to win some Speculative Grammarian gear! On GeoLing (http://geoling.linguistlist.org/), visit the scenic island location mentioned in a Linguimerick in the March 2017 issue of Speculative Grammarian for the first clue!

If you missed our first game announcement, with more details, you can find it here: https://blog.linguistlist.org/uncategorized/travel-the-globe-with-us-once-again/

And for some additional fun that is not related to the game, here is a Linguimerick specially provided to us by SpecGram:

There once was a List named LINGUÍST
That featured a cool little twist:
’Twas made for those nerds
who’re in love with words.
Now give ’em cash—hand over fist!
—α-Betty Abū Gida

PS: If you felt moved by the above poem, now longing to contribute to our cause, you can visit this link: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

The 6th Lottery is happening NOW! Donate to win!

Dear LINGUIST List subscribers,

Congratulations to our three winners for last week’s Fund Drive Lottery!

It’s now time for the LINGUIST List 6th Lottery! By entering, you are not only supporting the LINGUIST List but also getting a chance to win a prize! For every $10 donated, your name is entered once to win one of the following great prizes:

To win these prizes, donate between now and Wednesday, April 12! (people who have donated Thursday 6 April through today are also entered to win!)

Click here to donate! We truly appreciate your support!

Sincerely,
Your LINGUIST List Team

Featuring: Yue Chen, LINGUIST List Editor

This week, we’re featuring Yue Chen, one of the five LINGUIST List Editors! Yue Chen comes all the way from China (find out all about her home town here ). By donating to the LINGUIST List (http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/), you are directly impacting her academic career, by providing her with the support she needs to complete her studies. Here follow a few words from her to you:

 

Dear LINGUIST List subscribers,

My name is Yue Chen and I am one of the editors at the LINGUIST List. When you read about summer schools, FYIs, institutions and programs, or reset your password on LL, I am the human machine behind them. 🙂

I am an international student from Chengdu, China, currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Computational Linguistics at Indiana University. (Want to learn more about my hometown? Here it is: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/pages/YueChen/) As you probably know, higher education in the US is expensive, especially for international students. Thanks to the LINGUIST List, I was offered an assistantship and was able to afford my (upcoming) Ph.D. degree.

This would not have happened without your generous donation. Thank you!

It is with your help that we can make the LINGUIST List a better service and Linguistics a even better discipline. Thank you!

http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

Yours sincerely,
Yue Chen

An update on the Fund Drive Challenges!

Dear Faithful Readership,

We received many donations in just one day, on Wednesday during our Day without the LINGUIST List. This event has raised awareness for our cause. We are so thankful for those of you who donated that day! Please spread the word, we are still far from reaching our goal – but the last week has certainly encouraged us!

Now, for an exciting update on the Challenges! With that increase in donations, everything has turned upside down, and we have new challenge leaders!

Top Five Universities:

1)Indiana University: $2186.00 (17 donors)!

2)University of Washington: $2035.00 (26 donors)

3) Stanford University: $1670.00 (21 donors)

4) University of Arizona: $750.00 (4 donors)

5) University of South Carolina: $555.00 (7 donors)

Top Five Countries:

1) USA (260 donors)!

2) Germany (44 donors)

3) United Kingdom (31 donors)

4) Canada (23 donors)

5) Spain (15 donors)

Top Five Subfields:

1) Syntax: $4346.00

2) Computational Linguistics: $3470.00

3) Semantics: $2607.00

4) Sociolinguistics: $2149.00

5) Phonetics: $1990.00

You can support your team by donating to the LINGUIST List!

Thank you,

The LINGUIST List team

Featured Linguist: Nicoletta Calzolari

We are proud to share with our readers the next featured linguist of our 2017 Fund Drive: Nicoletta Calzolari. We hope that you enjoy reading Dr. Calzolari’s thoughts on her long and varied career as a computational linguist.

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It is difficult to write about myself, but it can be an occasion to relive some moments of my life. I am grateful to Damir also for this. Here some notes, with personal memories interspersed with moments of professional life.

The beginning: the role of chance

Immediately after I graduated in philosophy, with a thesis on Logical antinomies, I remember saying to myself: words, words, words, I have enough of words! I did not know, but my destiny was linked to words.

So many things in life happen by chance. I moved to Pisa from Ferrara for family reasons and I saw a notice for a grant at Pisa University in a completely new field: Computational Linguistics. I tried applying, knowing that it would have been impossible. But I won it. This was the beginning.

In Ferrara, studying philosophy

I started studying that new area … and I loved it. It was not just words! I also started, as an autodidact, to write programs by myself, in the language of the time: PL1. The Pisa Summer Schools that Zampolli organised (in the ‘70s and ‘80s) were very influential for me (as for many others): I met the most brilliant researchers and I found them fascinating. I did not know that I would have become friend with many of them. I just followed the first as a student, then I was involved in the organisation, and finally I gave some lectures.

CL was a young field, with many possible research paths. It was probably easier at that time: you could have a new idea and experiment it even working alone, without the need of a big group. It is different today.

Since then we made great advances, but the more we understand about language the more we see how many problems are still in front of us. And this is what makes this field so interesting and challenging: language is a very complex phenomenon.

The first steps: the most creative and innovative, from a research perspective

More and more science is driven by data and our field is not different. Natural Language Processing is a data intensive field. Major achievements come from the use of large Language Resources (LRs). But it was not always like that. At the beginning, in the ‘80s, we had to fight to recognise the value of working with data.

Probably I was one of the pioneers in the revolution of the ‘80s when LRs (i.e. linguistic data) started to be understood as critical to make steps forward, while before data were even despised. I started research at the time quite new: acquiring information from Machine Readable Dictionaries, instead of relying on linguist’s intuition. This became soon a trend, followed by many others in all the continents. Relying on data was a change in the research paradigm, in the sense of Kuhn.

With Nancy in Hong Kong

The great thing was that we succeeded in getting our first European project around this topic. Also this happened somehow by chance: I was discussing my work with Bran Boguraev sitting in the sun in Stanford and we had the idea of proposing a European project. We did it, and we got it: it was ACQUILEX, an ESPRIT Basic Research project that lasted 6 years and laid the foundation not only for stronger research but also for working relations with many interesting colleagues in Europe. Immediately after we had another research project, SPARKLE, probably the first European project aiming at extracting linguistic information from texts.

I understood, working on the first funded project, that I had to create the conditions for new research trends, that could possibly be funded afterwards. It was this way, through a virtuous circle, that we won so many EC projects, one after the other. I was involved – either coordinating the Pisa unit, or manging the whole European project – in more than 50 EC projects, in collaboration with hundreds of institutions all over the world.

There is more than research in science … or coming to adulthood

It was Antonio Zampolli who, in 1991, introduced the term “language resources” for our data: the term “resources” was meant to highlight their infrastructural nature (like electricity, railroads etc. for a country development). Some consequences derive from their infrastructural nature, among which the need to consider, in addition to research and technological aspects, also methodological and policy dimensions.

Working with data – expensive to create and annotate – made me realise that we needed to create the conditions to build on each other results. In 1991, I coined the term “reusability” to express the need not to start reinventing the wheel every time, but to re-use available data and join forces. It was the first step towards thinking at standards and interoperability. This term is reused today in the MetaNet Strategic Research Agenda: “2018: Ease re-use of linguistic resources in all parts of the data value chain across languages and sectors”.

The ideas and initiatives that led to the first European project on standards – EAGLES – were discussed at a breakfast table in Grosseto, during the Workshop “On Automating the Lexicon” (organised in 1986 by Walker, Zampolli and me). That Workshop was very influential: a Manifesto was drawn at the end, where the essential role of language data was emphasised and a number of actions were recommended: it laid the foundations for a large number of initiatives that took place later in Europe.

ELRA board meeting in Paris

In the ‘90s with Zampolli we also started to define a global vision of the field and its main components, identified in: creation of LRs, standards, distribution, and automatic acquisition of LRs. These were considered the main components of an infrastructure of LRs for Language Technology (LT). ELRA (European Language Resources Association) was founded in 1995 to take care of one of these components, distribution of LRs.

After those pioneering years, the importance of LRs for LT was recognised more and more, and the flow of data began. Today we have a LR community culture, also thanks to the many initiatives around LRs that we started, like ELRA, LREC, LRE Journal, CLARIN, FLaReNet, MetaShare. In the FLaReNet project we identified the major dimensions around which to structure our community recommendations for the future of the field: documentation, interoperability, availability, coverage/quality, sustainability, recognition, development, international cooperation. These dimensions – constituting the infrastructure around LRs – are at the basis of the current paradigm of LRs.

Acting on Policy issues for a (finally) mature field

Working with data one recognises the critical role of what is around data, i.e. of notions such as standardisation, sharing, openness, evaluation, interoperability, metadata, collaborative annotation, crowdsourcing, integration, replicability, integrity, citation. And the role of how to organise research work: we should create frameworks that enable effective cooperation of many groups on common tasks, adopting the paradigm of cooperative collection of knowledge so successful in more mature disciplines, such as biology, astronomy or physics. The relevance of these issues must not be underestimated.

Technical and scientific issues are obviously important, but organisational, coordination, political issues play a major role. Technologies exist and develop fast, but at the same time the infrastructure that sustains them must be created. The challenges ahead depend on a coherent strategy involving not only the best methods and research but also policy dimensions. The concept behind the relevance of policy issues and best practices around LRs can be synthesised considering “data as public good”.

I think that a coherent LR ecosystem also requires an effort towards a culture of “service to the community”, where everyone has to contribute. Adopting policies that go in the direction of Open Science must become common practice. This “cultural change” is not a minor issue. It was in this spirit that I introduced at LREC initiatives such as the LRE Map and Share your LRs as steps towards shaping an open scientific information space.

General chair at COLING 2016 in Osaka

Recently I started to advocate the need for reproducibility and replicability of research results – at the basis of scientific practice –  in our field. We discussed this issue at an ELRA workshop, where I pushed Antonio Branco to organise a workshop on these topics at LREC2016. The importance of the topic led me to think that we had to give a sign of its importance also in the LRE Journal: Nancy Ide agreed, and we recently decided to have in the journal a special type of papers devoted to these aspects.

I am proud to have the possibility – through ELRA, LREC and LREJ – to contribute to shaping an open scientific information space for the future of our field. I have always felt it is our duty to use the means that we have in our hands to try to shape the future. In this case to play a role in how to change scientific practice and have an impact on our overall scientific enterprise.

The importance of the people around you: few anecdotes

In my long path through LRs, I became friend with so many colleagues all over the world (almost all the leading figures of a generation) and felt their closeness in many occasions. Over the years I realised how this was influential to me: they somehow shaped me and sometimes it is difficult to disentangle the professional and personal life.

Just few sparse memories:

After my presentation at COLING 1982 in Prague, Don Walker invited me at a small workshop in Stanford. I was young and was sitting together with the most important people in the field, from Martin Kay to Sture Allen. Back in Pisa I thought I would never have again such a wonderful year! I was wrong. Since then I had so many wonderful opportunities, recognitions, much more than I deserved. Lesson: so many unexpected things may happen in life.

Preparing for LREC 2016 in Portoroz

From Zampolli I learned many things. I mention a simple one: you must both look at the details and be able to see the whole picture, projecting it into the future. I like both: precision and creativity. He had many visions for the future of the field, I hope I had some good ones too.

Ralph Grisham once saying at a workshop in Pisa: “You go to dinner with Nicoletta and standards come up”.

I like Facebook also because through it I exchanged memories with Chuck Fillmore in his last years, when he wanted to remember the past with his friends.

I was not a feminist when it was trendy. I did not react when an old important Italian university professor told me, very young, after a talk, “you are of a virile conciseness” thinking it was a great compliment. But after so many meetings with so many more men than women, I am more feminist now than when I was younger. I remember a meeting in Rome with the President of CNR, 36 people around a table, and me the only woman. I do not know why but I felt ashamed for them.

I was for a long time among the youngest in so many meetings, and then, all of a sudden, it changed. I realised it when Adam Kilgariff said: “Let’s listen to what Nicoletta thinks, she is always wise”. I saw it, wise and age: I was on the other side, among those with experience.

Recently a Japanese colleague told me: “You are really tough in negotiations”, but he said this with a smile so I hope it was a sort of compliment.

John Sinclair, many years ago: “You are very determined and really good in making many people work”. My parents always told me: if you want something you are so determined that you usually get it.

And I must mention my friendship with Nancy Ide, started when we were very young and consolidated over the years. We had many projects and have been to many places together, and now we exchange mails almost every day because of the LRE journal we are co-editors of.

Some recognitions

Once at a meeting at the European Commission, one of the EC officers introduced myself to the others as Mrs. Language Resources. Not bad. This explains the title I have given to these notes.

Preparing for LREC 2018 in Miyazaki

The motivation for being in the founding group of ACL Fellows says: “for significant contributions to computational lexicography, and for the creation and dissemination of language resources”. I took it also as a sign that LRs were recognised in the CL community. Something not given for granted few years before. And a sign that what we did had an impact outside the LR community.

When I received a mail from Bente Maegaard saying that I was proposed for an Honorary Doctorate in Copenhagen I was so astonished that I asked Sara if she thought it was a joke. It was not, and I was very proud to receive the Honorary PhD directly from the Queen of Denmark.

I was moved recently when the ELRA Board decided to make me Honorary President of ELRA. I was there when it started in 1995 and I served it for so many years in so many roles that I feel it is part of my life. The same I obviously feel with LREC.

Conclusion … with enthusiasm

I conclude with the final words I wrote for my invited talk at the 1st LREC in Granada in 1998: “At the end everything is tied together, which makes our overall task so interesting – and difficult. What we must have is the ability to combine the overall view with its decomposition into manageable pieces. No one perspective – the global and the sectorial – is really fruitful if taken in isolation. A strategic and visionary policy has to be debated, designed and adopted for the next few years, if we hope to be successful. To this end, the contribution of the main actors in the field is of extreme importance. Some of the events in this conference are hopefully moving in this direction.”

Despite my age, I still have the enthusiasm I had when I started, even more when I see that I am able to influence new strategic directions of research. I hope I was able to pass my enthusiasm to younger colleagues.

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Please support the LINGUIST List student editors and operations with a donation during the 2017 Fund Drive! The LINGUIST List needs your support!

Fun Fact: Funding Sources

Hey everyone! Thank you once again for your overwhelming support yesterday! You may be curious what the LINGUIST List needs your donations for. Currently, we have four main sources of funding:

Our supporting publishers
Job posters (we charge for each job post)

Financial contributions by Indiana University in the form of two stipends for our editors and the LINGUIST List house.

Lastly, contributions from supporters like you! Your donations account for approximately 1/3 of our entire budget. The money you donate pays for the other three Graduate Assistants. As one of those assistants, I am immensely thankful to all of you!

If you like the work that I and other editors put in, making sure the LINGUIST List contains Linguistically relevant content and that this content is consistent and correct, consider donating at funddrive.linguistlist.org

Thank you!

A Word of Thanks

Dear readers,

Yesterday, for the first time ever, the LINGUIST List was offline for the day. For 24 hours, we did not send out the usual dozens of issues, blog posts, or tweets. We hoped to raise awareness for our financial need and the important role that we play in the community. We hoped that, in this way, we would be able to reach our 30 000+ users with our appeal support.

We are writing now to thank you for the surge of generosity that appeared yesterday: we raised over $6 000 in one day, bringing us nearly 40% of the way to our goal. We saw support from all over the world, representing the global reach of our services. To each of our donors, we offer our sincerest thanks!

Even with so many new donors during the “Day Without the LINGUIST List”, we still estimate that only about 1.8% of all our users have donated to date.

If just 1 in 10 users donated $10, we could reach our goal TODAY. We could stop sending so many emails and bothering you with pop-ups. We can get back to doing what we do best: serving the international linguistics community.

Please, if you haven’t yet, visit our Fund Drive homepage to learn more about what we do and why we need your help: http://funddrive.linguistlist.org/

Sincerely,
Your LINGUIST List team