Here at LL Headquarters, there are a lot of wugs to be seen. Homemade wug clocks. Wug magnets. Wug mugs (say it ten times fast). Even a couple of wug tattoos. The adorable little mascot of language acquisition studies is a beloved staple around here.
That is partly why we are so delighted to feature as our Linguist of the Day Dr. Jean Berko Gleason, who in addition to the Wug Test has done a great deal of amazing work in the field of psycholinguistics. She shares with LINGUIST readers the story of how she came to be a linguist, excerpted here:
“The languages, and the literature we read, The Wild Duck in Norwegian, for instance, and parts of the Mahabharata in Sanskrit were absorbing, but they were not really what I was looking for. Quite by happenstance, I enrolled during my senior year in a new course called the Psychology of Speech and Communication, taught by a young assistant professor named Roger Brown, who had recently arrived from the University of Michigan. The lectures were a revelation, beautifully organized, and full of startling ideas…”
Read more at the Hall of Heroes!
We are pleased to announce that Mamoru Saito is our newest Linguist of the Day! Dr. Saito is renowned for his work with syntactic theory, comparative syntax, and the structure of Japanese; however, he wasn’t always a prominent syntactician. Visit the Hall of Heroes to read his tale of how he found his way to linguistics; his story begins:
My path to linguistics was probably a bit unusual. I was already 24 when I started studying linguistics in 1978. I was fortunate to receive three key pieces of advice that led me into the field.
I was stubborn, independent and in retrospect, stupid when I was a teenager in Japan. I pretty much ignored schoolwork and spent much of my time reading novels and philosophy books. That continued until I suddenly felt that there were more things I ought to know and that I wanted to be “taught.”
What were the three pieces of advice? Read more and find out!
Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,
I am Lwin Moe, a programmer here at LINGUIST List. I am originally from Burma, also known as Myanmar. I came to work at LINGUIST List as an intern two summers ago, and came back as a programmer after graduating from Indiana University. Before I tell you more about myself and how much I have learned about linguistics and technology through LINGUIST List, here is a link to donate if you will:
I learned about LINGUIST List while working at the Center for Research in Computational Linguistics in Bangkok (www.sealang.net). I had to work with linguistic resources, particularly for Southeast Asia, and came across OLAC (Open Language Archives Community), of which LINGUIST List is a partner. I learned best practices for the digital archiving of language resources through OLAC and LINGUIST List.
While working in Bangkok, I also came to know great linguists from Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Australia, UK and USA because Bangkok seemed to be the hub of the region for linguists interested in Southeast Asian languages.
These linguists and LINGUIST List inspired me so much that I decided to come to Indiana University (IU) to study linguistics. While studying at IU’s Linguistics Department, I saw an announcement for an internship at LINGUIST List. I decided to apply and was accepted to work as an intern in the summer of 2010. I was involved in MultiTree project (www.multitree.org) and several others.
I enjoyed working here and decided to come back after graduating from Indiana University in December, 2010. I was able to become a part of the LINGUIST List crew because of your support. I would like to take this opportunity to request a small donation from you to support what we do here. We would not be able to provide the linguistics community with these valuable resources if it were not for your generous support. Here is the link to donate:
You voted with your donations, and you have made your voices heard: both the Tenuous Career Path and the Data Graveyard were appealing options for the next LINGQUEST story installment. Roughly 45% of you chose the Tenuous Career Path, while about 55% voted to send our heroes to the Data Graveyard. And so, this week, the Illocutionary Force find themselves headed south, where a ghastly scene awaits them….
Read Chapter 2 at the Saga page!
This week, you’ll be making the choice of which subfield’s representative is most fit to lead the Force into their next battle. Will C-Commando, stalwart champion of Syntax, assume leadership of the Force? Will Professor P!γαʂɮɜq proudly represent Phonetics and Phonology? What about the Turing Myrmidon, heretofore silent scion of Computational Linguistics? The choice is in your hands– donate now to vote for your subfield!
I came to The LINGUIST List as a bright-eyed classicist straight out of undergrad. With an arsenal of Latin conjugations and Greek declensions and a fascination for language, I aimed to infiltrate the world of linguistics in graduate school. Well, my fascination and enthusiasm were certainly laudable, but to think that I was prepared to tackle the intricacies of X-bar and lambda calculus armed with aorist tense paradigms was laughable.
But, luckily, I have The LINGUIST List, an excellent online resource at my fingertips to help out whenever I have questions that need answering. And so do you! Please donate today to keep the site and listserv alive:
As a student worker at The LINGUIST List, I get daily hands-on experience with the world of linguistics, creating tools and providing a service for people like you. Among other opportunities, I help edit submissions to the LINGUIST List Notice Board, which is designed to help you find resources for personal linguistic research. You can check out or submit to our Notice Board by visiting:
The LINGUIST List has provided me with the resources I need to not just study in linguistics but to thrive in it. And these resources aren’t just available to me, but to all of you as well! So please help show your support for a group that is dedicated to supporting the pool of linguistic knowledge – even those who have just waded in – by donating today:
[Editor" s note: If you enjoy any of the Fund Drive pages, Erica is one of the primary people you can thank for making them functional and beautiful. Without her insane levels of competence and dedication, our Fund Drive site would probably just be a text file, maybe with frames or terrible tables. Donate so we can keep paying people as smart and helpful as her to run our site!]
We’re proud to announce that our second 2012 Linguist of the Day is Nikolaus Himmelmann! Dr. Himmelmann is renowned for his work in language documentation, typology, Austronesian and Papuan languages, and more; his story begins:
Before getting to university, I had never heard of linguistics as an academic discipline and only found out about it during my first term, when I was studying English and law. As part of the English program, I had to take an introduction to (English) linguistics and another class on the linguistic analysis of texts (nowadays widely generally known as discourse analysis). And I was immediately hooked.
Read the rest of Dr. Himmelmann’s story at the Hall of Heroes!
Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,
LINGUIST List keeps you on your feet. It has been three years since I started
working here now, and each year I have something new to tell you, some new
adventure to share with you. The first time I wrote to you it was to tell you
about my fieldwork experiences in Chiapas, Mexico and making a map from it for the
LL-MAP project (llmap.org). The second time I wrote you had to do with creating a
small online lexicon for LEGO http://lego.linguistlist.org). It is well known now
that LINGUIST List is a training ground for students. So what do I have to share
with you this time?
In addition to my responsibilities as a team leader for LL-MAP, I have begun
working on the ELCat team. Having seen a project start from scratch and having
watched it develop into a thorough and comprehensive resource on endangered
languages, I am so proud to say that I had a part in it. Other opportunities this
year I had were to learn video and audio editing for upcoming vlogs, tutorials and
videos on our youtube page (http://www.youtube.com/user/linguistlist). The
research and applied skills I have learned this semester are remarkable.
If it wasn’t for our subscribers this wouldn’t be possible! LINGUIST List provides
students with a perspective that goes well beyond the classroom. Consider donating
Dear Fellow Linguists,
My name is Justin Petro; I’m a student in the MA program for Linguistics at Eastern Michigan University, I work at LINGUIST List, and if that last statement wasn’t true, the one before it wouldn’t be either. You can make sure both of those statements remain true by pledging a donation to LINGUIST List here:
I’m sure that you’re aware of all the great information and services LINGUIST List provides to the discipline; everything from conference and job announcements to the hosting and maintenance of indispensable resources such as MultiTree and LL-MAP. What’s also important to remember is that behind all of that there’s a team of Graduate Assistants and Student Workers like myself who work tirelessly to provide these services to you.
As a Publications Editor, ColdFusion Editor, and project team member on LEGO and RELISH, LINGUIST List has provided me not only with the funding I need to continue my studies in the discipline, but also the hands-on training and experience in technologies crucial for the next generation of linguists. To put it simply, I would not be where I am in my studies or my career in linguistics without the support of LINGUIST List.
LINGUIST List is both an indispensable resource for the field and a training ground for bright young students eager to contribute to the discipline. Please take the time to pledge your support of this wonderful institution:
With gratitude and thanks,
[Editor's note: Justin is also the troubadour we can thank for the 2012 Fund Drive song!]
Each year during Fund Drive, LINGUIST List has the honor of bringing you the autobiographical accounts of how some of the field’s top scholars came to be linguists. Every week, we’ll bring you a new tale of a linguist’s sagacity, perseverance, and wisdom as inspiration to fledgling and veteran linguists alike!
Over at the Hall of Heroes, our first LINGUIST of the Day is François Grosjean; Dr. Grosjean has worked in psycholinguistics, language processing, and bilingualism, to name just a few of his research topics. His tale begins:
When I think about my first linguistics course, my mind wanders back to a large lecture hall in the mid-sixties at the University of Paris. Around 300 of us were attending a lecture on English Linguistics taught by Antoine Culioli. Suddenly, in his quiet voice, Culioli asked, “Is François Grosjean there?”. I raised my hand and he continued, “Tell me, in British English, would you say …(X)… or would you say …(Y)…?”. Because of my secondary schooling in England, I was one of the (quasi) native speakers that lecturers would call upon as linguistic informants. I don’t remember the two alternatives Culioli gave me but I believe they concerned some very subtle difference in the use of a preposition. With 299 pairs of eyes looking at me, and not really seeing how the two alternatives diverged, I ventured, “The former, I think!”. Culioli nodded his head and replied, “Yes, that’s what I thought”. He continued his lecture and I sat back and breathed a sigh of relief. Since then, I have the greatest respect for people who are informants!
…Read the rest of Dr. Grosjean’s story here!
Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,
I’m Anna Belew, and I’m still waiting to wake up from this beautiful dream where I’m employed by LINGUIST List. When I moved to Michigan in 2010, I anticipated doing one of the following things with my MA in linguistics: a) operating a deep-fryer; b) picking recyclables out of dumpsters; or c) shoeshines. Instead, here I am, doing exciting and relevant work which will be of great use to linguists worldwide, like leading a research team for the Endangered Languages Catalog (ELCat). I really can’t believe my good fortune.
But this letter is not about my gratitude to LINGUIST List for plucking me from the gutter. It’s about what LINGUIST List means to you, and to the discipline. I’ve only been here a short time, but I’m flabbergasted every day by how much LINGUIST can do with so little funding– not content to stop at editing and mailing hundreds of messages per week from linguists around the world, we also develop infrastructure which the linguistics community desperately needs. I can’t imagine trying to research linguistic classifications without MultiTree, or having to manage language documentation data without EMELD‘s best practices. It may have been possible to organize conferences before the advent of EasyReg (coming soon!) and EasyAbs, but it sure was harder. Trying to find or create language maps without LL-MAP? Forget it. And can you believe there’s something even more important than all of those things? We support dozens of graduate students as they complete higher degrees in linguistics, and provide the world with tech-savvy, refined, highly-trained future linguists who have amazing practical experience in the field.
The projects, services, and infrastructure that LINGUIST provide are not only necessary to the whole linguistics community, but achieved with astonishing resourcefulness and very little money. Without your donations, none of what we do is possible; we need the support of the discipline to continue supporting the discipline. Please make a donation to ensure that LINGUIST can serve you for years to come.