LINGUIST List 14.1356

Mon May 12 2003

FYI: Script Encoding Initiative, LSA Ballot

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Deborah Anderson, FYI: Script Encoding Initiative: Assistance Needed
  2. Dick Hudson, LSA ballot

Message 1: FYI: Script Encoding Initiative: Assistance Needed

Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 14:05:04 +0000
From: Deborah Anderson <>
Subject: FYI: Script Encoding Initiative: Assistance Needed

The webpages for the Script Encoding Initiative have just been updated
and can be viewed at: The
Script Encoding Initiative (SEI) is a project set up at the Dept. of
Linguistics at UC Berkeley to fund proposals for those scripts not in
Unicode. The scripts affected are minority and historical scripts. The
result of the project will be that it will be possible to access these
scripts electronically. For a full list of the missing scripts,
please see: .

Important note to linguists:

1. Feedback on several proposals in needed in advance of the upcoming
Unicode Technical Committee meetings, which will be held June 11-13,
2003. Comments from experts and the user communities for these scripts
are needed.

The outstanding proposals are for the following scripts: Glagolitic,
Old Persian cuneiform, Avestan and Pahlavi, Saurashtra, Manichaean,
and three Greek proposals for missing characters (Greek Numerical
Characters, New Testament Sigla, and Greek Editorial and Punctuation
Characters). If you would like to see the proposals, please go to the
following page:

A list of guidelines for reviewing such proposals is available on the
bottom of the above page, or can be accessed directly at:

2. Grass-roots support for minority script encoding is very important;
and if people are able to take the time to write letters of support
for minority script encoding, those are also helpful to us in our
quest for grants. Letters on behalf of historic scripts are likewise
sought. Please contact me if you would like to write such a letter.

3. On-line donations are now possible for this project, thanks to UC
Berkeley. Directions for making an online donation are found at:

Donations are tax-deductible in the U.S. (Note: SEI will receive 98%
of all funds raised, 2% will be withheld by the UC Berkeley
Development Office, as is usual for such projects.) Even small
donations are a big help to us in our attempts to secure grants for
minority and historical script encoding.

If you have any questions or comments, please write to me directly.

With best regards,

Deborah Anderson
Researcher, Dept. of Linguistics
UC Berkeley
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Message 2: LSA ballot

Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 21:51:37 +0100
From: Dick Hudson <>
Subject: LSA ballot

Editor's note: It is in the interest of setting the record straight
that LINGUIST posts this message. This should not be taken as an
indication that the previous discussion of boycotts has been or will
be reopened.

Dear List,

I've only recently received my copy of the LSA bulletin, whose
centre-spread contains the ballot paper for the resolution about
boycotts that Martin Haspelmath queried in an earlier thread. I know
that thread has closed now, and I don't wish to reopen it. However I
was very surprised to find my name in the Background statement, and I
should be grateful for an opportunity to reply in public because the
statement is tendentious and inaccurate. Here is the relevant section,
which immediately follows a description of the boycotts initiated by
Steven and Hilary Rose and by Mona Baker:

"In December, the six ex-presidents of the Linguistics Association of
Great Britain, led by Dick Hudson, published a letter in The Guardian
expressing support for Baker, claiming that her civil liberties were
being threatened,"

This is true, but makes no sense in context because the statement does
not mention that Mona Baker was under disciplinary investigation by
her employer because of her political protest, which we felt was no
business of her employer.

"while taking an agnostic stand on the legitimacy of her actions and
the boycott."

This is again true, so I can't see why our letter is at all relevant
to the general question of whether boycotts are justifiable. The main
point of mentioning it seems to be to strengthen the otherwise tenuous
link between this general issue and linguistics. Unlike all other LSA
resolutions, this one has nothing specifically to do with language or
linguistics other than the fact that one boycotter (Mona Baker) is a

"Citing their past presidencies, they claimed to 'speak for a large
body of opinion in our field'."

This is not true. What we actually wrote was: "Although we write as
individuals, we MAY speak for a large body of opinion in our field
because we are the past presidents of the Linguistics Association
since 1980." The letter is at,3604,860649,00.html. We
have no idea how many people agreed with us. But remember that we were
protesting against the treatment of a colleague, not defending
boycotts; we were divided on the pros and cons of boycotts.

"In response, several linguists in Britain requested that the LSA
consider a resolution condemning academic boycotts."

How could the LSA resolution against boycotts be a response to a
letter about something quite different? In fact, it's even hard to see
how it can be a response to the boycotts mentioned earlier, since it
doesn't actually apply to either the Roses' boycott (which is just
against institutions, pace the LSA statement) or Mona Baker's (which
is solely against employees of Israeli institutions - a category not
covered by the resolution).

Richard (= Dick) Hudson

Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London,
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.
fax +44(0)20 7383 4108; 
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