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LINGUIST List 23.1048

Thu Mar 01 2012

Supporting Linguists Worldwide!

Editor for this issue: Matthew Lahrman <mattlinguistlist.org>

Date: 01-Mar-2012
From: LINGUIST List <linguistlinguistlist.org>
Subject: LINGUIST List - An International Community
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Dear LINGUIST List Subscribers,

Since I spend half of every year in Russia, I've realized some things that I hadn't been conscious of when my view was just from the U.S. Maybe some of them will be relevant to some of you, as international subscribers or as Americans spending time abroad.

(i) Linguist List is really international. In some ways it's even more crucial for the international community than for the U.S. - it really does help make it a small world, where everyone can find out about every kind of resource and opportunity. When I first arrived at Moscow State University in 1996, access to the internet was very limited (you stood in line with your diskette for the one computer in the department that could send and receive e-mail), but there was already a mirror site of Linguist List installed. If you're not in the U.S., this is to you!

(ii) Students and faculty in many countries have much less time and money than they typically do in the U.S. One of my former Russian students, now in the U.S., asked me last year, with some annoyance, why I keep asking the relatively poor academics in Russia to send money to the rich U.S. At first I was just hurt and surprised by the question! But she hadn't realized how many of the graduate students at Eastern Michigan University working for Linguist List are international students themselves, and that their work and study there is a great opportunity, made possible by donations to Linguist List.

Also, since I offer to use my credit card to send donations from Russian colleagues and students to Linguist List if they don't have their own, she supposed that I was keeping track of who did and didn't donate - which would indeed be immoral pressure. But donations can be anonymous, so I have no knowledge of "who didn't give", and no one is asked to give more than they can. We know that if everyone who uses Linguist List would give just a dollar (which requires some group cooperation, since the minimum credit card donation is $5), we would raise far more than the Fund Drive target total!

(iii) Some countries (Russia is the example I know best) have no tradition of "fund-raising among ordinary non-wealthy people to support a common good, as is common in the U.S. for public radio and many other good causes. Things for the common good are in many countries either government-funded through taxation or else supported by rich donors and corporate sponsors. Linguist List, like many good causes in the US, really depends very heavily on individual supporters like you and me! If you're in a country that hasn't had such fund-raising traditions, and you're a linguist, and you've ever benefited from Linguist List in any way, I hope you'll follow the example of my Russian colleagues who have in the past years been donating in increasing numbers, in smaller or larger amounts, as they can afford. (I help by sending encouraging letters on the local linguistics mailing list.) The totals add up quickly enough!

Best wishes to all from one of the Advisors,

Barbara Partee


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