LINGUIST List 5.330

Tue 22 Mar 1994


Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Edith A Moravcsik, new society

Message 1: new society

Date: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 08:36:01 new society
From: Edith A Moravcsik <>
Subject: new society

In a message entitled "Association of Linguistic Typology", I passed on
news from Frans Plank and Johan van der Auwera regarding a new
linguistic society that is now being founded. That message should have been
preceded by the one below, which is the first communication regarding
ALT and whose content is presupposed in the message you have already
received. Sorry for the confusion.

Edith Moravcsik (


Dear colleagues,

 we, the undersigned, invite you to join an association to be known
as the Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT) as its founding members.
 The purpose of ALT will be to advance the scientific study of
typology, i.e. of cross-linguistic diversity and the patterns underlying
it. To that end ALT will seek (i) to further mutual awareness, dialogue,
and cooperation within the international community of typologists, thus
providing a focus for research in this branch of linguistics, and (ii) to
act as an interest group of typologists in relation to the world of science
and science funding.
 ALT's principal communal activities will be (i) the organization of
annual meetings and perhaps occasional workshops and (ii) the publication
of a journal.

 We intend to draw up a formal constitution of ALT shortly, and
solicit your suggestions on all matters relevant to the founding and
running of this association.
 Here are some ideas for ALT that we, the undersigned, submit for
your consideration.

 For legal reasons ALT ought to be properly registered as a
non-profit making organization under German/Belgian/? law.
 There ought to be two main categories of personal membership:
regular members and student members-persons actively involved in
typological research. We might in addition wish to admit individuals or
groups of individuals that in one way or another support the cause of
typology as associate members. Further, some kind of membership status
presumably has to be granted to libraries subscribing to ALT's journal.
 The duty of members-apart from that of doing or supporting
high-quality typological research-will be to pay an annual fee as dues, of
an amount sufficient to cover the costs of running the association
(including the publication of its journal). Student members should pay
about half the dues of regular members, and associate members should pay
more. When the journal is established, we reckon with a regular annual fee
of about DM 100; initially it should probably be around DM 30, to enable
ALT to get started. (What needs some further thinking is how dues are to
be paid in currencies such as those of Eastern Europe.)
 The rights of membership will include (i) a free subscription to
ALT's journal (i.e. subscription to the journal is obligatory for members,
and part of the dues will be used to subsidize the journal), (ii) the
offering of papers for oral presentation at annual meetings, (iii) the
submission of articles, reviews, comments, and other contributions to be
considered for publication in ALT's journal, and (iv) the holding of
offices in ALT and the voting in its elections (regular and student members
 As to the administration of ALT, we assume it will suffice, at
least initially, to have a president (to be elected annually), a
secretary-cum-treasurer (serving for a longer period), an
executive-cum-programme committee (of some five members, serving for two or
three years), and an editor and a medium-sized editorial board of the
journal (serving long enough to guarantee a certain continuity).
 At the annual meetings of ALT, to be held at regular intervals
(each spring, autumn, or winter) and at varying places, priority ought to
be given to the unhurried presentation and discussion of typological
research worth reporting on. (No parallel sessions! As a rule of thumb:
one hour per paper, including discussion.) Thematic constraints would
generally seem undesirable, although time could occasionally be set apart
for mini-symposia on burning issues, workshops (say, on particular
languages of special typological interest), and perhaps other formats of
 As to the format of ALT's journal, simply to be named 'Typology'
and to appear in two issues per year of some 200-250 pages each, it ought
to contain these regular elements: (i) target articles with peer
commentary (as pioneered by Current Anthropology and Behavioral and Brain
Sciences); (ii) standard articles (of above-standard quality, naturally);
(iii) documentation of implicational universals; (iv) typological sketches
of particular languages or families; (v) highlights from the history of
typology (bio-bibliographic notices of past masters, re-evaluations of
classics); (vi) reviews, review articles, book notices. The language of
publication should normally be (good) English.
 The undersigned are currently exploring the possibility of
publishing a journal of this kind with a major publisher, and there appears
to be a genuine interest from several of these.
 In order to get ALT's journal started, we, the undersigned, suggest
to operate a working paper scheme from our academic bases (Konstanz and
Antwerpen), by means of which a fund of materials would be collected that
could be drawn on for the first issues of Typology, provisionally envisaged
to appear in 1996. Founding members of ALT would receive these Working
Papers, which might roughly be modelled on those produced by the EUROTYP
programme and which might be called 'The Typology Forum'. If this way of
proceeding is agreed on, contributions of the various sorts to figure in
the journal eventually superseding The Typology Forum would soon be
solicited from founding members.
 We anticipate holding the inaugural meeting of ALT in the spring or
autum of 1995 at Konstanz (Germany) or Antwerpen (Belgium). It ought to be
preceded by a first business meeting of founding members, to take place
later in 1994.
 If you want to be a founding member of ALT, let us know before 15
March. Typologists of the world, associate!

Frans Plank
Fachgruppe Sprachwissenschaft
Universitat Konstanz
Postfach 5560, D 175
D-78434 Konstanz
Tel: +49-7531-882656/882465/57450

Johan van der Auwera
Linguistiek (GER)
Universiteit Antwerpen (UIA)
B-2610 Antwerpen
Tel: +32-3-8202776, +32-2-2450512
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