Some rare grammars

If you go to Lincom’s web-page, you’ll see they’ve just issued some PhD thesis grammars of (mostly) Australian languages as books. Published in facsimile, I gather (no editing) and for around 70 to 80 euros in your Warenkorb.

Lincom does a service in getting the stuff out. But it could be so much better… Lodge them in your home university’s e-repository, and they’ll be picked up by wonderful Trove – which — functionally — subsumes the old Australian Digital Theses program. Lodge them as .rtf as well as .pdf and you make fancy searching sooo much easier. Lodge your sound files as well…

It is a true and crying shame that there is STILL more academic reward for publishing theses as facsimile books than in distributing them online, even in an e-repository with permanent URLs. This’ll change, and the change can’t come soon enough.

4 thoughts on “Some rare grammars”

  1. Lincom’s motive is evident, but what about the authors? How could an author believe that in this era it’s more advantageous to get a pittance of royalties than to get widely cited?

    By the way, Lincom is also starting to publish a “digital library”, and when I requested permission to include material from the digital version of one of its publications in the PanLex database Lincom graciously consented.

  2. Thoughts:
    a. for old theses, effort of getting them scanned is maybe too much for some people. That’s what Lincom was offering. We can hope that the authors now have digital copies of their theses, and that they’ll have some arrangement for longterm archiving. It’s good that Lincom let stuff go into PanLex. There’s no doubt they provide a service by publishing language/ethnographic material that no one else would. But the value of this will decrease as bibliometrics takes more hold, and digital publishing becomes more widespread.

    b. Why books still? Right now, many humanities researchers and promotion committees in Australia value books more than citations.

    c. AND, although promotion committees SAY they don’t count facsimile publication of theses in vanity presses, they don’t always know what is a vanity press, (nor do many young researchers). In this case the series name ‘Outstanding grammars’ wouldn’t reveal the facsimile-ness to a promotion committee. (But promotion is probably not a concern for these grammar-writers, I’d guess).

    d. AND last, (again probably not in this case), authors are often flattered by the offer to publish their thesis as is, because they infer that the offer means that their thesis is good enough to publish as is. (A valid inference in some cases.) If such an offer is made by a series editor, the flattered author is unlikely to ask whether the series editor is commissioning books for money as well as love: see,59191.msg1237419.html#msg1237419

  3. Re the third paragraph of your post, you might find it interesting to have a look at the draft chapter of the forthcoming book The Ivory Tower and the Open Web by Dan Cohen, Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. This quote seems particularly apposite to your points:

    “Good is good, no matter the venue of publication or what the crowd thinks. Scholars surely understand that on a deep level, yet many persist in the valuing venue and medium over the content itself. This is especially true at crucial moments, such as promotion and tenure. Surely we can reorient ourselves to our true core value—to honor creativity and quality—which will still guide us to many traditionally published works but will also allow us to consider works in some nontraditional venues such as new open access journals or articles written and posted on a personal website or institutional repository, or digital projects.”

  4. I am planning to put my grammar of a southern Carib language on the Archives of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, making it available to anyone with an interest. I agree with your perspective on digital publishing.

Here at Endangered Languages and Cultures, we fully welcome your opinion, questions and comments on any post, and all posts will have an active comments form. However if you have never commented before, your comment may take some time before it is approved. Subsequent comments from you should appear immediately.

We will not edit any comments unless asked to, or unless there have been html coding errors, broken links, or formatting errors. We still reserve the right to censor any comment that the administrators deem to be unnecessarily derogatory or offensive, libellous or unhelpful, and we have an active spam filter that may reject your comment if it contains too many links or otherwise fits the description of spam. If this happens erroneously, email the author of the post and let them know. And note that given the huge amount of spam that all WordPress blogs receive on a daily basis (hundreds) it is not possible to sift through them all and find the ham.

In addition to the above, we ask that you please observe the Gricean maxims:

*Be relevant: That is, stay reasonably on topic.

*Be truthful: This goes without saying; don’t give us any nonsense.

*Be concise: Say as much as you need to without being unnecessarily long-winded.

*Be perspicuous: This last one needs no explanation.

We permit comments and trackbacks on our articles. Anyone may comment. Comments are subject to moderation, filtering, spell checking, editing, and removal without cause or justification.

All comments are reviewed by comment spamming software and by the site administrators and may be removed without cause at any time. All information provided is volunteered by you. Any website address provided in the URL will be linked to from your name, if you wish to include such information. We do not collect and save information provided when commenting such as email address and will not use this information except where indicated. This site and its representatives will not be held responsible for errors in any comment submissions.

Again, we repeat: We reserve all rights of refusal and deletion of any and all comments and trackbacks.

Leave a Comment