March 13, 2007

"What? How?" -- "Wikipedia."

A few days ago, Barbara Partee started up an email discussion about an effort by Yuri Koryakov to "[get] linguists organized to fill in the many gaps in linguistics coverage in the Russian-language wikipedia, both in biographies of linguists and in content articles", suggesting that a comparable effort for the English-language wikipedia would be a Good Thing. (If you read Linguist List, you'll probably be hearing more about this before long.) This morning, Chris Potts contributed an encouraging anecdote:

In my large intro course yesterday, there was an unfamiliar hand in the air a lot of the time, and the student's questions and insights were the best I've had all semester. It was puzzling, because I didn't recognize him, and he seemed to know much more about syntax than one would expect. (It was our first official day on the topic.)

After class, he came to the front and introduced himself as a prospective student, just out of high school. He said linguistics was his passion in high school. I said, "What? How?" And he replied, "Wikipedia".

Posted by Mark Liberman at March 13, 2007 08:22 AM