April 03, 2007

Who's your linguistics hero?

Holy convergence, Language Log readers. The following three events from my day today may at first seem completely unrelated, but I explain how they all clicked together for me below the fold.

Back in August of 2005, I blogged about a couple of how-I-got-into-linguistics memoirs that I'd recently read: one by Barbara Partee and another by Bill Labov. A few months later, soon after Peter Ladefoged passed away, I noted that Peter had also written his own such memoir.

These memoirs make for great linguistics-geek reading, and I was thinking at the time that it would be great to solicit/collect more of them. It appears that the folks over at LINGUIST List were thinking the same thing: so far, their Linguist of the Day feature includes (relatively brief) how-I-got-into-linguistics memoirs from Language Log's own Geoff Pullum, historical linguist Robert Blust, linguistic typologist Bernard Comrie, theoretical linguist Noam Chomsky, sociolinguist Walt Wolfram, and Africanist Raymond Boyd. (On the insufficiency of the labels I've casually assigned to these linguists here, see Roger Shuy's post from a week ago today.)

(Note: at the end of each of these Linguist of the Day entries is a note explaining which LINGUIST List editor nominated that linguist and why, with a link to the editor's personal page on LINGUIST List -- where it is sometimes explained how that person got into linguistics. Pretty cool.)

So there's the connection between the first two events of my day listed above. What about Arnold's post? Read it (again) and you'll see.

[ Update, 4/4: Around the water cooler this morning, Arnold informed me that there are not one, not two, but three volumes of "Autobiographies by North American Scholars in the Language Sciences" published by Benjamins (in 1980, 1991, and 1998, respectively). Good to know! Still, I could wish that the cheapest of these three volumes weren't $132 ... ]

[ Comments? ]

Posted by Eric Bakovic at April 3, 2007 11:16 PM