Friday Reading for 12/12/14

On Fridays, I share my favorite links from the week.


The always-eloquent John McWhorter shares his response to the question we always get in Linguistics classes: “Why save a language?” For those who work with (or just care about) endangered languages, this is a must-read. I always ask this question in my classes when I teach linguistics: “Who are we to play God and save a language that would otherwise die? Who are we, the Western scholars in a position of utmost power and privilege, to tell others that they should ignore their own reality and conform to ours?” I think McWhorter’s piece here would be good for those students to read.

The Geek Anthropologist shared a couple of reflections from the 2014 meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA2014). This is a much-lauded conference that I’ve always wanted to go to. No word yet on whether there were any cosplayers in attendence.

I went to Montreal a few months ago for a vacation, and ever since then I’ve been loving stories from Quebec. Therefore, I totally dig this Intelligent Travel post about Uninhabited Quebec.

I built an ELIZA conversation bot years and years ago in a Computational Linguistics class. If only I’d thought to harass GamerGaters with it.

I’ve been learning Dutch via DuoLingo, and I’m loving the Transparent Dutch blog. This post about the woord van het jaar (word of the year) hits the popular linguistics nerd part of me. (I’ve participated in several American Dialect Society votes on this very topic in English. Stay tuned in early January, I’ll probably blog about it!)

Hathi Trust has a RFP out for collaboration in projects using their huge (>10 million volumes) digitized text corpus. For all my linguist friends, I can totally see some awesome Computational Linguistics / Text Mining projects coming out of this!