Linguist List

The LINGUIST List is a major online resource for the academic field of linguistics. It was founded by Anthony Aristar in early 1990 at the University of Western Australia,[1] and is used as a reference by the National Science Foundation in the United States.[2] Its main and oldest feature is the premoderated electronic mailing list, now with thousands of subscribers all over the world, where queries and their summarised results, discussions, journal table of contents, dissertation abstracts, calls for papers, book and conference announcements, software notices and other useful pieces of linguistic information are posted.


Between 1991 and 2013, the service was run by Anthony Aristar and Helen Aristar-Dry. In 1991, it moved from Australia to Texas A&M University, and Eastern Michigan University was established as the main editing site. By 1994, there were over 5,000 subscribers.[3] From 14 October through 6 November 1996, it held its first on-line conference, Geometric and Thematic Structure in Binding, devoted to the Binding Theory and opened by the keynote address by Howard Lasnik.[4] LINGUIST List moved from Texas A&M to its own site in 1997. Wayne State University in Michigan was established as the second editing site in 1998, but in 2006 all its operations moved to nearby Eastern Michigan University. In 2013, Aristar-Dry and Aristar retired from Eastern Michigan University and Damir Cavar became the moderator and director of operations. In 2014 Malgorzata E. Cavar became the second moderator. In 2014, LINGUIST List was moved to Indiana University and it has been hosted at the Department of Linguistics since then, with Damir Cavar and Malgorzata E. Cavar as the co-directors of the resource operations.

The LINGUIST List is funded by its donations from supporting publishers, institutions and its subscribers during the fund drive month each spring. Some LINGUIST List projects were funded by grants from the National Science Foundation. In recent years it has become a site for research into linguistic infrastructure on the web, and has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation to do this work.[5]


The LINGUIST List hosts two mailing lists LINGUIST and LINGLITE:

  • LINGUIST, a mailing list that forwards all postings to the subscriber directly or as a daily digest.[6]
  • LINGLITE, a mailing list that forwards once a day a list of postings with titles and links to the subscribers.[7]

The LINGUIST List mailing lists are free and open for subscription using a web interface.[8]

Everybody can submit postings to The LINGUIST List lists without being subscribed or in any way a registered member.[9] A web interface is used to submit postings to the lists.[10]


The LINGUIST List has been one of the resources for the creation of the new ISO 639-3 language identification standard (aiming to classify all known languages with an alpha-3 language code).[11] While the Ethnologue was used as the resource for natural languages currently in use, Linguist List has provided the information on historic varieties, ancient languages, international auxiliary languages and constructed languages.

The LINGUIST List has also received grants for

  • the Catalogue of Endangered Languages project, a joint effort with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa to build the most reliable, up-to-date source of information on the world's endangered languages[12]
  • the EMELD Project, designed to build infrastructure to facilitate the preservation of endangered languages data
  • the DATA project, designed to digitise data for the Dena'ina language[13]
  • the LL-MAP project (defunct), designed to produce a comprehensive GIS site for language;[14]
  • the MultiTree project (defunct), designed to produce a complete database and tree-viewing facility to study language relationships[15][16]
  • the AARDVARC project, designed to address the problem of not transcribed, and therefore unavailable, documentation of understudied languages by building an interdisciplinary community of linguists, anthropologists, and computer scientists to share knowledge and collaborate on the specification of a repository and suite of tools to facilitate automatic or semi-automatic transcription and analysis of audio and visual information[17]

The EMELD project[18] was the instigator of the GOLD ontology, the furthest advanced of the current attempts to build an ontology for the morphosyntax of linguistic data.[19] It has also produced a phonetics ontology, based upon Peter Ladefoged's and Ian Maddieson's The Sounds of the World's Languages.

Some projects emerged from funded or internal activities at LINGUIST List:

  • GeoLing, a GIS-based information service that places events, jobs, institutions, conferences, and other announcements with a geo-location that are announced on LINGUIST List on the global map.[20]
  • AskALing, a discussion forum and question and answer platform for linguistically relevant questions and issues.[21]
  • GORILLA, a platform for archiving of language data, recordings, word lists, corpora, and technologies, and the development and conversion of language data to corpora and resources that bridge language documentation of low-resourced and endangered languages, and Human Language Technology (HLT) and Natural Language Processing (NLP).[22]


  1. "About LINGUIST List".
  2. "Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) nsf05590".
  3. "5.1005 LINGUIST subscription by country". Linguist List. 19 September 1994. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007.
  4. "1st LINGUIST Conference: Geometric & Thematic Structure in Binding". Linguist List. 1 April 1996.
  5. "LINGIUST List – Projects".
  6. The LINGUIST List: The LINGUIST Mailing List
  7. The LINGUIST List: The LINGLITE Mailing List
  8. The LINGUIST List Subscription Page
  9. The LINGUIST List Subscription Interface
  10. The LINGUIST List Posting Submission Interface
  11. "OpenStax CNX".
  12. "Linguist List – Projects". The LINGUIST List. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  13. "Dena'ina Qenaga – A Resource for the Dena'ina Language".
  14. "LL-Map".
  15. "MultiTree".
  16. "About MultiTree".
  17. Malgosia Cavar, Damir Cavar. "Automatically Annotated Repository of Digital Audio and Video Resources Community".
  18. "E-MELD Homepage".
  19. "GOLD Community: General Ontology for Linguistic Description".
  20. GeoLing:GIS-based linguistic events and information
  21. AskALing:Linguistic Question and Answer platform
  22. GORILLA:Global Open Resources and Information for Language and Linguistic Analysis
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