Author Topic: Why is this forum Eurocentric?  (Read 1059 times)

Offline Voynichologist

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 5
Why is this forum Eurocentric?
« on: August 18, 2018, 10:13:55 AM »
So, what do you think, why is this forum Eurocentric? I mean, the longest thread on this forum (according to the statistics) is "The Language of Old Europe" and the third longest thread is called "Croatian toponyms". Why do those things interest people more than the Native American or the Aboriginal languages?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1779
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Why is this forum Eurocentric?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2018, 03:11:18 PM »
The longest threads speak to individuals, not general interest.

As for Eurocentrism in linguistics in general, it's because there are more Europeans and Americans working in linguistics than in other areas, and it's something that many linguists are hoping improves, both by focusing our research on other areas and by getting people from other areas and speakers of non-Western languages involved as linguists themselves. There's also a bit of a feedback loop where, for example, a historical linguistics class could certainly be taught based on the Austronesian family-- there's plenty of data and it's also conveniently very clean data (often languages separated on different islands and not in too much contact after separation), but we've all been taught in classes mostly about Indo-European history for reasons of tradition, available textbooks, the knowledge of our instructors, etc. Things are improving, slowly, especially as some of the areas of research about European languages begin to dry up (relatively few big new things are left to be discovered, although even for English many minor details that could have profound influence on theory are still being investigated and debated). So, for example, as prior Indo-Europeanists turn their attention to other areas, because they already have a reasonable understanding of IE and aren't answering many new questions, we might see more of a focus on other areas.

The familiar will probably always dominate discussions, questions and research, but we can work on also representing other things well, and also shifting what is familiar. Intro to Linguistics classes around the world should emphasize signed languages more, for example, because that is a severely understudied area, even more than geographically diverse oral languages. It's happening, but slowly.

Especially at the amateur level, it shouldn't be surprising that people are interested in things close to them. But there are also plenty of questions about things elsewhere including on this forum.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.