Linguist Forum

Specializations => Typology and Descriptive Linguistics => Topic started by: isauk on July 04, 2014, 07:37:40 AM

Title: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 04, 2014, 07:37:40 AM

are any of you familiar with how unpublished material is typically accessed? i know that such works /can/ be accessed, because bits of information will end up being published in other works, but how does one go about finding the the unpublished works themselves? do any of you know any of the details of this process?
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: Daniel on July 04, 2014, 11:21:32 AM
As a general rule, you should try to only cite published material. There are exceptions, but they should be exceptions, for a reason.
So trying to find unpublished material is generally not a good idea. Instead, you should try to find material, and usually go with published sources. If you come across something that isn't published but is still useful, you can then additionally cite that, as an unpublished source. In some cases, unpublished material may be most of what's available (for example, field notes on some obscure language), and this may fit the project. But when you can, use published sources.

There are generally four categories of courses:
1. Published (journal articles, books, etc.)
2. In press / forthcoming (same, but not yet published, just in progress and fairly reliably going to be available officially soon)
3. Semi-published material like conference presentations and theses. These are harder for others to find and review, but still "count" in your bibliography. Do check for published versions of the material, though.
4. Unpublished material-- manuscripts, notes, websites, etc.


When you do cite the non-published sources, it's a judgment call to see what fits best. Cite them as such.

"Unpublished manuscript" is a common citation form-- the implication is that the material will eventually be published. (I admit as a reader, though, it can be annoying to not know where to find the final article if I'm reading the document 10 years later and I want to read it too!)
"Personal communication" (or p.c.) is used to refer to comments from someone (usually an authority on a topic) that aren't available in any published work. You might contact a field worker, for example, to ask about an additional construction not shown in their published grammar.
Finally, with the internet as it is now, there are a lot of easy to access (and generally reliable) ways to get papers. Some permanent repositories are the best, while personal websites also offer paper drafts. In these cases, it's crucial that you cite the URL so that, hopefully, others can refer to the same material.

In the end, make sure you have some published sources and that you only use unpublished sources when you need to. You don't really need to go out looking for them, but if you want to, just a google search will turn up a lot, or you can contact authors who you know work on the topic, or check their websites. There's a lot of material out there.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 04, 2014, 06:03:42 PM

i think you might've misunderstood my question. --- i have no desire to cite anything. (and actually, i have no desire even to publish any of my own writing. if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.) --- i simply want to learn. that's all. that's my only reason for wanting to find unpublished material.

so,, for example, the chimariko language is one of those sorts of languages that's very difficult to find information on. but supposedly it's actually fairly well documented. so,,, one could conceivably learn quite a lot about it, except that most of that documentation is unpublished! so how does one get a hold of it then?? i know that it /can/ be gotten a hold of because i've come across other books that mention information on the language (and oftentimes even admit to having gotten it from unpublished sources). but then, how do these authors access that unpublished material? ---- i'm guessing you probably don't know the answer to this though, since it would appear that you see no reason to read unpublished materials and therefore have probably never tried finding any.



Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: jkpate on July 04, 2014, 10:04:56 PM
are any of you familiar with how unpublished material is typically accessed?

Publication is how works are `typically' made available, and there is no typical way for unpublished material to be accessed (although the internet is changing this to some extent for new works). Something that isn't published could be anything: notes taken during fieldwork, a personal journal, a paper that was repeatedly rejected from journals, a paper written for a course, a project that somebody did for their own enrichment, a summary of preliminary results to decide the future direction of a project, and so on. There's no standard repository of `everything anybody has ever written' that you could consult.

Have you seen Carmen Jany's (published) Chimariko grammar (http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520098756)? It's well over 200 pages and so should provide a lot of useful information. It does look like Kroebel's original field notes about Chimariko vocabulary (http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/Exhibits/anthro/5research2_chimariko.html) are available at Berkeley's library, if you're up for a road trip, but there might be restrictions on handling the notebook itself.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: Daniel on July 05, 2014, 04:00:31 AM
Quote
if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.
???
Citations are the core of academia. They're annoying to use but incredibly useful. They act like the internet is linking websites together-- you can view one article and find another that is related, and track down who said what and where you can go for more information. In fact, I can definitely say that you won't ever get anything published if you avoid citations. You can publish fiction, even possibly some kinds of general textbooks or nonfiction for a broad audience, but in those cases the reputability of the work is usually based on the authority/reputation of the author, which usually is based on published research which would have citations.


Anyway, as jkpate said, publication is the main way to share material. Unpublished material is available in various ways, but unreliably:
1. Personal websites (or personal accounts on websites like academia.edu)
2. Some special collections (and rare volumes) in libraries
3. Random websites (from wikipedia to whatever else you can think of)
4. Databases/collections such as some fieldwork collections, some of which are available to the public.
5. Repositories at individual universities (often associated with the library) where individuals (students/faculty) can upload papers.

But the vast majority of that is just in progress work that will eventually be published. You can see it ahead of time, but it's not a totally different category.

Finally, in many cases you can contact the author and they'll be interested in sharing their work with you. But of course sometimes it won't be ready and they may not yet want to share unorganized notes. Also, you should really consider how your approach to not citing will work in that situation-- citations are a sign of respect and sharing of information-- if you don't cite people that's probably plagiarism and will discourage anyone from wanting to share their work with you. In fact, getting citations of their work is a motivating factor for sharing it with you.


But there's a much better approach to finding reliable information (the whole point is that unpublished material may not be reliable-- that's why it's not published, either due to the author or publishers deciding it's not ready!!). Instead, you should use citations, and resources like Google scholar. Track down rare materials. Often a university library will offer ways to acquire material they do not have, such as an inter-library loan service where they can order a rare book for you from another library for a short term. Basically everyone working in academia operates like this. There aren't mystery linguists out there hiding what they write and refusing to publish. There's probably some in progress work you can get if you contact the authors, but that's not going to be all that much, most likely.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 05, 2014, 08:44:54 AM
Have you seen Carmen Jany's (published) Chimariko grammar (http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520098756)? It's well over 200 pages and so should provide a lot of useful information.

yes, i've seen it, and i found it only mildly informative (then again, i tend to be kinda picky when it comes to grammars and so i should maybe i should give it another chance). but it's based (entirely, i think) on harrington's unpublished field notes, and that's exactly the sort of question i'm trying to get an answer to here.,,, how was jany able to get a hold of harrington's unpublished works?

It does look like Kroebel's original field notes about Chimariko vocabulary (http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/Exhibits/anthro/5research2_chimariko.html) are available at Berkeley's library, if you're up for a road trip, but there might be restrictions on handling the notebook itself.

i think this is the answer to the question (and actually, i didn't even know kroeber had worked with chimariko,, which isn't to say i'm going to drive down to san francisco now). these unpublished works are housed at a libraries, but you can't check them out or have them sent from one place to another through ILL, and there are no copies that have ever been made of them. and so, you have to go, in person, to whatever library happens to have the work you're interested in, and check yourself into a special room with someone standing there watching you for the whole time you're looking over it. so,, i guess that's what people like carmen jany have to do to get their books written.

Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 05, 2014, 10:22:30 AM


Anyway, as jkpate said, publication is the main way to share material. Unpublished material is available in various ways, but unreliably:
1. Personal websites (or personal accounts on websites like academia.edu)...

maybe i haven't expressed myself clearly enough. ---- i do not have some sort of strange preference that materials be unpublished rather than published, or anything insane like that. my goal is not to reject all published materials and then find ways to get a hold of all the unpublished information that's ever been spewed by some wacko on his blog. --- (i find it weird that i'm even having to clarify this right now.) --- my desire is only to get good information. for very well-represented languages, like quechua or inuit, it would be asinine to try to locate old, incomplete, unpublished works because there are already so many comprehensive published works (not to mention the fact that these languages still have lots of speakers). but for lots of the less common languages (like kutenai, for example), the unpublished stuff is your only option. it's that, or it's nothing. --- those of us who wish to learn about such languages then have choice other than to resort to the unpublished works (which isn't wacko website stuff, but rather simply field notes and the like carried out by people who often had a pretty good idea of what they were doing but for whatever reason never got around to finishing organizing their notes). --- so,, i hope that clarifies what i've been saying.

Citations are the core of academia. They're annoying to use but incredibly useful. They act like the internet is linking websites together-- you can view one article and find another that is related, and track down who said what and where you can go for more information.

first of all, don't assume that i have any interest whatsoever in following the ways of academia (especially when it comes to linguistics). for all you know, i'm flat out anti-academia.

secondly, i have nothing against directing readers toward more detailed information, and do not oppose the idea of bibliography sections in books or even superscripts and footnotes. as a general rule of thumb, i'm all for usefulness. but the idea that citations in academia come down to usefulness is a bit of a half truth (or,, probably some much smaller fraction). it's more about credit. ----- so now,,, here's the question: is there ever a time when credit is at odds with utility or conduciveness to learning? i think it would be silly to insist that these things are never at odds, which means there are necessarily going to be times when using a citation (as opposed to not using one) comes at some cost. the next question then is,,,, what's more important? credit or education/usefulness??? --- personally, i go with the latter,,, but that's just me...

Also, you should really consider how your approach to not citing will work in that situation-- citations are a sign of respect and sharing of information-- if you don't cite people that's probably plagiarism and will discourage anyone from wanting to share their work with you. In fact, getting citations of their work is a motivating factor for sharing it with you.

thanks for the advice. ---- so,,, now the main reason (or one of the main reasons) why i should be using citations is for the purposes of furthering my own work?? -- has it ever occurred to you though that that might not be in the best interest of getting the public to understand linguistic concepts??

In fact, I can definitely say that you won't ever get anything published if you avoid citations.

maybe so. and did you not see earlier when i said that i will probably never publish any of my writings? -- really though,, i have to wonder. if i were writing something about how adjectives follow nouns in french, then would i have to give a citation for where i learned this?? -- why should some papuan language be any different then? --- if i do happen to learn about a papuan language from some book, rather than talking to a speaker of that language, then does it really matter? i might also have only learned about french from a book. ----- i think a lot of this comes down to the fact that a lot of writers actually *want* to litter their books with citations, and that there are certain readerships who also want this. but what makes you think i would ever be interested in targeting those sorts of people??

there's no reason to assume here that you and i have any of the same goals. i am largely interested in public understanding, and would not want to compromise this simply to fit in or follow a bad convention. -- obviously, by getting your work published you can reach a larger audience, but this must be weighed against what you lose by structuring your work in a certain way (not to mention the fact that many (if not most) people who buy books don't actually read them (or even open them) anyway). ---- now,,, i can only imagine that you don't see any harm in citations (correct me if i'm wrong), and i really have no desire to try to convince you of what i think here (since i've had already had so many dozens (hundreds?) of discussions about the strategics of promoting ideas to the public, and ultimately it's not like there are any studies on the subject, which means it usually comes down to a person's own personal experiences), but i personally happen to find citations very annoying (like how you said), but not only in terms of using them but also in terms of reading them. what i *think* then is that other people (not professional linguists, but rather regular people) are deterred by citations (or worse, that even when they try to put up with them, it drastically obstructs their learning rate). and since reaching the general public is my goal, this concerns me. in general i have MANY issues with how things are written, and believe that even the simplest of tweakings could have major impacts on public understanding. maybe i'm wrong, but i'm not going to be convinced otherwise by simply being told "no, citations don't obstruct learning", and i'm certainly not going to be convinced that i should do things a certain way solely for the purposes of fitting in with some convention when my concern regarding public understanding are not being taken into account.

You can publish fiction, even possibly some kinds of general textbooks or nonfiction for a broad audience, but in those cases the reputability of the work is usually based on the authority/reputation of the author, which usually is based on published research which would have citations.

if you pander to such ideas for the purposes of making money, then fine. but if you're really trying to get ideas out there, and change how people think about things, that i really don't think there's much value at all in compromising your work simply to fit it into this system. realistically speaking, i think a very small percentage of buyers of books actually ever read them, and i think probably an even smaller percentage of readers will actually read things /carefully/. trying then even just to get a foot into the door with the publishing world seems like a total lost cause to me.











Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 05, 2014, 11:14:03 AM
Perhaps this is overly obvious, but the vast, vast majority of unpublished manuscripts are obtained by asking their authors for copies.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: jkpate on July 05, 2014, 05:44:28 PM
Perhaps this is overly obvious, but the vast, vast majority of unpublished manuscripts are obtained by asking their authors for copies.

Yes, this is true for manuscripts, but does this happen often for original, one-of-a-kind field notes? I'd imagine that whoever has them would feel a responsibility to protect them, and distribute them only to people that they trust. I don't know what isauk has in mind, but I doubt that a request by a general member of the public for field notes would be successful. On the other hand, if isauk is running some organization that educates the public about understudied languages, then maybe a request would be successful (although for Chimariko there would still be a question as to why the published grammar is inadequate for educating the general public).
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 05, 2014, 11:42:40 PM
Absolutely. I didn't mean to imply that a request for unpublished material will necessarily be successful. Especially coming from a stranger, it almost never will be: not for manuscripts, and definitely not for fieldnotes. Nevertheless, of the cases in which researchers do reference unpublished material, that material was generally gotten by asking the original author directly.

There are exceptions to this for the very famous and influential (i.e., Kroeber), who often find every drop of ink they've ever spilled stuck in an archive somewhere after their death. But, once that kind of material lands in a public or semi-public archive, it's not really unpublished anymore (or at the very list it shouldn't be listed as "unpublished" in a bibliography reference).
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: Corybobory on July 06, 2014, 04:36:10 AM
How can you be anti-academia, but be searching for academic materials?
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 06, 2014, 06:36:50 AM

@ malfet and jkpate,

guys, i'm talking about situations where the authors are dead., and where even though the works of these dead authors are unpublished, people manage to access them anyway. --- that was all that i was asking about, and i think the answer to that question has already been said.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 06, 2014, 06:49:10 AM
How can you be anti-academia, but be searching for academic materials?

well, i'm also anti-business, and yet i still shop. and i've known people who are anti-government, and yet they vote. you don't have to like a certain system, but if you're living in it then you typically have to follow its ways. in fact, i'm currently in college. the fact that i'm anti-academia is irrelevant here though. i was forced into going to college regardless of what my political/philosophical stance on it is.

but this comes close to missing the point. you're calling the various unpublished field notes, etc, that i'm seeking "academic materials", but in what sense do they qualify as "academic"? --- (i myself have written stuff about languages. does that qualify as "academic material" then?) ------- admittedly, much of the information i've managed to get about languages is from grammars that probably /should/ be considered "academic materials" (and indeed, i often have many complaints about how those grammars are written)., but again, i return to my first point: just because i oppose academia, and have issues with academic writing, it's not as if i have a choice in the matter. it's that or nothing.

Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 06, 2014, 06:52:39 AM

@ malfet and jkpate,

guys, i'm talking about situations where the authors are dead., and where even though the works of these dead authors are unpublished, people manage to access them anyway. --- that was all that i was asking about, and i think the answer to that question has already been said.


If authors are getting documents from an archive and then citing them simply as "unpublished", they are doing so against the norms of bibliographic referencing. Many archives will deny you future access for this kind of thing.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 06, 2014, 08:14:54 AM
If authors are getting documents from an archive and then citing them simply as "unpublished", they are doing so against the norms of bibliographic referencing. Many archives will deny you future access for this kind of thing.

i never said that anyone is doing any such thing.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: Corybobory on July 06, 2014, 08:44:25 AM
What sources are you looking for, and how do you know they exist?  The citations that other people have given will guide you to the material - this is why citations are important. If they haven't cited the material - a title of a work, who it is by, the year it was written, etc - how do you know what you are looking for, and that it exists but is unpublished?
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 06, 2014, 11:20:40 AM
What sources are you looking for, and how do you know they exist? 

if you read through some of the earlier comments, you'll see that these questions have already been covered. in particular, i mentioned harrington's notes on chimariko (although, that's just one example), and the reason i know it exists is because authors like victor golla have not only said that it exists (and that it's unpublished), but have additionally provided samples of it.

The citations that other people have given will guide you to the material - this is why citations are important. If they haven't cited the material - a title of a work, who it is by, the year it was written, etc - how do you know what you are looking for, and that it exists but is unpublished?

my views on this have also already been covered on this thread. i am all for information being given on how to further research something. my issue is with the ways in which it must be done, and the fact that in some cases this might get in the way of education/public-understanding. in the end though, it seems that most people seem to favor citations for the credit aspect of it, and when the interests of credit and public understanding are at odds, credit's interests win out. as someone who is in favor of increasing public understanding though, and who does not care very much at all about people getting credit (especially regarding data on languages, which (as far as i know) cannot be copyrighted or anything like that), i strongly oppose this sentiment. what's more, i do not see this as a trivial matter, but instead think that the system as it currently is greatly compromises learning rates among the general public. ---- but you're welcome to write books how you want, and i'm welcome to write books how i want. to my understanding, there's no legal requirement to credit anyone as long as you're not charging any money for what you've written., and with the internet, i really don't know that getting a work published is all that important for getting the message out there anyway (especially considering that the number of books sold tends not to imply that anywhere near that many people have actually read it).

Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 06, 2014, 12:00:16 PM
If authors are getting documents from an archive and then citing them simply as "unpublished", they are doing so against the norms of bibliographic referencing. Many archives will deny you future access for this kind of thing.

i never said that anyone is doing any such thing.


Well okay then. If you're looking for texts that are properly cited, you should generally check the bibliography. Bibliographies are conventionally printed at the end of scholarly works. For example, both Jany and Golla indicate that Harrington's fieldnotes are housed at the Smithsonian's Anthropological Archives.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 06, 2014, 02:10:38 PM
Well okay then. If you're looking for texts that are properly cited, you should generally check the bibliography. Bibliographies are conventionally printed at the end of scholarly works. For example, both Jany and Golla indicate that Harrington's fieldnotes are housed at the Smithsonian's Anthropological Archives.

thanks! i would say that that might come in handy, but honestly, now that i know that these unpublished materials can only be accessed by visiting a library (no doubt, very far away from me in most cases) in person, i can't imagine it'll do me much good to know which far-way libraries the materials are being housed at. still, thanks anyway for the information.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: zaba on July 14, 2014, 09:53:24 PM
Quote
if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.

Wha...what???!?!?!!?
Incomprehensible!
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 14, 2014, 11:45:50 PM
Quote
if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.

Wha...what???!?!?!!?
Incomprehensible!

...extra points for irony, given the answer to the OP question.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 24, 2014, 07:04:22 AM

Quote
if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.

Wha...what???!?!?!!?
Incomprehensible!

judge me all you want. you can write your own books your way, and i can write mine my way., and if the way i want to write books is truly something that you're not capable of comprehending, then i don't know what to say. just don't read them, i guess. sorry i couldn't be more comprehensible to you...


...extra points for irony, given the answer to the OP question.

sigh... it's always a little awkward whenever one person thinks they've caught some other person in a contradiction, but when in fact there actually was no contradiction (and even more so when they make a point to be cocky about it). in any case, i've already explained my stance on citations, in detail, twice, and so i don't know that i should repeat myself yet again as i think going into it a third time might just be overkill.

i will go ahead and point out though that while i appreciate your comment (not this most recent underhandedly arrogant one, of course, but rather the more informative one that you left earlier), it doesn't actually answer the original question that i'd had. (in fact, the only one who even attempted to address my question was jkpate.) -- and the citations themselves that you pointed out don't give that information either. they might provide info on where the unpublished field notes are being housed, but not on how one goes about accessing them (or unpublished works in general). so, in many ways, this is a pretty good example of some of the complaints i have with how information is presented in books and how inaccessible it is to so much of the common man.

Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: Daniel on July 24, 2014, 07:37:02 AM
Quote
so, in many ways, this is a pretty good example of some of the complaints i have with how information is presented in books and how inaccessible it is to so much of the common man.
Access to material is a difficult challenge. A big advantage is having access to a good academic library. Citations (in the works of others) are a tool to use. Beyond that, contacting authors of known works or other field researchers is a good way to go. But as I said earlier they won't be supportive of someone who plans to take their work without citing it.



Quote
just don't read them, i guess.
Exactly. No one here is going to stop you from writing however you want, but no one (truly no one) will take you seriously in academia if you don't cite sources. In fact, I have no idea then what you'd be doing-- it isn't "research" or "academic". Maybe it's a hobby? Maybe it's fiction? I don't know what the right label is, because not many people do it (if any). So it's up to you. But our confusion is due to 1) how confusing it is to want to find sources but not cite them, and 2) how this is somewhat insulting to others who appreciate academic collaboration. It's on par with stealing copyrighted materials and informing the authors-- in academia citations are a sign of respect, and intentionally disregarding them comes across as (whether intended or not) a sign of disrespect. It also borders on plagiarism. And 3) I don't think anyone here actually understands why you have that opinion/goal. But again, it's up to you.

Edit: to be fair, maybe what you want is to simply collect information and write about it for yourself, as a sort of journal. That's fine, and there wouldn't be much point (except just in remembering where you read different bits of information) in citing sources. It sounds as if you want to share/publish your work, though, so that's the reason for our comments. If you don't, please say so. I think we really would like to understand your goal in this.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 24, 2014, 08:38:17 AM
i will go ahead and point out though that while i appreciate your comment (not this most recent underhandedly arrogant one, of course, but rather the more informative one that you left earlier), it doesn't actually answer the original question that i'd had. (in fact, the only one who even attempted to address my question was jkpate.) -- and the citations themselves that you pointed out don't give that information either. they might provide info on where the unpublished field notes are being housed, but not on how one goes about accessing them (or unpublished works in general). so, in many ways, this is a pretty good example of some of the complaints i have with how information is presented in books and how inaccessible it is to so much of the common man.

How does the "common man" access unpublished materials? He doesn't. That's the meaning of the word unpublished.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: isauk on July 24, 2014, 11:52:35 AM

Quote
so, in many ways, this is a pretty good example of some of the complaints i have with how information is presented in books and how inaccessible it is to so much of the common man.
Access to material is a difficult challenge.

and

How does the "common man" access unpublished materials? He doesn't. That's the meaning of the word unpublished.


let's try this again. please read more carefully this time.

here's my original quote:

so, in many ways, this is a pretty good example of some of the complaints i have with how information is presented in books and how inaccessible it [i.e. the information] is to so much of the common man.

see the difference between what i actually wrote vs what you guys thought i wrote? -- i wasn't talking about materials not being accessible. i was talking about the information in books (including the information conveyed by citations) being "inaccessible" to the common man (not in the literal sense, but in the sense that it's not written on their level). ----- if that was confusing wording, then sorry, but the point is that the way in which lots of language-oriented books are written is not very user-friendly for most people, and i think that the information presented in books regarding how to get a hold of original sources is a perfect example of this. maybe you guys have no problem using bibliographies/citations (or language-oriented books in general), but i'm not talking about reaching people like you, but rather about reaching the masses.


It sounds as if you want to share/publish your work, though, so that's the reason for our comments. If you don't, please say so. I think we really would like to understand your goal in this.

really?, you all would like to understand my goal? but see, i have to wonder,, is repeating it yet again actually going to work this time?? because so far i think i've made my goals abundantly clear, but people just aren't reading what i write. so,, could you please just pay attention a little more carefully then or something? 

i have many goals, and one of them is to increase public understanding of various sciences. the public understanding of languages in particular is in very bad shape, and i would like to try to fix this if i can. --- now,,, i already write a lot anyway (just to get my thoughts organized), and i think i could write one or more books on languages. i don't really know what good it would do (because i don't know if the general public would actually want to read any of it), but i might attempt it anyway.

would i need to publish my work though in order for it to reach people? i don't know that i would. i think that putting out anonymous stuff on the internet might actually be more effective. (keep in mind that while published books might get more sales, that doesn't mean that people are actually reading them. there's a tendency for people to buy books (especially bestsellers) simply as christmas presents or for decoration, or even just to make themselves feel smarter. so,, trying to spread info via the internet, as opposed to getting published, could actually be a lot more effective.)

but maybe publishing is the smart play after all, in which case i would (as i already said on previous post) avoid citations as much as possible. i don't know whether publishing is the best route or not, but if i end up deciding that it is, then obviously i'll have no choice but to do things however i'm legally required to (or even,,, how my agent insists). ----- either way though, whether i try to publish my work or just get it out there anonymously through the internet, i (as i, once again, already stated on previous posts) would never try to deprive my readers of the opportunity to further their understandings and would happily direct them to other sources of information. i just wouldn't necessarily follow the conventional protocols, and certainly not if i think it obstructs conduciveness to good understanding (and REALLY certainly not if it's for the purposes of credit rather than education). (more precisely, in the event that i'm required to follow certain conventional protocols due to my getting something published, i would avoid those conventional protocols as much as possible.)

what i've noticed though is that many people only claim to be all about education, but in reality all they care about is credit. and so they just have completely different goals than i do (not necessarily different ideas on how best to achieve a goal). since i'm actually very concerned with education then, and don't care at all about matters of credit, i'm bound to disagree with people on this subject, and i think that's what's happening here. i think that the conventional protocols actually get in the way of educating people (and even to directing people to sources of information), and that's why i oppose them.


But our confusion is due to 1) how confusing it is to want to find sources but not cite them...

well,,, before i end up writing anything on languages (and even if i don't ever end up writing anything on languages), i want to try to learn about languages. it's a strange concept, i know, but some of us actually enjoy learning simply for the sake of it (or for the purposes of bettering ourselves or reaching higher understandings), and still try to do it even if it doesn't result in papers with our name written all over it to prove how smart we are...


...and 2) how this is somewhat insulting to others who appreciate academic collaboration. It's on par with stealing copyrighted materials and informing the authors-- in academia citations are a sign of respect, and intentionally disregarding them comes across as (whether intended or not) a sign of disrespect. It also borders on plagiarism.

it's all about credit with you people. --- this is EXACTLY what i'm talking about. you don't care about finding the best system for educating people. all you care about is following all of the rules of this (basically religious/dogmatic) institution. --- you and i are different. i oppose this system. so again,,, we each can write books however we wish.

moreover,,, do you think that people own languages or something?? what exactly do you think it is that i want to "steal" or "plagiarize"? all i want to know (and all i want to share) is information regarding the actual *languages*. now, i asked you a question earlier, and let alone answer it you never even gave any indication that you'd even noticed it (which doesn't surprise me, since you've revealed yourself on numerous occasions to be someone who does not read responses carefully whatsoever), but i'll try again. --- if i wish to write in a book that, in the french language, adjectives come after the nouns rather than before them, then would i need to give a citation for this? would i need to credit whatever source i happened to learn this from? obviously not. but why should a language like chimariko be any different from french? does the fact that it went extinct without being documented very well somehow mean that the few people who were able to collect information about it somehow own that language? maybe you think so, but i disagree wholeheartedly.


...but no one (truly no one) will take you seriously in academia if you don't cite sources. In fact, I have no idea then what you'd be doing-- it isn't "research" or "academic". Maybe it's a hobby? Maybe it's fiction? I don't know what the right label is, because not many people do it (if any).

actually, from what i can tell, i seem to research languages a hell of a lot more than most of the people on this forum (and the old forum too). so,, you're simply incorrect to say that what i'm doing isn't research. but whatever. more importantly, you shouldn't assume that i have any desire whatsoever to be taken seriously by academia. as a general rule of thumb, i don't even like talking to people in academia. as you hopefully realize now, my goal is to reach the *general public* (or the occasional person actually capable of appreciating what i tell them about languages (who, btw, are rarely academics and are never linguists)). and in case you haven't noticed, serious academics are typically not the ones who have had the greatest impact on public understanding anyway. rather, people like merritt ruhlen have had much more influence. why on earth would i even want to bother with academia then, or try to convince them of anything when they're so ineffective at educating the public (which, don't forget, is my main goal in all this)?

Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: Daniel on July 24, 2014, 04:35:56 PM
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see the difference between what i actually wrote vs what you guys thought i wrote? -- i wasn't talking about materials not being accessible. i was talking about the information in books (including the information conveyed by citations) being "inaccessible" to the common man (not in the literal sense, but in the sense that it's not written on their level).
And how is that in any way related to your original question of finding unpublished material? Given the ambiguity of your sentence and the context of your question, you can see how we interpreted it that way.

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maybe you guys have no problem using bibliographies/citations (or language-oriented books in general), but i'm not talking about reaching people like you, but rather about reaching the masses.
And that makes some sense-- this is one of the scenarios in which minimal citations is part of standard practice, and one that I did mention in an earlier post:
Quote from: djr33
You can publish fiction, even possibly some kinds of general textbooks or nonfiction for a broad audience, but in those cases the reputability of the work is usually based on the authority/reputation of the author, which usually is based on published research which would have citations.
I don't see, however, why unpublished material would be a source for such work. In fact, a major problem is, as you have identified, the lack of general knowledge (for the "common man") of specialized fields such as linguistics; the solution, in my opinion, would be to attempt to convey the most reliable and noncontroversial information. Certainly seeking out unpublished sources is an unusual way to go about that.

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because so far i think i've made my goals abundantly clear, but people just aren't reading what i write.
If no one understands you, could it not be because you are unclear? Or possibly you wish to direct these questions to a different audience. We'll be happy to help, but what you are doing is genuinely not clear to us.

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i have many goals, and one of them is to increase public understanding of various sciences. the public understanding of languages in particular is in very bad shape, and i would like to try to fix this if i can. --- now,,, i already write a lot anyway (just to get my thoughts organized), and i think i could write one or more books on languages. i don't really know what good it would do (because i don't know if the general public would actually want to read any of it), but i might attempt it anyway.
So without any qualifications in the field (correct?), you believe that you can take unpublished material and then inform the public about linguistics? Just on a personal note, I'd like to say-- please don't do that. Honestly, that bothers me. I hope you'd understand why.

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would i need to publish my work though in order for it to reach people? i don't know that i would. i think that putting out anonymous stuff on the internet might actually be more effective.
Well, anyone can publish anything on the internet. This is why instructors require students to cite published sources. You're identifying the problem and calling it a solution.

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but maybe publishing is the smart play after all, in which case i would (as i already said on previous post) avoid citations as much as possible.
That emphasis makes your intentions significantly less alarming. But it seems like a strange goal. I think what you mean is actually that you'd like to present the material without the interruption of in text citations, which is not the only way to cite material. Non-fiction works often cite sources, sometimes as a "suggested reading" list or by embedding the work within the text ("as discovered by Jones in a 1990 study, ...."). There are standard practices for such things in the publishing world, and a publisher would help you find the appropriate practice. However, none of that would excuse you from properly tracking your sources and having it all documented. It just wouldn't be presented as in-text citations to the reader. (That is a practice reserved mostly for formal academic publishing.)

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...however i'm legally required to...
It's not legal as much as moral. Plagiarism can be a kind of copyright infringement, but there are more reasons than that to avoid it.

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either way though, whether i try to publish my work or just get it out there anonymously through the internet, i (as i, once again, already stated on previous posts) would never try to deprive my readers of the opportunity to further their understandings and would happily direct them to other sources of information.
Ok, great! So in saying this, it doesn't sound like you're opposed to some kind of citation, but that you are more concerned about the aesthetic nature of the text you produce. That's workable.

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what i've noticed though is that many people only claim to be all about education, but in reality all they care about is credit. and so they just have completely different goals than i do (not necessarily different ideas on how best to achieve a goal). since i'm actually very concerned with education then, and don't care at all about matters of credit, i'm bound to disagree with people on this subject, and i think that's what's happening here. i think that the conventional protocols actually get in the way of educating people (and even to directing people to sources of information), and that's why i oppose them.
1. Please don't overgeneralize that position. Certainly some may be in it for the credit, but I don't believe that's a majority or even a significant minority.
2. Credit is fairly reasonable, if you think about it. Researchers work hard, so the least they should get is credit for what they contributed. It's not a complicated ceremony or national holiday-- it's their name mentioned when their work is discussed. It's not that much to ask for.
3. What do you mean by "education"? The audience that formal research papers are directed toward is expecting that format. And that's the goal. I think you are describing the known fact that technical research papers are not accessible to a more general audience. That's why textbooks, instructors, Wikipedia, and other resources exist.

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well,,, before i end up writing anything on languages (and even if i don't ever end up writing anything on languages), i want to try to learn about languages.
Why, then, do you feel the need to do this in an unconventional way? That is, after all, what all linguists spend their time doing. Yet you oppose that?

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it's a strange concept, i know, but some of us actually enjoy learning simply for the sake of it (or for the purposes of bettering ourselves or reaching higher understandings), and still try to do it even if it doesn't result in papers with our name written all over it to prove how smart we are...
That's rude and inaccurate! There are much, much easier ways to achieve fame and fortune than academia. And more than that, even if there are some individuals to which that applies, it's not all of them. By assuming that those of us here (and in the broader academic world in general) fit that very negative description, you're alienating yourself and coming across as ignorant. Not that I need to prove myself, but perhaps to open your perspective a bit, I'll tell you just a bit about myself. I care much more about learning than formalities; further, I believe languages should be the basis of linguistics (with the eventual goal of developing theories that capture what we have learned), and personally I have studied 18 languages due to my interest in them, often against the advice of advisors who (fully intending to be helpful) suggested I concentrate on finishing research and other program requirements.

I get the impression you have had some bad experiences related to academia, research, etc., and I think that's truly unfortunate. I wish it hadn't made you give up, but rather that you would keep looking to find others like you within academia rather than rebelling against it. I wouldn't like the sort of person you describe either, so maybe you should reconsider just how different we are.

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it's all about credit with you people. --- this is EXACTLY what i'm talking about. you don't care about finding the best system for educating people. all you care about is following all of the rules of this (basically religious/dogmatic) institution. --- you and i are different. i oppose this system. so again,,, we each can write books however we wish.
Again, phrases like "you people" are completely uncalled for. Honestly.
More importantly, it's not all about credit. What I wrote above was mostly an aside to the rest of my post, but I do stand by it: I don't think it's unreasonable to give credit to someone who puts work into something, especially when giving credit isn't otherwise inconvenient. Do you think that everything should be anonymous? No credits in films, and no names for musicians?

The attitude that you'd want to take someone's work and remove them from it seems quite harsh. Does it really have to be "all about credit" for someone to want credit for what they've done? I don't think so, not at all.

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moreover,,, do you think that people own languages or something?? what exactly do you think it is that i want to "steal" or "plagiarize"? all i want to know (and all i want to share) is information regarding the actual *languages*.
That sounds great. And why not credit the people who made it possible? Just like photos of wildlife from around the world, people need to actually go out and spend years describing information about those languages for you to just "have it".
Certainly you're right that the information about the languages is not copyrighted or anything like that, but someone put in effort to gather it, and there is no way to entirely separate an author from a work. Interpretations and such abound in writing. You're never "just" looking at the "language".

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now, i asked you a question earlier, and let alone answer it you never even gave any indication that you'd even noticed it (which doesn't surprise me, since you've revealed yourself on numerous occasions to be someone who does not read responses carefully whatsoever)
If you wish to make this personal, I can just ignore your replies completely. There's no reason to be abrasive. Put a bit of effort into formulating your questions clearly, and be a bit patient with us. No one is out to get you.

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if i wish to write in a book that, in the french language, adjectives come after the nouns rather than before them, then would i need to give a citation for this?
This is the distinction between general knowledge (not cited) and specific knowledge (which should be cited). And that's because French is so well known. However, beyond trivial examples like this, it is good to consult sources for two reasons: 1) it can provide additional reading for someone who wants to know more, and 2) it can move the expectations of details onto that other work, so that someone else can discuss the nuances of adjective-noun order in French (which is NOT, for the record, always adjective-following-noun!), leaving you free to concentrate on your main purpose.

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but why should a language like chimariko be any different from french? does the fact that it went extinct without being documented very well somehow mean that the few people who were able to collect information about it somehow own that language? maybe you think so, but i disagree wholeheartedly.
Obviously discussing French is easier, because it is better documented and generally well known. Therefore, should it be a surprise that you should cite information about the lesser known language? It's not "fair", but neither is the fact that, as you said, one went extinct and the other didn't. More importantly, citing is more important here specifically because that information is less well known, so that your sources can be confirmed (if someone wants to) and can also be reviewed if for some reason there is a mistake in them. Relying on sparse descriptions of an underdocumented language is a harsh reality, but one that emphasizes the need for citation, not one that eliminates it. Further, if there were no citations needed, why not just make things up? That's another point to all of this-- it keeps researchers accountable, and that should be seen as a good thing.

Should information about all languages be made freely available to everyone? Definitely. That sounds great. I'm not sure how to practically accomplish that, but I would support it as a goal. You might want to take a look at the Rosetta Project, which is trying to document (very minimal) facts about all of the worlds languages.
In fact, a few years ago I started building a website that would host such information-- as detailed descriptions of as many languages as possible. Unfortunately I've been busy and haven't been able to finish that. Maybe it's something you'd be interested in discussing with me. I'd like to see that eventually happen.

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actually, from what i can tell, i seem to research languages a hell of a lot more than most of the people on this forum (and the old forum too).
I don't know what to make of this statement. It seems boastful (and I think inaccurate) rather than relevant to the discussion. These days, I spend about 6 hours a day going through sources I've gathered for my dissertation, and a lot of the other hours interacting with Linguistics in one way or another. I can't speak for the others, but I don't know what has given you that impression. Perhaps you're noting that some researchers are less interested in languages broadly, and more interested in very specific (or theoretical) details (in one or several languages). Personally I like your approach more-- looking broadly and trying to see what's out there. But there's a place for the other approach (different goals), and you also shouldn't assume everyone fits one box or the other.

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so,, you're simply incorrect to say that what i'm doing isn't research.
What is "research"? That was my point, nothing more. Reading and writing is research? Perhaps.

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more importantly, you shouldn't assume that i have any desire whatsoever to be taken seriously by academia. as a general rule of thumb, i don't even like talking to people in academia.
Then do your understand are confusion when you want to find unpublished sources within academia, implying you've exhausted the more accessible published sources?

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as you hopefully realize now, my goal is to reach the *general public*
That's an important goal! I support it, as do others. (It would be great to find a way to collaborate with linguists for such a goal, though I admit it may be difficult.)

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(or the occasional person actually capable of appreciating what i tell them about languages (who, btw, are rarely academics and are never linguists))
That just sounds insulting. It would be interesting to reasonably discuss your ideas to work out why there is a disconnect. Have you considered that there may be a legitimate reason why linguists don't take your ideas seriously? Exactly the same frustration you're feeling is experienced (sometimes daily) by linguists dealing with people whose ideas are unfounded and not based on any meaningful understanding of language. But we'd hear you out. Maybe there's something to be learned by discussing/collaborating.

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and in case you haven't noticed, serious academics are typically not the ones who have had the greatest impact on public understanding anyway. rather, people like merritt ruhlen have had much more influence. why on earth would i even want to bother with academia then, or try to convince them of anything when they're so ineffective at educating the public (which, don't forget, is my main goal in all this)?
This is a legitimate problem, with several aspects to consider. One is that the general public (and also via headline-style journalism) is often more interested in exciting stories than knowledge. The details of linguistics are, let's face it, sometimes less than thrilling. Another is that there is a significant gap between intuitive/general understanding of language and the perspective of linguists. Finding a way to bridge that gap would be great.
Personally I'd rather look for a productive solution than to give up on the whole thing though!
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: MalFet on July 24, 2014, 08:40:37 PM
This thread is a dazzling monstrosity.

I was taught how to use a bibliography in sixth grade. If that's now too hard for the "common man", we've got bigger problems than the habits of academic publishing.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: freknu on July 25, 2014, 07:55:36 AM
as you hopefully realize now, my goal is to reach the *general public*

Why do you think the great teachers of popular science — à la Carl Sagan — turn out to be great scientists themselves? To teach science you need an understanding of science, to teach science greatly you need a great understanding of science.

I fear greatly that you do not understand the harm that you inadvertently could cause through your ignorance — which brings me great sadness.
Title: Re: unpublished material
Post by: zaba on July 31, 2014, 08:56:01 AM
@Isauk, what did you end up writing and where did you publish it? Perhaps that phonosemantics guy could recommend a publisher.