Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Sep 28 14:31:41 UTC 2001

Let me second much of what Lynne has outlined below.

First, our visibility among linguists of every stripe has increased
dramatically since we began meeting with LSA. As those who attend the
annual meeting will note, the rooms are crowded for nearly every
presentation (not just Word of the Year), and the crowd comes from
many who attend the LSA for purposes other than dialectology and
language variation, I assure you. Furthermore, our cooperation with
NWAV over the last few years and our long-standing cooperation with
the International Methods in Dialectology Conference has brought us
to the attention of mainstream variationists or sociolinguists, many
of whom had odd ideas about dialectology and dialectologists. They
have also been educated. I do not want to cast aspersions on New
Paltz's phonologist, but I suspect Lynne's characterization might be
correct. It would be hard to attend any recent LSA meeting and, if
nothing else, ignore the screaming in the hallways as the Word of the
Year makes itself known.

Second, we should make a bigger splash at NCTE and perhaps other
venues which attract teachers of language and languages. I hasten to
point out, however, that many members are involved in not just
time-to-time consulting with schools and appearances in schools. Walt
Wolfram, one of our Past-Presidents, for example, has developed
curricula in Washington, D.C. Baltimore, and North Carolina
specifically devised around language and variety and prepared for
schools and teachers. Many others in our Society have carried out
perhaps less elaborate but similar research and curriculum programs,
including many of us who are even more frequently consulted for and
are cooperating in creating TV, Public Radio, and other information
dissemination programs.

All in all, I'd say the ADS was making itself better and better
known, both among professionals and the general public. Let's keep it
up, and let's not berate ourselves too harshly when we find out next
week that there's a semanticist on the West Coast who also hasn't
heard of us. I'd rather conclude it wasn't a very good semanticist.


>--On Friday, September 28, 2001 9:19 am -0400 Barnhart
><ADS-L at HIGHLANDS.COM> wrote:
>>The point I was bringing up has been shunted aside.
>I'm not sure who the teachers are that you think should know about us.  I
>think the original problem was that someone's phonology instructor at New
>Paltz didn't know.  If you want greater visibility among non-dialectologist
>linguists, then I'd suggest more announcements of ADS activities and
>resources to the Linguist List, since almost everyone reads that.
>If the question is about school teachers knowing about us, I'd first ask,
>why should they?  But if we wanted better school visibility, I'd say we
>need more interaction with the National Council of Teachers of English.
>My guess, though is that the New Paltz instructor was either a TA who's not
>yet on top of things, a theoretician who has no time for 'applied' matters
>such as dialectology, or someone without an active research life.  There
>are always going to be such people who don't know about the professional
>societies related to one's field, and so I don't see that the failure of
>one instructor to know about ADS is cause for any panic.
>M Lynne Murphy
>Lecturer in Linguistics
>School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
>University of Sussex
>Brighton BN1 9QH
>phone +44-(0)1273-678844
>fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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