[Lingtyp] Ethnologue goes for paid access

Hedvig Skirgård hedvig.skirgard at gmail.com
Thu Dec 31 01:57:45 UTC 2015


Hi,

The main use I have of Ethnologue is for looking up population stats, which
I can also do elsewhere but it's more cumbersome.

Many of the other functions I get elsewhere.

Endangerment level - UNESCO's Atlas
Codes and classification - Glottolog
Genealogies - Glottolog or MultiTree
Alternative names - Glottolog

Then there's some summaries and calculations like Greenberg Diversity
Index, indigenous vs immigrant languages, the "statistics" pages and some
more functions that Glottolog could do maybe sometime in future, but
doesn't right now.

What are the main uses for the linguists in this mailing list for
Ethnologue?

Best,
Hedvig

*Hedvig Skirgård*
PhD Candidate
The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity

ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific

Rm 4203, H.C. Coombs Building (#9)
The Australian National University

Acton ACT 2601

Australia

Ph: +61 (0)451 878 060

E: hedvig.skirgard at anu.edu.au

On 31 December 2015 at 12:49, Everett, Daniel <DEVERETT at bentley.edu> wrote:

> The issue is not whether SIL will discontinue the service. It is whether
> the support will be sufficient to meet the expectations of the academic
> community.
>
> On the one hand, I am concerned that SIL has taken so long to make any
> public statement about this. But on the other, the more fundamental
> question is whether it is appropriate for data bases of this type to be
> kept and controlled exclusively by a missionary organization. That is not a
> problem for SIL. It can build any data base it wants. That is a problem for
> the academic community.
>
> As was discussed at an LSA meeting several years ago, via a panel
> organized by Lise Dobrin (and which I participated in with several others),
> a concern that was expressed had to do with the fact that as the academic
> community allows SIL to take on a quasi-official capacity in certain areas,
> e.g. the Ethnologue, SIL thereby is able to further the myth that it is an
> academic organization, when in reality (as I know having been a member of
> SIL from 1976-2002) it is a missionary organization, its members dedicated
> to the establishment of churches among indigenous communities around the
> world. The church support for the Ethnologue is not for the furtherance of
> scientific research but to have a more accurate assessment of Bible
> translation needs of the world’s languages.
>
> That might be fine for some, but I think it is time that the academic
> community think about funding for a parallel project. Otherwise, no one
> should be concerned about paying the fee. This is the only way SIL seems to
> be able to support the project and if interested academics are willing to
> cede that responsibility to SIL, then they ought not to complain or worry
> about fees.
>
> In any case, I don’t use Ethnologue much anymore so am indifferent to the
> outcome. I simply believe that it is worth discussing the general
> situation, perhaps at a LingTyp meeting, and LSA, etc.
>
> Dan
>
> On Dec 30, 2015, at 8:24 PM, Les Bruce <les_bruce at sil.org> wrote:
>
> I don’t think we need fear that Ethnologue will be discontinued by SIL.
> People like Joe and Barbara Grimes who pioneered this work have been
> strongly supported by their constituency who have appreciated the academic
> work of these people.
>
> Les Bruce
>
> *From:* Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org
> <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org>] *On Behalf Of *Everett,
> Daniel
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 30, 2015 3:41 PM
> *To:* Martin Haspelmath
> *Cc:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> *Subject:* Re: [Lingtyp] Ethnologue goes for paid access
>
> It is not at all clear that SIL is trying to make money. Maintaining these
> pages costs thousands of dollars per month and, as Martin says, SIL has no
> academic funding. Its funding comes from churches by and large and they
> have no particular interest in supporting non-mission related academics. I
> strongly urge the academic community to develop its own resources in this
> area.
>
> DLE
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>
> On Dec 30, 2015, at 16:28, Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>
> wrote:
>
> Yes, that's true, and here's the description:
> http://www.ethnologue.com/ethnoblog/m-paul-lewis/ethnologue-launches-subscription-service
>
> They say you can access seven data pages per month for free.
>
> I don't find this surprising. Ethnologue (and the entire academic branch
> of SIL) has no proper academic funding, so it's normal that they are trying
> to make some money out of their flagship publication.
>
> Incidentally, Glottolog has no proper funding either, but as it is now
> hosted by MPI-SHH in Jena (http://www.shh.mpg.de/48816/research_outline),
> at least its continued existence is assured for the next dozen years or so.
>
> (I think we should try to tell our administrators that it makes little
> sense to try to sell academic publications. Instead, they should by
> properly funded by the academic publishers themselves, in order not to
> drive academics even further into questionable practices
> <http://www.frank-m-richter.de/freescienceblog/2015/12/18/is-our-scholarship-based-on-illegal-foundations/>
> .)
>
> Martin
> On 30.12.15 22:16, Peter Arkadiev wrote:
>
> Dear all,
>
>
>
> does any one know whether the access to the Ethnologue is going to be by paid subscription only? When trying to routinely access the information about a random language, I got a screen advertising paid subscription for $60 per year, and there is no way to bypass it and get access to the information which was freely available a week ago. This looks pretty distressing.
>
>
>
> Best,
>
>
>
> Peter
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
>
> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>
> Kahlaische Strasse 10
>
> D-07745 Jena
>
> &
>
> Leipzig University
>
> Beethovenstrasse 15
>
> D-04107 Leipzig
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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