Linguistics research (formerly There is/there are)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Dec 1 17:06:34 UTC 2004

Last week I posted a question here from a graduate student at NYU about a research problem in English grammar.  Benjamin Zimmer kindly replied with a couple of very pertinent-seeming references, one from a new linguistics journal (Journal of Language and Linguistics, vol. 2, 2003) and the other from a book of studies published in 2000 by Mouton de Gruyter (Contact-induced language change).

I have just checked the MLA International Bibliography and Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts for these two references and found neither.  If the 2003-dated study really appeared in 2003 it ought not to be so recent that the current on-line MLA shouldn't be expected to have it.  And it also seems that the MLA did not cover the first volume of this journal, either.   Neither did LLBA cover vol. 1.

The linguistics portion of the MLA bibl. is clearly a step-sister to the literary portion -- which I'm not greatly fond of, either, actually -- but what is a better database for linguistics purposes?

Have any of you any experience with the database forms of either Bibliographie linguistique de l'annee or BLL: Bibliographische Literatur-Linguistik?

Bibliographie linguistique de l'annee is available on line, for free --  It has 6 articles by Miyamoto, (author of the 2003 study) but not this one.  If I recall, LLBA had 10.  The article by Britain & Sudbury (from the 2000 book) seems not to be there either.  The on-line version is more current than the print form.  The most recent article by Miyamota cited in the online file was from 2003, whereas the latest print volume covers 1999 (printed 2003).  On the other hand, the on-line subject access is as limited as in the printed form, except that key-words from the titles are searchable, a dubious benefit in a multilingual database.  It also seems that it didn't cover the 1st volume of this journal either.

BLL: Bibliographische Literatur-Linguistik is available only for pay.  I was invited to enroll for a free test drive, but will wait until I am ready to give it a more thorough test than at present.

As a further complication, I don't find the journal "Journal of Language and Linguistics" in either RLIN or OCLC.  Both want to foist off on me a journal that's primarily in Thai and has a somewhat different title.  So perhaps I am being too stern to blame the MLA & the others for not listing the Miyamoto aticle, but the basic question remains: when you folks have to research a problem in linguistics, what general linguistics database do you find most serviceable.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

"We have seen the best of our time.  Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves."  King Lear, Act 1, scene 2 (Gloucester speaking).

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