Mouton "discounts" for ALT members

Post, Mark at JCU.EDU.AU
Fri Nov 11 00:34:52 UTC 2011

Dear Typologists,

I thank Bill Croft for raising this point, but would further suggest that there is a deeper issue involved, particularly as regards large-scale descriptive work such as grammars and dictionaries. Most work currently being done in language description relates to communities or localities in which institutions and individual scholars alike have so little purchasing power that obtaining an MGL volume is a straightforward impossibility - with or without an ALT or similarly-scaled "discount". While exceptions can be found, the overall effect of this situation is, one, to radically restrict research opportunities in exactly the places where they are often most in demand, and two, to foster inequality among our colleagues. I'm sure I will be reminded that most scholars are aware of this problem, and that there is no point in bringing it up unless I can put forth an acceptable solution. I really wish I could. But I do want to propose that the current status quo is ethically flawed to a very serious extent, and that authors contribute to this problem when we submit our work to publishers whose pricing schemes are so dramatically prohibitive as is MGL's (whatever other merits they may have). I would also warmly welcome suggestions for how matters might be improved from listmembers who might have made more progress in their thinking about potential solutions than I seem to have.

Regards all around,


Mark W. Post
The Cairns Institute
James Cook University
Smithfield, QLD 4878

Tel: +61-7-4042-1898
Eml: at

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] On Behalf Of Bill Croft
Sent: Friday, 11 November 2011 1:28 AM
Subject: Mouton "discounts" for ALT members

Dear typologists,

     Some of you have taken advantage of the discounts that Mouton has 
offered to ALT members for the Mouton Grammar Library and Empirical 
Approaches to Language Typology series. The discount, available in a 
list at the Lingtyp website, used to be around 50% of the (very high) 
list price of the volumes in these series. After 2009, no new volumes 
were added to the discount list. Now the new discount list has 
reappeared but the discount has shrunk to 20%.

    The change in the discount has made the MGL and EALT volumes go 
from (barely) affordable to completely unaffordable to individual 
scholars. This is particularly serious because Mouton volumes are so 
expensive - pretty much the most expensive in the field of 
linguistics - that it is difficult if not impossible for university 
libraries to purchase them. I inquired about the change, and was told 
that De Gruyter decided to standardize the discount for all societies 
at 20%, and since Mouton is owned by De Gruyter, Mouton has to 
conform to De Gruyter policies.

     At this point, according to the current ALT discount list, 
volumes published before 2009 are still available at their original 
discount price. I do not know how long that will last.

    I do not know if it is worth trying, but I would urge members to 
object to this change in policy to Mouton and De Gruyter.

Bill Croft

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