Linkday #5: Free Resources in Linguistics (Uralic & Otherwise)

I try to keep my sidebar at a manageable size by limiting it to blogs and resources on historical linguistics; but there are obviously many other linguistics sites worth checking out out there as well. One not strictly directly neighboring blog I’ve enjoyed for a while now for has been Humans Who Read Grammars (frequency of gratuitous .gif usage aside perhaps); their most recent post is perhaps exceptionally useful as a concept, in compiling a brief “list of lists of lists” on linguistic resources. (I wonder if a more centralized location such as Glottopedia would be optimal for compiling this type of work eventually.)

Which then brings me to one section on the meta-list: lists of open access journals in linguistics, one compiled by George Walkden, another in-house by HWRG. I am happy to note that Uralic studies seem to be quite well-represented, ranging from traditional establishment journals such as Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja (Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne) (est. 1886) to newcomers such as Finno-Ugric Languages and Linguistics (est. 2012). At least one older journal also seems to have recently joined the ranks without me having noticed this before: Études Finno-Ougriennes, France’s only regular publication in the field, now added to my links. As could be expected of a slightly older journal (est. 1964), currently only a newer issues are available online. I would still hope to see them expand their coverage further back eventually, though. From what I have heard from the SUSA crew, copyright issues may be of some trouble with digitizing backcatalogue from a few decades back; but surely not undealwithable. The best example for this in Uralic studies is perhaps Hungary’s long-running Nyelvtudományi Közlemények, whose comprehensive online archive spans more than 150 years of issues! — from 1862 to 2015 (though they remain excluded from being considered an open access publication due to their embargo on the most recent issues).

Maybe these developments will also help a bit in dispelling Uralic studies’ alleged status as an arcane and poorly accessible subfield of linguistics. Now, in part this dubious fame is surely a language barrier issue: having substantial amounts of literature only available in Finnish, Hungarian or Russian is a hurdle for most people of any background. And for today’s scholars used to the convenience of literature being available mostly in English, the long-and-thin research history of Uralic studies moreover also makes more substantial demands in German and partly French reading skills than many other subfields. Easy access to literature will therefore not fix everything right away… It will still be a big help for many of us following along from home; I have myself recently moved further away from downtown Helsinki and I am already missing convenient university library access 20 minutes away. Yet it’s also clear that, at least in comparative-historical Uralistics, we continue to be lacking accessible up-to-date reference materials on many of the basics of our field. (I could mention also the lack of reference grammars or dictionaries that would be up to modern standards for many languages — though we’re probably still well ahead of the global curve on this.) That target is regardless drawing slowly closer.

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One comment on “Linkday #5: Free Resources in Linguistics (Uralic & Otherwise)
  1. crculver says:

    Which then brings me to one section on the meta-list: lists of open access journals in linguistics, one compiled by George Walkden, another in-house by HWRG. I am happy to note that Uralic studies seem to be quite well-represented

    Not only open-access, but free to publish in. So far I have managed to publish two papers in respected journals in this field (LU and JSFOu), without having to pay any money at all, whether to publish the paper or to get a copy of it upon publication. Publishing was completely accessible and straightforward for me, someone without a grant or any institutional support. When discussions of publishing come up in more general fora, and scientists or scholars from other humanities fields complain bitterly about the expense of publishing, it makes me appreciate just how lucky we are in our particular niche of linguistics.

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