State of the Blog: Second Decade

Blogging here at Freelance Reconstruction has been slowing down in recent times, as we approach the 10-year anniversary of its WordPress iteration, coming up just at the start of the next year. [1] In 2013–2019 I have been writing about 1–2 articles per month; in the 2020s so far, less than 10 per year. To be sure, some of life’s external issues and circumstances have also been getting in the way, starting already with the obvious: CoViD-19 and issues downstream of it. But this also coincides with me finally being now at the rank of a graduate student, and being not just welcomed but expected (as of this year, by actual funders even [2]) now put out my ideas as proper peer-reviewed publications. There is a whole bunch of work to do on this. Or indeed re-do: it feels like every article draft I sketch out ends up with at least one footnote to the effect “for earlier discussion of this, see Pystynen 2014 [blogpost]”.

Another turning point approaches too: where this blog will, at last, have more published than unpublished posts, both being at ca. 160. This may give a hint to what extent I have also quite a lot of unpublished research, most again formulated back in the mid-2010s, still stewing in my blog drafts. This is a situation that definitely calls for skipping over a step in the publication pipeline and refactoring this corpus, too, into other forms, now that I am able to do so. And this also does mean much fewer blog posts coming out as intended.

Even a third venue to air my ideas is by now moreover the Finnic Etymological Wiki Database, which I have been setting up over these same few years, under the folds of our project on writing a new etymological dictionary of Finnish (which uh, I don’t think I’ve ever announced here in detail; partly since it’s being written in Finnish). The platform is intended not just as a data backend for the dictionary, but also for discussion among scholars, e.g. for proposing new etymological ideas that do not seem quite ready for publication just yet. I’m by now doing this with some frequency, instead of spending more work on turning them into etymology squibs here (sample: is Mordvinic čakš ~ šakš ‘pot’ not a cognate of Old Finnish haaksi ‘ship’, but maybe a derivative from čava ‘plate’, if from earlier *šaɣa?). — Any colleagues interested in this, and with serious familiarity with Finnic etymology at least, are also welcome to request an account from me or the rest of the moderation team for contributing to the discussion.

By no means do I wish to abandon blogging altogether. But I may aim to shift away from the more effort-demanding blogposts to the effect of a mini-research article, at least as long as blogposts continue to be neglected by the powers-that-be as a recognized type of research output. Perhaps I will focus more here on reviewing issues, or bringing up points already made about them in the literature, than on presenting major syntheses on what to do with them. It remains to be seen how this will work out. But you can probably at least expect to see the next few Uralic reconstruction posts appearing here to be rather in this paradigm. Of course posting of other matters, e.g. on the state, context, philosophy and methodology of historical linguistics, is likely also going to be continuing on to the next decade. And maybe I will yet get around to re-hauling the site’s appearence or organization, as already hinted in 2019.

Thanks to all readers and commenters, and see you in the rest of the 2020s!

[1] The decennary of my linguistics blogging altogether has already slipped by about a month ago…
[2] I would also like to take an opportunity here to issue my thanks to Ante Aikio and Martin Kümmel for letters of recommendation to go with my funding pitch.

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5 comments on “State of the Blog: Second Decade
  1. David Marjanović says:

    Another turning point approaches too: where this blog will, at last, have more published than unpublished posts, both being at ca. 160.

    I just said “whoa” out loud. I’m so introverted I don’t even cry when I’m alone…

  2. Y says:

    Beyond the specific interest to Uralicists (which I, alas, am not), this blog has been great for presenting the craft of historical linguistics, in a detail that is not in any textbook or handbook. A “problems and solutions in Uralic historical linguistics” monograph, based on some of these blog entries, could be a wonderful thing.

  3. Andreas Johansson says:

    As a relatively new reader, I thought I’d take the opportunity to chip in and say thanks for an interesting blog that I hope will continue going strong.

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