Studies focusing on how and why language changes.
This collection is ScienceOpen's first linguistics collection - and, to my knowledge, its first collection that might be said to fall into the humanities rather than the sciences. There are many reasons for this state of affairs. For one, the humanities lag behind the sciences in both green and gold open access - though linguistics is leading the way (perhaps unsurprisingly, given its liminal status straddling the whole range from arts to hard science). But we ought to start somewhere.
Researchers in the field of historical linguistics and language change are likely to find this collection unrepresentative of the field as a whole. What is included in the collection so far is heavily skewed towards mathematical and computational modelling of language change, with more use of the word "evolution" than is normally found in historical linguistics papers, and some of the authors are not linguists by training - this is a natural bias given the origin of most of these articles in repositories such as arXiv. Ultimately the collection ought to become more representative, and I aim to include papers from all areas of the field - but this will only happen if publication practices change correspondingly (and ideally if ScienceOpen starts to draw content from sources such as lingBuzz). If you're a historical linguist, you can start today by publishing your work on ScienceOpen and letting me know!
The Language Change collection has become substantially larger thanks to the partnership between Brill Publishing and ScienceOpen. All three of the journals presented - Indo-European Linguistics, Journal of Greek Linguistics and Language Dynamics and Change - contain juicy language-change-related papers, and I have added a generous selection of them to the collection. Browse to find out more!
The collection still has its biases, which I'd like to redress: there's a lot on computational phylogenetic work (from arXiv, from more "sciency" OA journals, and from Language Dynamics and Change), and a lot on early Indo-European (from Indo-European Linguistics and Journal of Greek Linguistics). There isn't much on languages outside Europe, and there isn't much in the way of variationist sociolinguistic studies of change in progress. There also isn't much from the grammaticalization and historical pragmatics literature.
These defects can only be remedied if people help out! We need more OA journals in these areas, and more people to get involved with ScienceOpen and other big players in the Open Access scene. You can read more about open access in linguistics at my blog, which tries to summarize and report news across the whole field - not just language change.
It'd also be great to see more reviews! A review by Lauren Collister of a paper in this collection won the Peer Review Week 2016 competition, which is good to see. In the era of post-publication peer review I'm not attempting to be very selective in what I include in this collection - in fact I haven't read the full text of most of the papers. Which papers are top and which are flop is for the readers to decide, and to communicate to each other!
Till next time,
|Main image credit:|
|Background image credit:|
A page from the Gothic Codex Argenteus. Image is from Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain.
|ScienceOpen disciplines:||General linguistics|
|Keywords:||historical linguistics, cultural evolution, language change, diachronic linguistics|