New faces in the old neighborhood

October 4, 2009

When I went on my blogging hiatus some 13 months ago, I didn’t just stop posting here, I stopped reading linguistics blogs altogether. The one unanticipated benefit of my blog fast is that it has been very interesting to reacquaint myself with all the blogs I used to visit. It’s been a bit like visiting an old neighborhood after having been away for, well, 13 months. And I’ve also found some new blogs that have been started since I stopped paying attention.

I was very pleased, for example, to run across another blog written by a linguistic anthropologist: Glossographia. Interestingly, the author, Stephen Chrisomalis, appears to represent the somewhat under-represented materialist strand in thinking about the intersection of language and culture. This is perhaps most evident in this interesting post (here) about his vision of a coherent linguistic anthropology constructed around an evolutionary account of language.

Río Ocylmo is a new blog written by Guido Pilares, a Peruvian linguistics grad student with an interest in Peruvian Amazonian languages. Like me, Pilares has a strong interest in indigenous lowland southeastern Peru, and his posts combined an interest in the history, ethnography, and linguistics of these groups with a present day concern with indigenous rights. Check it out.

And, what about the old neighborhood? Language Log is going as strong as ever and seems to have added some new blood. I had to smile when I visited Anggarrgoon, which included a recent post in which its author, Claire Bowern, apologized for not having posted anything for a month. This made me wonder what penance *I* should perform after being AWOL for 13 months.

I was pleased to see that Mark Dingemanse’s The Ideophone is still active. I remember wondering, when Mark first started his blog, how long one could keep blogging about ideophones, but I actually think that his blog is actually one of the best linguistics blogs out there. Since most of the good and vital academic blogs are group blogs, I think Mark’s solo effort especially stands out.

Savage Minds is still going strong, and has undergone a cosmetic makeover, with the Minds in charge having changed their former pansy-filled banner for a somewhat blah brown one. A pansy graphic remains off to one side, but I’ll miss the original field of pansies. Perhaps reflecting the general marginalization of matters linguistic in anthropology, there doesn’t seem to be too much interest in language at SM right now — but see a series posts by Kerim Friedman on learning an endangered language (here, here, here, and here). Interestingly I haven’t seen much sign of the entertainingly splenetic exchanges that used to liven up the comments in times past — whence this new civility?

Finally Penultimately, Nila Vigil is still very active at Instituto Linguistico de Invierno, which is a nice way to keep up to speed on indigenous rights politics in Peru, especially as they relate to issues of language.

And finally, Peter Austin reminded me of a serious omission on my part: Transient Languages and Cultures, the excellent group blog which focuses on issues of language endangerment and revitalization (with a soft spot for Australian languages), language documentation and archiving, and methodological and ethical issues involved in fieldwork. This blog is as active as ever, and is definitely worth visiting even if your areal interests lie elsewhere.

Is there anything, dear readers, that I have missed that I should take a look at?

5 Responses to “New faces in the old neighborhood”

  1. schrisomalis Says:

    Thanks for the link. I think that ‘materialist’ is exactly the right word to describe my perspective, or rather, the part of the field that is lacking from linguistic anthropology today. I suppose I see myself as trying to restore some balance, while reclaiming a little turf for my own corner of the subfield.

    I found your blog shortly before your hiatus started and am glad to see that it has un-hiatused!

    – Steve Chrisomalis

  2. Peter Austin Says:

    Hows about Transient Languages and Cultures (http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/elac/) with its mix of news and opinions? (Never guess I’m a contributor, would you?)

    • Lev Michael Says:

      Thanks for the nudge. Actually, I realized that I had forgotten to mention TL&C while riding my bike to my office to work on a certain late chapter (squirm).

  3. mark Says:

    Hey! Good to see you back!

  4. Lev Michael Says:

    Belated thanks!


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