End of ADS-L Digest - 17 Dec 1994 to 19 Dec 1994 ************************************************ There are 4 messages totalling 154 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. 2. Preston's Arguments for meeting with LSA 3. Relationship of ADS to MLA/LSA 4. boot and bonnet ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 13:23:00 EST From: "Dennis.Preston" <22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.EDU> Subject: Friends of ADS: I would like to thank the special committee to determine future ADS meeting sites for their careful consideration of the matter and offer my vigorous opposition to their proposal. Let's me review the results of the advice from the membership. Apparently nearly one-half voted for continued meeting with MLA; one-half voted for association with LSA. At first glance that would seem to argue for the recommendation the committee will make in San Diego. Why 'disenfranchise' either of these large groups? I believe the most straightforward argument against that is simply to note that surely the best solution is not to disenfranchise both, but I want to raise issues other than those of simple preferences. In messages to the list, a number of members have expressed concerns of both convenience (spouse goes to MLA) and other professional obligations (recruitment duties at MLA). Only one or two have noted that there are a few programs of interest to the typical ADS member at MLA. Except for this last matter (I assume that nearly everyone would agree that there is much more of interest for the typical ADS member at LSA), we might safely assume that matters of convenience and professional obligations (spouse attending LSA, recruitment responsibilities there) could just as well be mentioned for LSA. Doubtless, such matters as these are what led to the draw in the vote taken by the membership at large. My original concern in recommending a change of meeting site had, in fact, little to do with concerns of our current membership's convenience and/or professional responsibilities and, in fact, only partly to do with the fact that the LSA meeting was an obviously more important gathering for most of us. I was principally concerned (and still am) with the growth and continuation of the Society. Where will our new members come from? Who will step into the leadership roles in the future? Frankly, when my new graduate students in sociolinguistics, dialectology, and language variation begin their work with me, they often want to know how they can join NWAV (they can't of course; it's not a organization), and, although I set them straight about their professional, organizational home (not to mention the best bargain in all of linguistics), I wonder how many others are being directed into ADS? I fear not as many as the future health of the Society requires. Briefly, if we are to attract active, contributing new members, I believe they will come principally from the ranks of young linguists who are interested in the great array of facts, puzzles, and theories concerning language variety. Current, innovative work in dialectology proper (DARE, LAGS, LAMSAS) shows that the most traditional concerns of the field are not in the least being left behind, but these projects can attract only a few of that new generation of scholars for whom we should be a home. I believe we must show them that we are a contributing, innovative branch of the study of language. Having our principal meeting with MLA instead of LSA sends the opposite message to the very group from which our new stalwarts should be drawn. Of course there is nothing to prevent us from spreading our fame even wider in the popular press, as we have done with our Word of the Year contest, nor should we hold back from carrying out thematic meetings and workshops and continuing to expand our presence at allied meetings, but our meeting with LSA would do nothing to curtail such promotional activities. If we are to carry out such an enthusiastic program, however, we must have the membership to back it, and some of that membership should come from a newer generation of scholars. Those scholars are not at the MLA. Those scholars will also have limited travel funds, busy teaching schedules, and need, I think, least of all, to have another meeting placed before them for the choosing. I think they will not choose it. Our regular publications are in order, and, with our new appointments, will be in good hands for the future. We have a distinguished group of senior scholars, some still engaged in the most impressive variation work of this century. There is even a pretty respectable number of us whose age I will not even characterize with an inoffensive euphemism. I believe, however, we are precisely the ones in the hot seat. We may choose to opt for meetings which are convenient for some reason or another, or, worse, we may opt for an independent meeting, which, with our senior status and the money and time which such status permits, might allow us to gather together in pleasant circumstances for a few years, leaving behind us warm and fuzzy memories of the good old ADS and how it faded. I prefer to return to the fold such active scholars as Bethany Dumas and the many others like her who cannot come to ADS because of their commitment to linguistics, a scholarly commitment shared by the great majority of our membership. I say let us come into the next century with all the vigorous initiatives and program innovations Allan and the committee have recommended. but I also urge you to have us come into that century as linguists, drawing from that group their brightest and most talented students, many of whom are increasingly committed to the study of language variation. We are their home; let's make it available to them. Let us thank the committee for their careful consideration in the face of the most important decision our Society has had to make, show them how they were wrong, and come out linguisticing (linguistiking?). Dennis R. Preston <22709mgr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]msu.edu>