We are pleased to launch a new journal, Linguistic
Discovery, which is dedicated to the description and analysis
of primary linguistic data. The amazing linguistic diversity of
our planet poses a great intellectual challenge to linguists as
we attempt to define what aspects of language and language use are
universal versus those which are particular to subsets of the world's
languages. Linguistic Discovery provides a platform for linguists
to explore these issues and to inform others about linguistic phenomena
that deepen our understanding of language, as well our appreciation
for it. The journal will be published at least two times per year.
In the previous two decades, linguists have become
increasingly aware that linguistic diversity is in rapid decline.
While there is some disagreement over the specific role that the
professional linguist should play in any community's struggle to
maintain or expand the use of its heritage language, all agree that
linguists are uniquely suited to the task of accurately documenting
and describing the world's languages. To this end, Linguistic
Discovery aims for all of its articles to contain original or
hard-to-access data, including cross-linguistic studies whose novelty
may not be in the individual pieces of data described, but in the
While there are a number of specialized journals that
cater to the study of a given language or language family, few journals
publish for a broad readership on a range of different languages.
We believe that exposure to diverse linguistic data is critical
for theorizing. Despite widespread agreement with this claim, many
journals remain relatively narrow in the sets of languages analyzed
and the theoretical topics covered. For this reason, Linguistic
Discovery has a particular bias toward lesser-studied languages
As part of our commitment to the description and dissemination
of primary language data, Linguistic Discovery publishes
less traditional kinds of research as well: a section on "Notes
from the Field," which encompasses reports on field conditions,
issues of field methodology, and so on; downloadable data sets useful
for teaching; linguistic problem sets that have been designed for
varying levels of instruction; and editorials. Such sections are
designed to enhance the availability of teaching resources, to help
us incorporate linguistic research into our teaching, and to explore
professional issues confronting our field.
Besides the focus of its contents, Linguistic Discovery
is unlike most journals in that is it fully electronic in format.
Our goal is not simply to provide an Internet accessible version
of a journal that appears in print. Rather we intend to exploit
the electronic medium to its fullest degree. Linguistic Discovery
includes immediate archiving of the journal and an ability to search
current issues and archived material. We encourage authors to include
audio and video files as integral parts of their articles and data
sets. It is our hope that the journal will provide a forum for rethinking
the ways in which we publish in the field of linguistics, to make
fuller use of the technology that is available.
Another highly unusual feature of Linguistic Discovery
is that the journal is completely free and accessible world-wide.
Subscriptions are intended for those readers who wish to be notified
each time a new issue is published. However, the journal can be
read without a subscription, and we invite all readers to contribute
articles for publication.
By not maintaining a print version, we are able to
avoid some of the costs that confront other journals. For the costs
that remain, we have a commitment of support on the part of Dartmouth
College that allows us to guarantee that the journal site will be
maintained indefinitely and that the journal will be archived so
that the information it contains will be accessible in the distant
In all these ways, Linguistic Discovery is
filling a gap in our current resources. At the same time, like other
top publications, we are committed to upholding the highest standards
of scholarship. All submissions go through a process of anonymous
peer review. We are proud to have an outstanding editorial board
which works with us to ensure that only research of the highest
caliber is published.
Lenore A. Grenoble, Dartmouth College
Lindsay J. Whaley, Dartmouth College