Linguistics and the Open Web

Gordon P. Hemsley

Last Saturday, I gave a talk entitled Linguistics and the Open Web at HULLS 2011, the first-annual Hunter [College] Undergraduate Linguistics and Language Studies Conference, organized by the Hunter College Linguistics Club. My talk kicked off the event, at which undergraduate students presented their research. (I later joked that it perhaps should have been called HULA, for “Hunter Undergraduate Linguistics and Activism”, because many of the student talks—including my own—were more of a call to action than particularly academic research… but I digress.) The keynote speakers were Doug Bigham and Ben Zimmer. Click through to the Linguistics Club site to see the full program of talks.

This talk was the first step in my attempt to somehow tie together my open-source/Mozilla life with the linguistics that I have really come to love over these past two years. I think it’s a good first step.

And it was nice to finally meet in person a lot of the people that I had previously known only through Twitter. And, actually, it’s good to know that my rate of meeting such people is increasing. I’ve only know most of them for about year, as opposed to the 7 or so it took to meet the Mozilla and phpBB folks last year.

My talk was only allotted 15 minutes, so it’s rather brief, but I think the slides I’ve made available get across much of what my talk did. It tries to answer these three questions:

  • What is the Open Web?
  • How does the Open Web relate to linguistics?
  • What can I do to participate in the Open Web?

I hope to be able to expand and improve this talk in the future. (It already includes a separate print stylesheet, so if you want to print it out, it comes out pretty.)

In fact, I’ve released it under CC-BY-NC-SA and I plan to put it on GitHub or something so that maybe we could even get it translated into a bunch of languages! And if you want to give the talk yourself, feel free. (Just drop me a line to let me know.)

Your feedback is greatly appreciated!