Discover more from Blog of the Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain
on the 2012 proceedings
by Caitlin Wilson, Beatrix Livesey-Stephens, and Hui Zhu
The incoming JoULAB copyediting team was given an extraordinary handover task this year: compiling and copyediting the proceedings of ULAB II, the 2012 conference. This was an amazing challenge, given to us by Lydia (ULAB Archivist 2021-2022, JoULAB Editor 2022-2023) and Richard Littauer (ULAB co-founder).
As we were all completely new to the job, this project allowed us to get to grips with the JoULAB Formatting and Style Guide, and the whole copyediting process. As this year’s Archivist, I learned a lot about archiving from Lydia, and these proceedings gave me access to some of our oldest ULAB archives.
It has been an amazing and educational project that we have enjoyed at every step of the way. I hope you enjoy reading the 2012 proceedings and our thoughts on the process.
Caitlin Wilson (ULAB Archivist, JoULAB Associate Copyeditor)
What was the hardest thing about copyediting articles over a decade old?
Beatrix Livesey-Stephens (JoULAB Copyeditor)
Throughout the copyediting process, it was mystical thinking about how old these manuscripts are. They are, without exaggeration, ancient ULAB history. It was certainly challenging taking on such an important project as my first JoULAB copyediting project ever, but it was so rewarding to know that we’re bringing something to fruition that was over a decade in the making.
Getting to grips with the JoULAB Formatting and Styling Guide for a project that isn’t JoULAB was really fun, but at times, it was difficult to know how to interpret the guidelines through the lens of the 2012 Proceedings, and not through the lens of a JoULAB paper, as they were written. We had creative free rein with this project, which was so exciting.
The hardest thing about copyediting articles over a decade old wasn’t the act of copyediting itself. Although as a Pages user, indentation will always be the bane of my existence, the hardest thing about copyediting articles over a decade old was managing how to stay true to the original manuscripts while connecting them with present day ULAB. We decided to represent the articles according to their publication in the present day. In practice, this often meant that if a source in the references of a paper had been listed as unpublished, the copyeditors searched for the source and make sure it was represented accurately in the references as to the present day.
With that said, there are some things in the papers that are simply artefacts of 2012, one of these being a footnote in Lockwood’s paper on reanalysis and regularisation, where Lockwood references a song from 2004 as an example of the dialectal variation of a specific verb (read the paper to find out!) Twitter is referred to in Williams’ paper as a “social networking website”, which just made me think of LinkedIn. I think we did a really good job of representing the articles for a present ULAB, whilst also representing them as artefacts.
What was the best thing about working on this project?
Hui Zhu (JoULAB Associate Copyeditor)
The best thing about working on this project is the pleasure of reading the decade-old articles. Even though I am used to reading academic papers as a part of my own degree, copyediting these articles makes me feel closer to the authors, as if they were our peers who are just about to finish their degree in linguistics.
Sometimes I forgot about the fact that these articles were written ten years ago, yet I was reminded of how old they are when dealing with references and finding it almost impossible to contact the authors. Of course, for a rising second-year undergraduate like me, reading these past linguistic papers is already an enriching experience itself.
Knowing that these articles are decade-old makes it even more unique. Many authors are still active in linguistics, and some are already research fellows in linguistics at the world’s top universities. It is quite interesting and encouraging to read their work produced while they were still undergraduate students, which was probably their first step towards becoming academics.
These articles were like time capsules that encapsulated the passion for linguistics of young linguists in 2012 which is echoed in today’s ULAB. It is a great pleasure to contribute to making these works known to a wider audience.
How has ULAB changed in the past decade?
Working on the 2012 Proceedings of ULAB has been great fun. It’s also been an incredibly insightful experience for me, as ULAB’s outgoing Local Chair. I had the pleasure of chairing this year’s conference at the University of Edinburgh, so I know first-hand what goes into planning and scheduling at ULAB conference.
I got to know the speakers and their research very well during the planning process through countless emails and double-checks of slides. It's been fascinating to see the differences and similarities between the research presented this year and the papers written for the 2012 conference. ULAB prides itself in promoting research from all subfields of linguistics.
Our own journal, JoULAB, is famous for being the only journal publishing undergraduate research in any linguistic subfield. The 2012 Proceedings are therefore similar to those from more recent years in that we have papers discussing phonology, syntax, historical linguistics, and many other subjects in between. This year, we also had a wide variety of subfields. The big subfields mentioned above had a strong presence but we also had a few speakers present their fieldwork projects, similar to the Singlish paper in the 2012 Proceedings.
In recent years, ULAB has attracted many sign language linguistic researchers which is great to see, a subfield which was far less represented at older conferences. Copyediting the 2012 Proceedings has been like looking through a time capsule of what ULAB was like 10 years ago. We’ve definitely come a long way, this project comprises 6 papers, while the most recent Proceedings includes close to 20 papers. ULAB now boasts a magazine and a journal, and many other side projects such as an essay competition and a buddy scheme, all aiming to promote undergraduate linguistic research.
At its core, though ULAB has stayed the same, we’re still a group of students passionate about linguistics, looking for ways to connect and share our research with the world. This project has been great fun, and has truly made me feel connected to ULAB’s past. I hope you all enjoy reading the papers and imagining what our organisation was like a decade ago.
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