Yesterday’s satisfying news: my Stanford appointment has been re-updated to a (consulting) full professorship. Of course, now I’ve been exploring the evidences of my competence and worth.

In stage 1, at the suggestion of a friend I looked at my h-index (scHolar index) of citations (as of 7/25/11), which lists 213 references between 1965 and 2010 — there are a fair number of dupes, plus one citation for another Zwicky (only one; what happens to people named Smith, Brown, or Jones?), but that’s in the right neighborhood — and gives me an index in the high stratosphere (for a linguist, but then linguists are just fleas on the noble dogs of science and scholarship).

The good news is the items at the top of the list, with hundreds of citations. Thanks to the mushiness in the data, the exact numbers aren’t really important, but the top 5, going from #1 on down, are all available on my website:

1. Zwicky & Pullum on clitics and inflections (Language, 1983).

2.  “On clitics” (Indiana University Linguistics Club, 1977).

3.  Michael Geis & Arnold Zwicky, “On invited inferences”  (Linguistic Inquiry, 1971).

4.  “Clitics and particles” (Language, 1985).

5.  Arnold Zwicky & Jerrold Sadock, “Ambiguity tests and how to fail them” (Syntax and Semantics, 1975).

(#1, #4, and #5 I would certainly have nominated myself.)

Then to items I am proud of but (mostly) aren’t on my website, for various reasons:

6. Sadock & Zwicky, “Speech act distinctions in syntax” (1985)

7. “Heads”, Journal of Linguistics (1985)

8. “How to describe inflection” (Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1985)

9. Spencer & Zwicky, Handbook of Morphology (2001) [well, it’s a book]

10.  “Suppressing the Zs” (Journal of Linguistics, 1987).

11. “Note on a phonological hierarchy in English” (1972)

12.  “In a manner of speaking”, on manner-of-speaking verbs in English (Linguistic Inquiry, 1971).

13. Pullum & Zwicky, “The syntax-phonology interface” (1988)

14. Pullum & Zwicky, “Phonological resolution of syntactic feature conflict” (1986)

15. “On Casual Speech” (Chicago Linguistic Society, 1972)

And then to various items that probably should be on my website, for example, from the next 15:

19. “Head, bases and functors” (1993)

21. “The strategy of generative phonology” (1975)

27. “German adjective agreement in GPSG” (1986)

29. “On markedness in morphology” (1978)

30. “Inflectional morphology as a (sub)component of grammar (1990)

Below these are a series of papers on methodology and argumentation (besides #21), which I once assembled for publication, at the invitation of a university press, only to have the press decide that they weren’t significant enough (adding that if the papers had been by James McCawley, that would have been another matter). Sigh. I should, I suppose assemble these on my website, if only for historical interest.

And a collection of papers in morphosyntax (most not on my website), which have also languished, because publication would require that they be not only edited with commentary (which I’m prepared to do) but also submitted for publication in a very specific computer format (which involves a time commitment of many hundreds of hours that I’m not willing to make). Another sigh.

This exercise delighted me in some ways — it’s great to reconnect with papers I’m proud of (despite their flaws) — but discouraged me: the often-cited papers are mostly from way back, and many of my papers were never cited at all, or were cited just once or twice, so that much of what I’ve done apparently just vanished into a pit. Academic life is like that.


5 Responses to “Restored!”

  1. Jan Freeman Says:

    Congratulations, Arnold, and thanks for the links. But what about this sentence? Don’t you feel the need for a gesture toward stricter parallelism — a “that” before the “mostly,” maybe?

    “Then to items I am proud of but (mostly) aren’t on my website, for various reasons:”

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Yes, it’s non-parallel, though it sounded natural to me when I wrote it. (I’ll add it to my file of non-parallel coordinations.) A that before the mostly would improve things, but perfect parallelism would call for a that before I am as well — though I’m not as bothered by the coordination of a zero relative and a that relative as some people are.

  2. irrationalpoint Says:

    I’m sort of surprised this came up in the first place. In many countries an employer cannot, as a matter of law, change someone’s job title or other aspect of a contract without a notice period.

    “many of my papers were never cited at all, or were cited just once or twice, so that much of what I’ve done apparently just vanished into a pit.”

    Try not to be discouraged about that. Something I’ve noticed is that sometimes it’s the papers nobody/few people cite, or sometimes papers that aren’t even published that I dig up at 3 in the morning that completely change my perspective on a problem. So the fact that something hasn’t been cited widely in a published refereed work doesn’t mean it isn’t being read or isn’t being influential.

    There are various problems with citation/publication and inclusion in the scholarly canon as a measure of success (including, as you note, prestige bias, which some people think may work both ways; and the fact that the papers that most tend to be included in the canon tend to be older ones). There have been some interesting critiques about how to make publication (and the allocation of prestige more generally) fairer in specific fields, but I’m not aware of anyone having undertaken such a project with linguistics, although there have been some critiques with specific foci (eg, gender) in various publications.


    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Ah, here’s a complexity: having an academic title and being employed are two different things. From 1985 through 1998 I was a Visiting Professor of Linguistics (and taught courses, etc.) but I was not employed, in the sense of being on the payroll. Then I was on the payroll for some years and went off last year (while my faculty appointment continued).

  3. What I’ve been doing « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] in the past ten years or so (following up on my  “Restored!” posting). Excluding postings (more on them to come) and publications in print, here are the […]

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