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While no organized project, similar to the Linguistic Atlas, has yet emerged from this sort of research at the Institute, its ramifications are very broad. As already noted, it has fructified Semitic and English research. It has also had a powerful effect upon the work of a group engaged in translating the Bible into hitherto unwritten languages, and upon a plan of the Mexican government to introduce primary instruction in the native languages of Mexico.

The Institute has also stimulated research in other directions. A dozen or more papers on Hittite have been written by scholars who have studied Hittite at the Linguistic Institute, and it is reasonably certain that most of these would not have been written if the Institute had not existed. Other courses also in the Institute are known to have resulted in specific pieces of research.


To ascertain the opinion of former members, both lecturers and students, as to the value of the Linguistic Institute, the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of America authorized the Special Committee to send a questionnaire to all such persons. Seven questions were included in this document, which was mailed in September 1939. A second request was mailed to those who had not replied a month later. About 175 replies were returned, from about 28 percent of those who are presumed to have received the questionnaire. It should be noted that the list was intended to include all persons who were known to have attended any course which was listed among the Institute's courses. Particularly during the four years 1936-39, many such courses (especially in English, Romance, Germanic, and Far Eastern languages) were attended by many members of the University of Michigan Summer Session who had no effective connection with the Institute. Many of them knew nothing about it when they registered for such courses. Some of these became interested in it during the course of the summer; indeed, this is regarded as one of the beneficial effects of the Institute. But many failed to respond actively; their interests remained remote from those of the Institute.

Further, some of those who attended earlier sessions, but whose interest was limited in scope, feel so out of touch with the whole matter (as is indicated by one or two responses) that some of them may be supposed to have neglected to reply for this reason.

Mere human inertia will, of course, account for lack of response from some who, if questioned personally, would nevertheless express considerable interest. In fact, no replies have been received from some who are personally known to the Committee as interested and even enthusiastic supporters of the Institute.

All in all, it is felt by the Committee that the number of responses is not discreditable, especially considering the general tenor of most of them, as will presently appear.

The responses have been summarized as follows.

1. “Do you favor the holding of sessions of the L. I. after the summer of 1940?"

There are 164 votes for continuing the Institute after 1940, and no votes against this. Several respondents make no reply to this question or say that they have no clear opinion.

2. “Should sessions be held every summer, or every second summer, or at longer intervals?”

One hundred sixteen prefer sessions every summer and thirty-one every second summer, or in several instances, not as often as every summer, or in three year sequences with intervals between. Those who vote for every summer are generally very emphatic. Many of them urge that interruptions would prevent some graduate students from getting training when they need it and would weaken the interest of many persons. Most of those on the other side say that sessions every second summer would save expense or would tend to increase attendance or that they personally could not attend every summer.

3. “Where should they be held, assuming that we had a free choice? For what reasons?”

Fifty favor Ann Arbor as the location for the Institute, twenty-one Ann Arbor or another named location (Chicago, New Haven, New York), and twenty the Middle West or the most central point possible. Five favor some location in the East and five New York specifically. There is one vote each for Chicago, Durham, N. C., Middlebury, Vt., and New Haven. Thirty respondents prefer a more or less frequent change of location.

Fourteen say merely that the location should be a university with a good linguistic library, or this plus other features such as a good linguistic staff of its own, a large graduate summer school, location in a country town (or, in a few cases, in a large city), a cool summer climate, etc. Many whose votes are recorded above for specific places also express preferences for good libraries, cool weather, etc.

One specific suggestion is that the session of 1941 be held in the city of Mexico in order to promote linguistic studies in that country and particularly to assist with the governmental project to reduce the unwritten native languages to writing and to use them in the elementary schools. It is recognized that it would be necessary to secure liberal outside support for such a session; the Mexican government could not support it adequately.

4. "What benefits, if any, have you derived from the Linguistic Institute?"

5. "Has the Linguistic Institute contributed to the advancement of knowledge? If so, in what ways?"

6. "Please indicate any other ways in which it has been of service."

It has proved impracticable to separate the answers to these questions. Many respondents found it hard to distinguish benefits to themselves personally from more general benefits. Epistemological problems are involved in distinguishing "the advancement of knowledge" from "other ways ... of service.” Many respondents feel that indirectly, at least, all the Institute's activities, and its general atmosphere, tend to the “advancement of knowledge.”

One hundred and sixty respondents gave generally favorable answers to these questions, or in a few cases merely expressed generally favorable opinions of the Institute. Thirteen declined to express opinions; most of these had had slight contact with the Institute (as by attendance at a single course while pursuing other studies). One answer seems definitely unfavorable.

To many of the favorable answers were appended suggestions for possible improvement. These were specially invited by Question 7 and will be summarized under that heading. On the whole, however, the answers are striking in the high degree, and practical unanimity, of their enthusiasm. Their total effect seems to establish beyond doubt that the Institute has been approved by its constituency. A surprising feature of the responses is, that the degree of enthusiasm does not seem to be a function of the technical linguistic competence of the writers; nor is it even limited to those who had developed definite linguistic interests beforehand. "A thrilling experience"; "one of the two or three most important influences on the development of my career"; "one of the most stimulating experiences I ever had"; "the thought of attending next summer is the one thing that makes the winter endurable; (it) has opened up a whole new world to me"; "inestimable benefits”—these are expressions from respondents who rate themselves as relative amateurs, and who are not yet productive scholars. They are, to be sure, selected from among the most eloquent; yet we get the impression that they do not greatly exaggerate the feelings of the majority, or at least of many who express themselves with more brevity or restraint.

Two able young linguistic scholars, already recognized as likely to become future leaders, say: "I have learned most of the linguistics I know at the Linguistic Institute," and "In one summer ... I learned more, through contact with ... linguists of various schools of thought, about just what linguistics is all about and what we are trying to do, than I had ever learned before" (the writer was a Ph.D. of a leading university when he attended).

One respondent, after emphasizing the Institute's value (both in information and in stimulation) to beginners, ventures the conjecture that "Probably the value is much less for the established scholar." But it is evident that he classed himself with "beginners." The testimony of many "established scholars" is at variance with his quoted opinion, as the following six extracts show; all are from "established scholars," including several of the most prominent in the Institute. “The one session I attended made me a better worker. From contact with fellow-workers, especially younger men, I have learned much, and profited in morale. Communication and acquaintance are not only pleasurable, but energize, stimulate, and strengthen. One gains in spirits and endurance.”_"Discussion of my own research has definitely made it more soundly broad. (The Institute) brought (me) into touch with new work going on."-"The Linguistic Institute has meant a great deal to me personally ... (resulting, inter alia, in) a better perspective in my own work."-"Better knowledge of what other linguists are doing and thinking . . . prevents errors and supplies suggestions for my own work. ... My students at the Institute have helped and extended my researches. A visitor to the last session ... is now providing an experimental check upon a theory of mine, that I have long wanted but have been unable to secure."_"The Institute has brought me many intangible benefits; fields the very existence of which had been unknown to me have been indicated and made at least partially accessible, and invaluable personal friendships have been developed.”— "The benefits ... are beyond my computation."

Some respondents gave generally favorable answers without specifying the ways in which the Institute has been beneficial. Most of the others (a considerable majority) included references to the stimulating and enlightening, as well as enjoyable, effects of the Institute as a whole. Many speak of increased general interest, and new and profitable special interests; the atmosphere of intelligent and wide-awake scholarship; the broadening effect of free discussions with persons of like interests, of all ages and stages of advancement; the "cross-fertilization" which comes from intimate contact between workers who otherwise seldom or never meet. It is pointed out that the Institute presents a "centralized” and unified impression of linguistic science as a whole, including a far wider range of interests and points of view than even the best-equipped university could hope to present. This permits getting "a picture of the problems of other branches of linguistics (from books I could only get statements of their results, mostly).” One respondent notes that it does much to counteract a weakness in modern university education, as compared with the Middle Ages; students no longer "wander" from place to place; the Institute "broadens" their training. Another observes that this broadening extends beyond the field of linguistics itself: "It has given me a much better sense of the relation of my work to the whole field of humanistic research. I think of myself now not as a student of English specializing in the English language, so much as a linguist concentrating in English. I have an added sense of the dignity and vitality of language work, for I can see that I am cooperating with the anthropologist, the psychologist, and the historian in trying to understand the fundamentals of human motivation."

Several refer to the improvement in "morale" which they derive from the mere fact of finding so many persons with linguistic interests gathered together. Not a few feel lonely and isolated in their home surroundings, where they find no one who understands or cares about these matters.

Various respondents were struck by the fact that anyone can have his say at the Institute. There is no pontificate. Criticism is frank, free, and searching, but friendly and sympathetic. Beginners are encouraged to take an active part, a feature which some of them find stimulating and valuable.

Several refer to the public lectures and luncheon meetings as especially interesting and fruitful. Others remember gratefully the numerous private and informal discussions.

Among more specific benefits listed are the following:

A. The value of personal contact with eminent linguists is mentioned by many respondents, often referring by name to individual scholars.

B. A great many emphasize the fact that the Institute offers systematic instruction in subjects seldom taught elsewhere.

C. Many value the Institute as a clearing-house of scientific informa

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