Abstracts & Topics: FAQ

We have received some questions regarding what would be good topics to submit to the conference, or how to formulate one's questions and answers, given the perhaps somewhat unusual theme of the conference. Here are some ideas. Note: this FAQ was written for the main conference abstract submission. The Language Science Pecha Kucha has a somewhat different focus - but of course you may as well approach the questions discussed below in your Pecha Kucha presentation.

Q: Considering the title of the conference, am I necessarily expected to approach my research from a philosophical point of view and/or question the raison d'être of my life's work?
A: Not at all (but you are welcome to do so as well!). A presentation at this conference is only expected to differ from a "regular" conference presentation by the degree of emphasis on the questions proposed in the call of papers, applied to your own research. For example, if/how your research relates (or could relate) to other fields of science (e.g., either providing resources to, or receiving them from neighboring disciplines), what is the purposes of the research in a bigger picture, etc. Or, if you are coming from a field other than linguistics: what is the role of linguistics in your research and/or development process?

Q: I am a computer scientist or computational linguist working on natural language processing, machine translation or information retrieval. What could I present?
A: One option would be to focus on how your work interacts with linguistics, what are the theoretical or empirical findings that you have found useful in developing your applications, or what do you expect linguistics to achieve in terms of the description of a language or the human language in general.

Q: I am a psychologist, sociologist, historian, philosopher or a neuroscientist. My research does involves language, but I am not sure how my presentation would fit in with the linguistics crowd?
A: The crowd is expected to be highly heterogeneous anyway (this is kind of the whole point). But please do make sure you present your work in an approachable way, and avoid (or explain) field-specific terminology.

Q: My work takes place in the field of terminology, lexicology or translation. Do you think I would have something to present?
A: Possibly. Think big. For example, terminologists need term databases for their work. People working in computational linguistics / computer science are often involved with creating and improving such tools. Maybe you yourself are as well. Maybe you can shed light on what tools in this domain you find useful, and what tools are you lacking? (Perhaps there happens to be someone in the audience who is capable of developing them)

Q: I am the most theoretical linguist who has ever theorized in the field of the most non-applicable branch of linguistics. My topic is exciting, but honestly, I don't know how it is "useful" or applicable in any way. Do I have any business in a conference that is asking why am I doing what I am doing?
A: Yes you do. How would your situate your research in respect to other fields of science? What do your findings say about the human condition? These are all valid questions - come tell us more about it.

Q: I am a master's student, come from a completely different field or work in the industry instead of the academia - but my work or research involves a linguistic aspect of the human language. Do I qualify to present my ideas at the conference?
A: The abstract evaluation process is anonymous, and as such, the reviewers do not (and cannot) take the position of the author into account. Only quality and originality is taken into account. Private sector representatives are particularly welcome to participate.

Q: How about field linguistics or linguistic anthropology? For me, the 'why' in my work is clear anyhow, so is there any point in dedicating a talk to it?
A: We would suggest there is. Questions and answers that are clear in one branch of a discipline might not be so obvious to another. Furthermore, how would you situate your work with respect to the other domains of linguistics, or the sciences in general? What are the insights you hope to provide beyond your own field? Or, what are the (computational) tools that you use or the theories that help you make sense of your data - could you make use of better ones if they existed?

Q: I find that although my research (be it in psychology, sociology, or computer science) involves human language, linguistics as a field does not provide any additional insight or useful tools to solve my questions. How about that?
A: You are most welcome at the conference! Please, come and tell us more about it, and how you have reached these conclusions.


Q: What are the participation fees?
A: There will be no participation fees.

Q: I would like to participate, but I don't think I will be able to present anything as of yet. Can I still come?
A: Yes! While we strongly encourage submitting an abstract, giving a talk is not required for participation.

Q: Should I submit an abstract even if I am not planning to travel to Tartu in May to attend the conference?
A: Submitting an abstract means you are willing (or at least prepared to seek opportunities) to make the trip - otherwise there's no point, really. If you have submitted an abstract already but it turns out that you would not be able to come (whatever the reason) - please let us know as soon as possible to make organizational matters easier!

Q: Is it possible to revise my abstract after I have submitted it, if it gets accepted?
A: Yes, absolutely.

Q: This is a good idea. Is there something I can do to help?
A: Most certainly. Spread the word, tell your colleagues, post the call for papers to linguistics mailing lists, like our page on Facebook and forward the info to any other networks. If you are reading this and you are situated in Tartu, feel free to contact the organizers for signing up as a volunteer.