LAGB Annual General Meeting Spring Meeting, Edinburgh, Tuesday 8th April 1997. 1. Apologies for absence. There were none. =20 2. Minutes of the Business Meeting, 8th September 1996. These were approved. 3. Matters arising. 3.1. Hertfordshire Meeting, September 1997. Jim McCloskey has accepted our invitation and will be the main speaker. Maggie Tallerman will arrange a workshop on Celtic syntax. The language tutorial was under discussion. 3.2. ALSISS The Secretary reported that the ESRC is now consulting ALSISS on various policy issues, so that rejoining might be beneficial. The subscription is around =A3120 per annum. The AGM gave permission for the association to rejoin ALSISS. 3.3. Charitable status. The Secretary has investigated this and so far there seems little benefit in applying. The Treasurer is to consider the possible advantages in terms of VAT further and report to the next meeting. 3.4. Dick Hudson was elected President unopposed. Kersti Borjars was elected Membership Secretary unopposed. Nigel Vincent moved a vote of thanks to Grev Corbett for his work as President. Billy Clark will be standing down as Meetings Secretary at the next meeting; nominations should be sent to David Adger by the beginning of June. 4. Officers' Reports 4.1. President Endangered languages =09GC reported that he has written on our behalf to protest about the treatment of speakers of some endangered languages in the Brazilian rainforest, and has received some replies. =20 Lancaster Meeting, Spring 1998 =09The committee proposed Steve Levinson as the speaker for this meeting. It was agreed that he should be invited. Failing this, members could be consulted by e-mail. 4.2. Honorary Secretary The Secretary would be meeting the HRB on Friday 11th April, with representatives of other learned societies in Linguistics. Anyone with relevant business should contact David Adger. The Secretary solicited comments on the material on the ESRC which has earlier been circulated by e-mail; there were none. 4.3. Treasurer The 1996 account was presented, and showed an improvement of approximately =A31200 over last year. However, a deposit for the Edinburgh meeting of =A31700 had also been paid, and members paying by Direct Debit had also been overcharged, so that the real improvement was in the region of =A32500. No increase in subscriptions will therefore be required this year. 4.4. BLN editor The editor reported that BLN will cease publication, after 25 years, in June. There will be a small profit over the year. The June issue would be sent out as late as possible, so relevant material should be sent to Siew-Yue Killingley. Information which appeared in BLN will now be sent out via the LAGB network. Anyone not having access is encouraged to team up with another member who can send printouts. Adverts and other information can also be sent out in the circulars. 4.5. Membership Secretary The membership secretary apologised for some problems with the CUP computer service which have led to some difficulties in receiving JL. These have now been solved. Membership currently stands at around 600. 4.6. Meetings Secretary Venues have been arranged for the next 6 meetings, until April 2000. The secretary would be grateful for offers of venues for later meetings. 4.7. Assistant Secretary It was reported that, again, all applicants meeting the criteria laid out in the circulars had been offered a bursary. Applications were encouraged. 5. New Business. 5.1. Ruth Kempson had asked to raise the question of the number of sessions, but was absent from the meeting. The outgoing President reported in any case. In general, 60-70% of abstracts submitted are accepted, anonymously. This typically gives 3 parallel sessions. However, this time over 100 abstracts were received, rather more than usual. There was some disagreement among committee members over the idea of 4 sessions, but many of the abstracts were of a high standard, and it was not possible to select few enough to allow only 3 parallel sessions. The President had received one complaint about having 4 sessions, and one complaint that too many abstracts had been rejected. Neil Smith commented that we should accept those abstracts meeting our standards, and then arrange the number of sessions needed to accommodate them. There was general agreement on this point. A substantial minority of members attending also voted that language tutorials should have parallel sessions running alongside. It was generally felt that 4 hours was the right length for the tutorials. 5.2. RAE Nigel Vincent reported that he had sent a report to Heads of Department who made submissions to the linguistics panel. He asked members to bear in mind that submissions from a department might include researchers from other departments or exclude certain people, and the panel had to base their judgements on the material submitted. He then offered to answer questions. David Adger asked why there had been no 5* ratings, which were awarded in most other areas. Nigel Vincent explained that the criteria for 5* were absolute (no researchers in the submission not of at least national excellence), and allowed no scope for judgement. On the submissions made, the panel were unable to say that this criterion was met by any department. It was also agreed that, since international excellence is at issue, the linguistics panel should continue to have an international member. Dick Hudson suggested that linguistics should perhaps be regraded and not assessed as an arts subject since so many departments have a heavy concentration of laboratory-based work; this could have major financial repercussions. Nigel Vincent reported that he had proposed this as chair of the linguistics panel, and agreed to discuss this with those responsible for running the RAE from Hefce. The President undertook to write to Hefce, along with BAAP, on this issue. 6. AOB 6.1. Robyn Carston asked that abstracts should be sent out in advance of meetings. This has sometimes happened; the current local organiser had not sent abstracts out because of postage costs. The meetings secretary agreed to change the registration form to allow participants to opt to have abstracts sent out in advance or not.=20 6.2. It was announced that a list of participants could be collected from the registration desk. 6.3. Kersti Borjars noted that childcare at meetings, when available, tended to be extremely expensive, meaning that it is not typically taken up. The question of whether childcare should be available, and whether it should be subsidised, becomes particularly important if conferences are held over weekends. It was agreed that the facility should always be available, and that a subvention scheme should be run along the lines of the current graduate bursaries. The Meetings Secretary again undertook to change the circular accordingly. 6.4. Bob Borsley reported that Doug Arnold had circulated a request for posters advertising linguistics some time ago. So far there have been no proposals. It was suggested that the LAGB might collaborate with CUP to design a poster based on e.g. some artwork from David Crystal's Encyclopedia. The President offered to discuss this with CUP.