Academic books are a curious thing. They are essential to the careers of academics, who now need to write lots and lots of them to reach the dizzying heights of Assistant Lecturer (grade B) while their superiors reached the same level 30-odd years ago by having lunch with the Dean and offering to pay for the coffee. Students complain that the library doesn’t have enough of them, but publishers worry secretly that there are too many. For non-academics like me who might be tempted to take on an academic project as a sideline the only reward is the work itself. And what a lot of work it is. Siobhan and I finished off the proof reading and indexing of our co-edited book Key Ideas in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language last night. This final stage of the book has been a real slog. There has been too much other work to get through at the same time, so we’ve done the work in the evenings over the last few weeks. We’re exhausted.
But this is an important milestone for us. It marks the end of a project that we began in 2002, when we started looking for writers for the first book in the series, Key Thinkers in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language. We’ve worked with some great people and it has been a real pleasure thinking about these ideas and their significance not only to the way linguists and philosophers think about the world, but the rest of us too. We think it’s been worth it. So now the proofs and the index for this book are done and will go off to the publisher on Monday. Relatively few people will read it; mostly students and academics working in the field. But I hope that those who do use these books together will find them helpful and enlightening. Our own copies of Key Thinkers are certainly starting to look well thumbed. We’ll probably see Key Ideas in paperback in January.