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Showing posts from January, 2015

Watch this video about how to deal with non-compositionality in parsing of languages

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How to deal with languages that do not fit our limited compositional view of parsing? I was just reminded of the wonderful existence of Reut Tsarfaty and the beautiful little video that she made together with Noa Tsarfaty  for the PhD. 
Just watch it, it's very good.

Full reference: Tsarfaty, Reut. 2010 "Relational-Realizational Parsing". PhD Dissertation, University of Amsterdam. ILLC Dissertation Series DS-2010-01 ISBN:978-90-5776-205-5
Links:txt-file of abstract hereentire fulltext here

Extract from abstract: Statistical parsing models aim to assign accurate syntactic analyses to natural language sentences based on the patterns and frequencies observed in human-annotated training data. State-of-the-art statistical parsers to date demonstrate excellent performance in parsing English, but when the same models are applied to languages different than English, they hardly ever obtain comparable results. The grammar of English is quite unusual in that it is fairly configurat…

How to "fake" a language to a linguist fieldworker

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My friend Calle drew my attention to the fact that the well-renowed linguist Lyle Campbell has written an article on how to spot that a speaker is actually faking knowledge about a language. Interesting, huh? And, you can read this article for free online! 
Full reference: Campbell, Lyle (2014) How to "fake" a language. Estudios de Lingüística Chibcha (ISSN 1409-245X) 33: 63-74

Link to free online PDF of official version

Link to in press-academia version (in case the above one has problems)

Excerpts: In the course of several years of fieldwork in Central America and Mexico seeking potential speakers of endangered languages, I encountered on several occasions individuals who attempted to fabricate a language, to create spontaneously what they hoped I would take to be an indigenous language. The number of cases in the sample considered here is not large; nevertheless. the goal of this paper is to attempt to make some general observations about how these individuals have attempted…

Akan and #lingwiki: a typical example of misinformation

I'm editing some wikipedia articles on Akan and neighbouring languages and dialects, as a part of #lingwiki. Wikipedia editing is fun, easy and you should do it too. Don't be scared, there's lots of help  - you are not the first beginner of wikipedia editing.

If you just search for "Akan" on wikipedia you get to a disambiguation page where they list several articles matching that search. There you find a link to the pages on Kwa languages and on Central Tano languages. That's relevant, as the Akan language is a part of those higher level groupings. However, it is not a good idea to have them both be described as "a stock of dialects spoken by the Akan people".

Now, of course. In some sense all languages are collections of dialects - heck they're all collections of idiolects. But... Kwa is a really, really large group. Central Tano (which is part of Kwa) even includes another subgrouping, Akanic, which in its turn includes a macro language (acco…

Wanna keep updated on new exciting research? - filter mailinglists

If you wanna keep updated on new exciting research there's several things you can do. And it's not that hard, and if you balance it and filter the feed correctly you won't get swamped.

You can subscribe to certain blogs, tumblrs and twitter feeds of particular linguists or institutions. I'll create a list of suggestions soon. You can also subscribe to people on academia or find RSS feeds of departments or other research institutions.

However, one of the easiest ways to keep track are mailing lists. Linguist List is a non-profit organisation that among other things gathers a lot of interesting mailinglists, you can browse them all here. You can set it to giving you digests instead of everything all the time. The most interesting list is probably "lingtyp" (according to me that is), but you gotta be a member of Association of Linguistic Typology to get in there.

Linguist List also keeps two general lists, LINGUIST and LINGLITE. These are freely available and i…

The importance of studying diversity in the field of linguistics

Here's another one of those recommendations to go read something that is interesting, important, freely available online and quite accessible to non-scholars. Now, that we need to study diversity might be a rather trivial observation to many readers of this blog which is a lot about linguistic diversity, but it apparently still needs to be said and elaborated upon.

This time it's Greville Corbett who has kindly uploaded his paper "Why Linguists Need Languages" to the social sharing platform for academics: academia. This is sometimes known as blue open access, social sharing platform open access.

Free online PDF here

Full reference: Corbett, Greville G. (2001) Why Linguists Needs Languages. In Maffi, Luisa (Ed) On Biocultural Diversity. Linking Language, Knowledge and the Environment. Washington & London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 517-530.

Quote from the paper:
To an outsider, it must seem self-evident that linguists would have a key role in any investigation o…

#lingwiki

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Soon it's time for our collaborative wikipedia linguistics editing session! Here are the most important things I want to tell you
come join it'll be fun and good for the world ^^!read what Gretchen wrote heredon't worry if you're not alinguistregular wikipedia usernative speaker of Englishable to participate at exactly that time slot (4-6 AM GMT/UTC)twittererit'll be finehave a look at this page for resources where you can find answers to linguistic questionstweet with the hashtag #lingwiki if you've got questions or comments or just excitementcontact us here if you've got questions or comments and don't got twittertweet @grammar_swag with the hashtag #lingwiki just to let us know you're excited too ^^! The time for the LSA session is Saturday the 10th of January at 20-22 Pacific Standard Time (4-6 AM GMT/UTC). You can also edit before or after that time, that's cool too.

The hashtag for twitter is #lingwiki, you can of course also use it on the t…

Twas the Night Before Christmas (Linguists' Version)

Sorry for being late, so very late, but I wanted to share this with you.  Keep it and save it for next year, ok ^^?

A certain Dave Sayers sent out a poem om a mailinglist for linguists just before christmas, it's a remake of the traditional poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas",

Twas the Night Before Christmas (Linguists’ version), by Dave Sayers, 2014.
(Shared with Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/. Also online alongside the original poem here: https://www.academia.edu/9856733/.)

Twas the night before Christmas in the ivory tower,
Not a creature was stirring at the midnight hour,
Twas a problem for linguists who live to hear sounds,
Monophthongs, diphthongs, open or round.

We linguists were nestled all snug in our beds,
While visions of fricatives danced in our heads.
Snug in our gowns and our four-cornered caps,
We pondered enigmas like bilabial taps.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from the …

Making linguistics on wikipedia better!

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Hurray, let's make the world better by improving linguistics on the internets! There will be a coordinated effort to improve articles on linguistic topics on Wikipedia. It's being formally hosted at the annual meeting of Linguistic Society of America (LSA), headed by Gretchen McCulloch of the excellent blog All Things Linguistic. She's written more about the editing session here.

It'll formally take place on Saturday the 10th of January at 20-22 Pacific Standard Time (04-06 GMT/UTC).

We're especially focusing on:

1. Linguistics stubs
2. Under-documented languages
3. Biographies of prominent linguists, especially female linguists and other minorities

I'll be participating even though I won't be there in the flesh world. Wanna join? Give us a notification here. There's no restriction language-wise, no need to edit only English articles.

Let's celebrating with some Chris Pratt grooving.