Showing posts from May, 2017

China's dialect quiz shows: some ideas for language games – and language game shows – that you can make

People love languages; there are many game shows on TV which are language-based. Most language quiz shows test contestants on their knowledge of the broadcasting language itself. For instance, English-language channels testing contestants on their knowledge of the English language and English literature:

Have you seen quiz shows on TV where they quiz contestants on languages other than the broadcasting language (or some major international language)? Wouldn't it be cool if there are quiz shows on TV where they test contestants on languages that are rarely or never broadcasted? 

Here I will talk about the "dialect quiz shows" in China, which I think can be emulated in many other parts of the world. These shows are entertaining for the general audience (if done right), and can help raise the interest in regional languages.

(In this blogpost, there are many pics/gifs of people struggling and failing. They are not suggesting that these quiz shows are impossibly hard; many conte…

Time-saving magic for linguist fieldworkers: automatic segmenting with PRAAT and ELAN

Keeping on the theme of linguistic fieldwork (see Jeremy's previous post about his fieldwork experiences here here and Jesse's post about measuring nasality with earbuds here), I've also got something for you! Two colleagues of mine in the Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project, Eri Kashima and Mark Ellison, have figured out a neat way of saving time on segmenting up sound files for transcription.

Linguistic fieldwork is so much more than just the time spent in the field site, when you come home there's a lot of work that needs to be done with annotating your files, segmenting them up and in different other ways preparing them for the analysis you want to do.
One thing that takes a lot of time, and that isn't particularly "meaningful",  is segmenting up your sound files. In order to do any kind of transcription, you basically just need to know when an utterance starts and ends. This involves just mindlessly sitting and clicking a button when you hea…