Last week, I assigned Bernhard Comrie's (2017) chapter 'The Languages of the World' (from The Handbook of Linguistics, 2017) to a class. It's a basic overview of the world's language families, which is what I wanted them to read, but for one thing: there are no maps in it. I overcompensated in class by presenting a 30-item list of maps, because some things are just so much easier to understand using visual representations. I decided to post some of the best ones I could find here, for future reference and in order to invite you to post better ones in the comments.
Hedvig here. I'm currently writing up my PhD thesis, hence the lack of writing here. Hopefully I'll be able to pick it up after submission, there's a lot of drafts lying on blogger waiting for completion. If you really, really miss me in particular, you could listen to my ramble at Talk the Talk - a weekly show about linguistics.
Now that the shameless plug and excuses are done with, let's get down and talk about:
THE TRANSCRIPTION CHALLENGE!
In this blog post, I will focus on a part of this challenge¹ - the workflow for segmenting and transcribing audio material. This is a rough guide, if it turns out people appreciate something like this I'll re-write it more thoroughly. This is a bit sloppily written in places, but trust me - if I do this "properly" right now I will lose days of work time that I should be spending on my thesis... so, I'll only do it if people really want it - and I might wait a while until I do. Sorry, but it is wh…
I was a reviewer for the Evolution of Language (Evolang) conference for the first time this year, a tedious-sounding task that turned out to be hilarious. The conference attracts some bizarre manuscripts on the origins of language, one particularly imaginative one I wanted to devote a blogpost to, but regretfully cannot because of reviewer confidentiality.
Also in my inbox to review was the most exciting paper about language that I’d ever seen. I recommended acceptance obviously, even though it was only tangentially related to the theme of the conference, and it was accepted as a poster and published in the conference proceedings (available here).
The paper was by Gerhard Jäger and Søren Wichmann, about constructing a world family tree of languages using a database of basic vocabulary, the ASJP database. Claims about how language families may be related are nothing new but are normally statistically uninformed (such as work by Merritt Ruhlen and Joseph Greenberg). The amazing thing…