I just came back from an inspiring and informative trip to Saarbrücken. I gave a talk in the FEAST series about tagging tense, aspect, modality and polarity in Oceanic languages. Here are my slides for the talk.
For our project, we primarily work with corpus data, but we also have funding to do further field work and elicit contexts that are rare or unattested in the corpora. As our primary method of elicitation, we have decided to use storyboards, which are short scripts accompanied by pictures.
I have created the pictures for our stories in Inkscape. The stories and SVG source files are being made available on our project wiki. The SVG files can simply be customised, just credit the project and me with the original creation.
However, the options for customisation are limited. I use the free and open command-line tool GMT for the production of linguistic maps. It has awesome tools for all kinds of tasks, including the mapping of symbols from a file of coordinates. Here is a quick guide on how to produce your own pretty WALS map.
- Download your data set from WALS in tab-separated values (there is a button just underneath the header). Save it as walsXY.xy, where XY is the WALS feature you want to map.
- Remove the metadata lines at the top of the file and the header of the table.
- GMT does not distinguish between tabs and other simple blanks. Replace all simple space characters by nothing or a character of your choice.
- Start GMT and move to the directory to which you have downloaded your data set and where you want to produce your map.
- In the same folder, create a cpt file containing the colors that you want to assign to different values. My wals.cpt file has the following content: (number of WALS value, RGB values).
1 240/11/0 2 0/210/240 3 240/180/0 4 28/142/59 5 28/54/142 6 90/28/142 7 211/211/170 8 0/0/0
- Run the following commands in GMT:
pscoast -R-180/180/-70/80 -JQ7i -K -Ssteelblue > walsXY.ps psxy walsXY.xy -R -i5,4,2 -J -O -Sc0.15c -Cwals.cpt >> walsXY.ps
- For more options, see the documentation of GMT.
I’m still feeling warm and fuzzy from the wonderful workshop we had last week at the DGfS conference about modal flavours. The idea for this workshop had formed last year during the SIAS summer institute on the investigation of linguistic meaning, together with Ryan Bochnak and Anne Mucha. We were very happy to win Aynat Rubinstein as our invited speaker and get some excellent submissions from various subfields of linguistics. We gave an overview of background motivations and common themes of the talks in our introduction.
There are two indefinite articles in the Oceanic language Daakaka, TUSWA and SWA. Like weak NPIs or unspecific indefinites in many other languages, TUSWA is excluded from positive assertions about the episodic past or present. In this paper, I try to locate them within the cross-linguistic space of indefinites and NPIs and sketch out an approach to account for their differences.
Read the full paper here.
I’m excited to visit Cologne again, this time for a talk on an Oceanic perspective on tense and modality. If you’re in the area, you’ll find the details here.
I was fortunate to be invited as a contributor to a special edition of Lingua (in pre-Glossa times) on possession. My article on “Alienability as control” is now out in print at long last and, alas, behind a paywall. You can contact me to get the manuscript.
I’m very excited about our upcoming workshop at the DGfS 2017 titled “Towards an ontology of modal flavors”. Watch this link for a description and updates on the schedule:
Congratulations go to my esteemed colleague Sonja Riesberg who received the first Franz Boas Award for her work in the collection and archiving of data for the CELD corpus! The award is meant to promote collections of archived materials as academic publications and generate awareness and recognition for this type of scholarly output.