News

Storyboard books in Daakaka.

Storyboard books in Daakaka (2 downloads) Here is the pdf that I used to produce the storyboard picture books now available at amazon. I have used storyboards both from the Totem Field Storyboards site and storyboards I have produced as part of the MelaTAMP research project. The Daakaka text is a selection of the results from last year’s fieldwork on Ambrym. Enjoy!

Mapping Irreality in Göttingen

I went to Göttingen last week to talk about modality, which is turning into a pleasant tradition. In my talk, I outlined the typological debate on the irrealis distinction, introduced the tripartite branching-time model that I think will help us the relevant cross-linguistic variation, and discussed how the same approach also sheds new light on some long-standing questions about the nature of modality, counterfactuality and epistemic necessity. You can find the slides here.

Complexity at the POS level

There was an interesting small workshop in Torun in April on Measuring Linguistic Complexity. When the call came out, I had just finished a preliminary overview on the previous literature on the topic and was ready to get cracking, so I got together with Vera Demberg to test our hypothesis that focussing on POS tags rather than the token-level annotations would give us more reliable results on syntactic flexibility. Our results are in the proceedings.

Perspectives on Low-Resource Languages and Language Varieties

Internet penetration world map from wikimediaMy colleague Stefania Degaetano-Ortlieb and I, with generous support from Elke Teich, organised a workshop last week. We invited researchers from a variety of backgrounds, spanning language documentation, typology, language acquisition, computational linguistics and historical linguistics. We were very happy with the inspiring talks and vibrant discussions about challenges and solutions, which I am sure will continue beyond the small event we had.

Last talk of 2017, at the MPI for the Science of Human History

2017 was a year full of talks, so don’t be surprised if you won’t see me on the circuit as much during 2018. The last talk of that year was at the MPI in Jena, where I talked about some of the things you’ll see if you compare languages based on corpus data that you’re likely to miss if you look at grammatical descriptions. I had some incredibly inspiring conversations and hope to visit more often (maybe even in 2018).

Bibtex bibliographies selected by keywords, with customised keyword separators

This is a very specialised problem, but since I just found the solution, I wanted to briefly document this for myself. I usually use natbib, but for the preparation of reading lists, sorted by topic, I wanted to try biblatex. Creating a list of references selected by a keyword is not a problem at all.

In your preamble, add:

\usepackage[style=authoryear, backend=biber]{biblatex}
	\addbibresource{BIBFILE.bib}

Then, in the place where you want to print the bibliography, add:

\nocite{*}
\printbibliography[keyword=KEYWORD]

However, I use bibdesk as my bibtex editor and it uses “;” as a separator instead of the biber default “,”. And because I’m not very smart and never really saw the significance, I have sometimes manually used “,” in addition to “;” as a separator. So, if you have multiple keywords in your well-groomed bibliography, and they are not all separated by “,”, you’re a bit in trouble. There is, however, a solution for this problem, as explained in this post. You can modify the document-specific biber configuration file to accept different separators. Make sure that you have compiled your document with biber as backend option ([backend=biber]). So there should be a configuration file FILENAME.bcf
In the terminal, I have run the following command to include both “,” and “;” as separators:

biber --xsvsep=[\,\;] FILENAME.bcf

Then recompile your document. Et voilà.