I regularly go a little overboard when designing puzzles for the German Olympiad of Linguistics, but for one of this year’s puzzles, I really outnerded myself. I designed a True Type Font for the writing system Afaka, which was developed for the creole language Ndyuka. It was conceived in 1910 by Afáka Atumisi and is named after its inventor. It’s a syllabary, partially based on a rebus system.
For example, the symbol representing the syllable /fo/ shows four vertical lines. And there is an Afaka word pronounced “fo”, which means “four” (yes, it’s cognate with the English word).
There is a preliminary Unicode sheet with codes, but the writing system hasn’t been fully developed and codified so far. Accordingly, my font is also only a preliminary solution to writing Ndyuka in Afaka script. But it’s great for playing around, and designing puzzles! You can download the font here.
It’s October already and I have just received my appointment as a guest professor in the SFB (special research unit) on Information density in Saarbrücken. I will teach a class on “Cross-linguistic variation in structural complexity” and I’m excited to learn more about information density and possible applications of existing hypotheses and tools to typological comparison.
I’m looking forward to this week’s CLARIN-D workshop on data management and corpus creation in Hamburg. As a member of F-AG 3, I’ll be attending with a short talk and am curious to learn more about current practices and experiences.
If you have many interlinearized examples in your LaTeX documents, you have probably wondered about the best way to handle them. Here are some ideas. There are two potential problems with the glosses: 1) different publishers may have different requirements for how to print them, so transferring glossed examples from one manuscript to another may be difficult. 2) You’ll want to have a list of all the glosses in your document, and it should be complete and consistent. To solve all that, the main strategy is to label all your glosses explicitly as such by using a new command we may call “Gloss”:
I have just returned from APLL 9 in Paris that came with lots of fascinating research and productive discussions. To check out my talk with Anna Margetts on multi-clausal expressions of possibility in Saliba-Logea and Daakaka, click on the thumbnail on the left.
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).