On Friday 30 October 2015, Maps & Grammar postdoc Erik Tjong Kim Sang presented his paper Voronoi Diagrams without Boundary Boxes at the Joint International Geoinformation Conference (JIGC) 2015 in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The paper describes a technical feature which he implemented in the dialect mapping tool Arvid: a method for drawing arbitrary dialect maps without requiring the user to define boundaries for the regions that are being studied. The talk elicited several questions, about data collection methods, data interpretation, storing audio interviews and dealing with transition zones. PDFs are available of the paper and the slides of the talk. Further comments are welcome.
In September and October 2015, Maps and Grammar PhD student Nina Ouddeken visited Italy to collect dialect data for her research project. She interviewed 55 dialect speakers in 17 locations in the regions Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. The image to the left shows the regional spread of the visited locations. The main goal of the interviews was to find out the speakers’s pronunciation of the intervocalic s, like for example in the word casa. A first analysis of the results reveals a difference of pronunciation between the two regions for older speakers while difference for younger people seems to become smaller. It will take a few months before the all data have been analysed. The processed data will be an important part of Nina’s research but they will also be made available to the research community.
On 11-13 June 2015, a three-men delegation from the Maps and Grammar project attended the Edisyn Workshop in Zürich, Switzerland. At this interesting workshop, we presented four talks:
- Lotte Hendriks, Sjef Barbiers & Hans Bennis: Mapping the linguistic system (presented by Sjef Barbiers)
- Edoardo Cavirani: GENDER and NUMBER distribution within Lunigiana DPs
- Sjef Barbiers, Hans Bennis, Marjo van Koppen & Norbert Corver: Grammars on the map: Flemish, Brabantish and Dutch (presented by Sjef Barbiers)
- Erik Tjong Kim Sang: Discovering dialect regions in syntactic dialect data
The weather in Zürich was very nice and we met many interesting people. The next Edisyn conference will be held in 2017.
In the first three months of 2015, Maps and Grammar PhD student Lotte Hendriks made a trip to the east coast of the United States. She stayed in Philadelphia to cooperate with Charles Yang of the University of Pennsylvania. There she attended courses about syntax and psycholinguistics, and presentated her work on variation in verb clusters in Dutch dialects. Lotte also made a tour in the region, presenting her work at four other universities: NYU (in New York City NY), UConn (in Storrs CT), Yale (in New Haven CT) and MIT (in Boston MA). During her stay she talked with many other well-known linguists about topics related to her research: Raffaella Zanuttini (Yale), Susi Wurmbrand (Uconn), Anthony Kroch (UPenn), Beatrice Santorini (UPenn), David Embick (UPenn) John Trueswell (UPenn), Richard Kayne (NYU), Noam Chomsky (MIT) and David Pesetsky (MIT) and others. It was an interesting and useful trip!
On 20 and 21 March 2014, the Maps & Grammar team visited the University of Zürich in Switzerland. Erik, Gertjan, Hans, Lotte, Nina and Sjef each gave a talk. We listened to talks by Curdin Derungs, Péter Jeszenszky, Philipp Stöckle and Steven Moran. We received a system demonstration by Gabi Bart and Sandro Bachmann, and we spoke with prof. Elvira Gasler and prof. Robert Weibel. We would like to thank our hosts from the University of Zürich for their hospitality and for a nice and interesting meeting!
(Click on the photo to view a larger version)