Workshop on Bad Data in Linguistics

Workshop on Bad Data in Lingusitic Theory On 17-18 March 2016, the project Maps and Grammar will organize the workshop Bad Data in Lingusitic Theory. In the workshop we want to discuss how linguistic research should deal with data that does not exactly fit a particular research goal. This involves data which are incomplete, noisy, one-sided or conflicting.

In recent years, the workshop theme has become more important since the volume of linguistic research based on data is growing. The workshop proposal has generated enthousiastic responses. A group of interesting invited speakers intends to present their ideas in the workshop: Paul de Lacy, Paula Fikkert, Paul Kiparsky, Cecilia Poletto, Keren Rice, Carson Schutze, Christina Tortora, Jeroen van Craenenbroeck, Joel Wallenberg and Charles Yang.

Other contributions are welcome. We invite submissions for talks of 30 minutes consisting of abstracts of 2 pages, which should be submitted before the deadline of 1 December 2015. Submission details can be found on the website of the workshop.

Presentation in Kuala Lumpur

Maps and Grammar in Kuala Lumpur 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.

Field trip to Italy

Italy locations 2015 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.

Edisyn 2015

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.


Visit to the USA

Love Monument UPenn 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!

New colleague

On 17 November 2014, the Maps and Grammar team was joined by a new postdoc: Edoardo Cavirani. His work in the project will focus on representing deeper linguistic structures, like grammars, on maps. We welcome our new colleague!


Drongo festival

20140927 At 27 September 2014, the team of the project Maps and Grammar represented the Meertens Institute at the Drongo festival, a yearly Amsterdam meeting of science and culture with the theme multilinguality. At the meeting we presented three interactive online dialect games to the festival audience.

More than forty people played the games and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. The Maps and Grammar lab presentation was recognized as one of the three best labs by the festival jury and the team was awarded with free entry tickets to a local science museum.

Here are the three games (all in Dutch):

  • Game 1: identify origins of dialect speakers by sound
  • Game 2: determine origins of dialect speakers by syntax
  • Game 3: discover language intuitions

The games were developed in the past week especially for the festival but it would be interesting to develop them further for future events and even for collecting research data. Feedback is welcome!

Looking back: Workshop Maps and Grammar

Workshop Maps and Grammar The Workshop Maps and Grammar of Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 September has been a success. Forty three people from different European countries attended the workshop. We listened to eleven talks, among which invited talks of Hans Goebl, John Nerbonne and Bettina Speckmann. The talk of professor Speckmann of the Technical University of Eindhoven provided useful techniques for mapping language data for the audience which consisted mainly of linguists. We are looking forward to future editions of this workshop!

Workshop programme with slides of talks
Some photos of the second day

Programme Workshop Maps and Grammar

The programme of the Workshop Maps and Grammar has been announced. It contains eleven talks of an international group of scientists. If you want to attend the workshop, please fill in the registration form or notify of your intention to participate. We are looking forward to this interesting event!

Wednesday September 17, 2014

13:30 – 14:15 Sjef Barbiers (Meertens Instituut)
Introduction to the Workshop
14:15 – 15:15 Hans Goebl (Universität Salzburg)
Language in space and language on maps: some methodological and historical considerations
15:15 – 15:45 Break
15:45 – 16:30 Montserrat Adam-Aulinas (Universitat de Barcelona)
Quantified morphematic maps and a dynamic view of dialectal space: its application to the northern area of central Catalan
16:30 – 17:15 Sean Roberts (MPI Nijmegen)
Drawing Isogloss Lines

Thursday September 18, 2014

09:30 – 10:30 John Nerbonne (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
Abstractness and Rigor in Variation Studies
10:30 – 11:15 Erik Tjong Kim Sang (Meertens Instituut)
Finding transition zones in dialect data
11:15 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 12:15 Nina Ouddeken, Marc van Oostendorp, Roberta d’Alessandro (Meertens Insituut / Universiteit Leiden)
Between Voicing and Aspiration
12:15 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:15 Gotzon Aurrekoetxea (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea)
Analysis of the morphological variation of Basque using the ‘Diatech’ tool
14:15 – 15:00 Wilbert Heeringa (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
Finding dialect areas by means of bootstrap clustering
15:00 – 15:15 Break
15:15 – 16:00 Jeroen van Craenenbroeck (KU Leuven)
Reverse Dialectometry: geography as a probe into linguistic theory
16:00 – 17:00 Bettina Speckmann (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven)
17:00 Drinks