9 votes
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Statistical Methods in Etymology

You may want to look at D. Ringe's On Calculating the Factor of Chance in Language Comparison, which lays out some of the problems. I believe that uncontrolled variables are the greatest impediment to ...
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  • 67.8k
6 votes

A syntactician "must-read" list

I agree with Greg Lee that McCawley is the place to go for the canonical generative treatment of English syntax and that GPSG is the generative counterpart to that. However, things have moved on since ...
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5 votes

Where to start with deciphering this language?

"How do you go about deciphering a language without any spoken basis, no native speakers to converse with, or another other leads to go on besides ones provided by context alone?" You don't. With ...
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  • 6,374
5 votes
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Is there a method for teaching through etymology/cognates?

This is probably a question for Language Learning SE, but I think it does have some interesting connections with linguistics, so here you go. TL;DR what you're asking about used to be the norm, has ...
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  • 2,208
3 votes

Have any linguists studied/described a language that was totally foreign to them?

For field linguists, this isn't unheard of, but in most cases there is a contact language or lingua franca in the region which allows more extensive communication. The University of Toronto maintains ...
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  • 189
3 votes
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When analyzing a set of corpora, are there any standard practices with regard to the classification of gerunds?

Present and past participles can function like nouns, adjectives or verbs. There are clearly some examples where the non-lemma form has taken on a life of its own. There are some which have currency ...
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3 votes

A syntactician "must-read" list

I recommend The Syntactic Phenomena of English by James McCawley. It's the best book on syntax I've ever read, and I used it at least twice for intermediate level courses on syntax. It's a book for ...
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3 votes

Have there been attempts to verify accuracy of the comparative method?

Perhaps the greatest success story of linguistic analysis was Kurylowicz's discovery that Hittite inscriptions provided evidence for the laryngeal theory for IE reconstruction, proposed by Saussure. ...
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3 votes

What is the protocol to determine sample size in phonetic research?

This could get too complicated to pursue in comments. I've seen a seat of the pants number of 10 per variable: you might read this. When you've sorted out the logical structure of the question, you ...
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2 votes

Way to learn foreign languages

Any advice on learning an additional language is kind of like dieting advice. It has probably worked for a few people at some point. But it generally involved unrealistic expectations about behavior ...
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2 votes

What are some must-have equipment in a mobile fieldwork kit?

The answer depends in part on the intended use, i.e. recording a village meeting is quite different from well-controlled elicitation with one person. I recommend a Fostex FR 2LE recorder. You need ...
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  • 67.8k
2 votes

A syntactician "must-read" list

Since you have become sceptical about the Chomskian syntax, you may be interested in constructionist approaches to grammar. Two books I can recommend are Cognitive Grammar by John R. Taylor and ...
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2 votes

Do linguists measure the relation distance between languages? How?

One of several examples of a distance function is the Levenshtein edit distance. It works by producing a value based on how many 'edits' a word has to go through to match another. For example, English ...
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2 votes

When analyzing a set of corpora, are there any standard practices with regard to the classification of gerunds?

Generally speaking, gerunds are lemmatised and counted as verbs (and typically, there is just one tag like VING for the ing-form of the verb, no matter how it is used in a sentence) in corpus ...
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2 votes

Where to start with deciphering this language?

If it is a language (and it could be, lots of games have conlangs) step one is get lots more data, preferably some with known translations or at least known topics.
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  • 5,425
2 votes

elicit judgment: source revealed?

I wish your question were more detailed. Is it about written or spoken sentences? Is it about the person who reads the sentence or who made it up? Anyhow, I'll give you an example when names do matter....
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2 votes

elicit judgment: source revealed?

If the question is whether speaker name influences listener reaction, you should include the speaker's name (otherwise you can't test the hypothesis). For instance if you had marginal utterances read ...
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2 votes

What statistical tests can be used to check for lexicalisation effects in a judgement task?

Likert scales are usually analysed with the Mann-Whitney U test or a Chi square test. T-tests are fine if the test assumptions are met, but they are not always (which is why people use the MWU which ...
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2 votes

Have any linguists studied/described a language that was totally foreign to them?

There are two major variables in doing this: can you interact with a speaker, and do you have some common ground. If the answer to both questions is no, then you pretty much cannot figure the language ...
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1 vote

Have any linguists studied/described a language that was totally foreign to them?

The film "The grammar of happiness" has a scene where Daniel Everett demonstrates how he learned the first words of Piraha without having any common language to the Piraha people. He starts ...
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1 vote
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What statistical tests can be used to check for lexicalisation effects in a judgement task?

I think what you are looking for are 'linear mixed models'. You can fit them with subjects and items as random factors with varying intercepts and slopes to control for and measure their influence on ...
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  • 123
1 vote

Can linguistics be proven?

To tell whether a theory is true, you compare its predictions with the facts. For instance, TG predicts that a constituent can be extracted from just a single conjunct, but not from both conjuncts of ...
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  • 12.3k
1 vote

A syntactician "must-read" list

Learn some formal language theory via Sipser's Intro to the Theory of Computation. Having the background will be useful when dealing with Minimalist Grammars and their parsers.
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  • 336
1 vote

Said tags in Sentence detection

From the question, it is not clear which language you are using or how you want the sentence to be split. You're looking for a sentence detector, though. If you're using Python, you can use NLTK's ...
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  • 576
1 vote

Way to learn foreign languages

In my own experience as an English teacher, I'd like to share that I've thought using both methods: Teaching without giving any grammar structures and teaching guided by grammar, and the outcomes in ...
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1 vote

Personal vs. Demonstrative Pronouns

For the first question as to what methodology can be used to determine whether a set of pronouns are third-person personal pronouns or anaphoric demonstratives, Cerberus' is right saying that they ...
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  • 629
1 vote

Is there a well-established metric to measure the effectiveness of a parsing algorithm?

The recall metric is ignored when evaluating syntactic trees because all tokens are being labeled in one way or another. There are 5 most common metrics for the evaluation of syntactic dependency ...
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