Animating Mergers

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I’ve dabbled with creating animations in R, but since the newest version of gganimate came out, I’ve been trying to find a useful way to use it. (I don’t know if visulizing simulations of Chutes and Ladders counts as “useful”…) But as I was putting together a lecture on mergers last semester, it occured to me that the best way to illustrate them would be with animations! So I took the opportunity and created some fun visuals. Read more

Why do people use BAT instead of TRAP?

In English sociolinguistics, you'll often see vowel phonemes represented by a single word in small caps. For example, TRAP represents /æ/. However, in a lot of American dialectology papers, you'll see authors use the label BAT instead. In this post, I explain why I think these competing labels are used… and why I prefer TRAP over BAT. Read more

LCUGA6

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I presented at the 6th annual Linguistics Conference at UGA today! My presentation, which was called "Real Time Vowel Shifts in Georgia English" compared Georgians born around the 1890s to those born in the 1990s—100 years of change! The main finding is that is that nearly every vowel has changed, and it seems like the trajectory of that change is in the direction of the Elsewhere Shift, rather than just a simple recession of Southern features." Read more

3D Vowel Plots with Rayshader

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So Tyler Morgan-Wall has recently come out with the rayshader package and the R and data science Twitter community has been buzzing. I’ve seen people post some absolutely amazing 3D plots and animations. I haven’t seen any linguists using it though, so I’m hopping on that bandwagon—a little late in the game—to show what kinds of 3D visuals we can produce using vowel data. Read more

Thank You

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Some of you may have noticed that at the bottom of a lot of the pages on my website, I've got this button. I've created an account on ko-fi.com, which is a platform that, in their words, provides "a friendly way for fans to support your work for the price of a coffee." To put it more bluntly, I've created a way for people to give me money for my tutorials and stuff. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I'll brag for just a little bit before geeking out about the new books I've gotten because of that little button. Read more

Jealousy List 3

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This is the third iteration of my Jealousy List, which is a list of articles so good I wish I had been the one to write them. My first two lists were posted about a year ago (see the list of lists here) and this one is long overdue, so I apologize for some of the posts being a little less recent. Regardless, here are a list of posts I’ve found in the past few weeks and months that I found exceptional in some way, entertaining, informative, or just plain cool. Read more

DH 2019

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At the Digital Humanities 2019 conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands, I presented with Bill Kretzschmar on ways to visualize a lot of phonetic data. The first half of the presentation was essentially me showcasing the Gazetter of Southern Vowels (or GSV), a website I created in Shiny to help visualize 1.3 million acoustic measurements from the Digital Archive of Southern Speech. In the talk I spend most of the time showing how you can interact with the data. Read more

You're a Statistician, Harry!

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The job hunt was not sucessful this year. I applied to about two dozen positions, got interviewed for five of them (yay!) but ultimately got zero offers (boo…). I’m disappointed, sure, but it’s probably for the best anyway: it took longer to write my dissertation than I anticipated, so it probably wouldn’t have been feasible to finish it and graduate by August. Plus, I have funding for one more year. But, the funny thing is I’m now in this weird position where the bulk of my dissertation has been written, but I have about another year left as a student. What can I during this time? I considered a lot of options, but I think I’ve settled on something fun: I’m going to try and get an M.S. in Statistics! Read more

Simulating Werewolf

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I really enjoy the party game called Werewolf. When I was an undergrad, I played it many, many times but unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to play it for several years. After successfully simulating an easier game like Chutes and Ladders a few weeks ago, I thought I’d try moving on to something more difficult. Here are the results of a bunch of simulations of simple Werewolf games. Read more

Simulating Chutes and Ladders

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We tried teaching our little almost-three-year-old Chutes and Ladders today. She wasn’t very good at counting tiles. But, as I was sitting there climbing up and sliding down over and over, I wondered what the average number of turns it would take to finish the game. So I decided to take a stab at simulating the game. So here’s a post on a simple simulation of Chutes and Ladders that demonstrates absoluately nothing about linguistics and instead shows off some R skills. Read more

Vowel overlap in R: More advanced topics

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This is a continuation of my previous tutorial on how to calculate Pillai scores and Bhattacharyya’s Affinity in R for the purposes of measuring vowel overlap. It occured to me as I was putting the previous one together though that I had a lot of things to say and the tutorial got really long and complicated. So I moved all the more advanced topics to this one to keep the main one a little lighter and more approachable. Read more

Prevelar Raising Survey Results

In April and May this year, I posted a survey to a bunch of different subreddits that asked people how they pronounced certain words. If you took the survey, THANK YOU! The number of responses I got was overwhelming and took much longer to analyze than I could have ever anticiapted. So, after many months, I’m finally ready to post the results for you. Hopefully you’ll find them intersting. Read more

NWAV47

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Today, I gave a poster presentation on prevelar raising. As it turns out, despite BEG and BAG being relatively small lexical classes, I found phonological, morphological, and lexical effects on the degree of raising, and that the two vowel classes reacted to these influences differently. Read more

Jealousy List 2

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This is the second post in my occasional series of Jealousy Lists. I’m subscribed to about 50 blogs, most of them Data Science–related, and I’ve see a lot of really cool stuff coming out recently. It makes me really want to take my R skills to the next level. Anyway, these are some cool posts that I read recenty: Read more

Brand Yourself

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Today, I was asked to do a professionalization workshop on different ways grad students can boost their online presence through building a personal webpage, utilizing social media, and finding their field's conversation---basically, how to make yourself more googleable. At the end, I challenged people to not leave the room until they had built some sort of new online profile they didn't have when they walked in. Read more

Jealousy List 1

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This year, FiveThirtyEight started a monthly Jealousy List, which is essentially a list of really cool articles they saw other people do that they wish they had been the ones to write. This is an idea they got from Bloomberg and I think others are starting to do their own as well. It’s kind of a fun way to showcase some of the best stuff that has come out recently and to share others’ work. I kinda like the idea so I thought I’d start an occasional jealousy list of my own. Read more

Transcribing a Sociolinguistic Corpus

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In the summer of 2016, I went to Cowlitz County, Washington to do traditional sociolinguistic interviews. I talked to 54 people and gathered my first audio corpus. It took a lot of preparation beforehand and it took a lot of time in the field. What I could not have expected was the amount of time it would take to transcribe that corpus. Now, two years later, I have finally finished transcriptions. Read more

Making vowel plots in R (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of a four-part series of blog posts on how to make vowel plots in R. In Part 1, we looked primarily at how to plot individual data points as a scatterplot. This time, I’ll focus entirely on trajectory data, that is, formant measurements per vowel at multiple points along its duration. Today, I’ll cover three things: how to prepare FAVE output for trajectory plots, plotting trajectories in the F1-F2 space, and in the time-Hz space (like what you see in Praat). For both kinds of plots, we’ll see how to show all tokens as well as averages per vowel. Read more

Making vowel plots in R (Part 1)

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Last week I was approached by a fellow graduate student who asked how they might go about making vowel plots in R. I’ve made my share of these plots and have learned some tricks along the way, so I thought it might make for an interesting blog post. Actually, I thought it would make for an interesting series of blog posts. In this first one, I’ll stick with scatterplots and look at the code you’ll need for them. In the next one I show how to plot vowel trajectories. Read more

#365papers

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Around the first of the year, I saw that several academics I follow on Twitter made a goal to read 365 papers during 2018. They tweet about their papers and use the hashtag #365papers. I don’t stand a chance at reaching that goal of 365 papers, but I decided to join in. Read more

Testing English Phonetics

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So I’m teaching phonetics and phonology this semester and we’re using Ladefoged & Johnson’s A Course in Phonetics textbook. As I was preparing to teach about stops, I thought it might be a good idea as a homework assignment for students to gather their own data to see if some of these ideas panned out. Here’s my quick study. Read more

Laboratory Research

Recently, I’ve presented on words like pool, pull, and pole and how the difference between them can be really hard to describe, both by me and the non-specialist alike. Based on my findings in Washington, I decided I wanted to dig a little deeper into what these words are like, so I started a study that is less sociolinguistic and more laboratory phonology-based, which is a little unusual for me. Read more

Admission to Candidacy

This morning I sucessfully defended my second qualifying paper, “Near-Mergers in Cowlitz County, Washington,” which means I’m officially a doctoral candidate! (Okay, actually, a couple forms need to be signed, but that’s no biggie.) What an important step for me! Read more

Lots of Transcribing

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Last summer, I collected roughly 40 hours of conversation from people in Washington State last year. Not an enormous corpus, but I’m quite proud of that dataset. Well, my goal was to transcribe one speaker gradually over the course of the year, finishing around now. Well, in 9 months, I’ve done about… one hour. I realized this week that I really really need to get these done. Read more

A Survey of the Western American English using Mturk

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I’m so happy to announce I’ve been selected as a recipient of the UGA Graduate School Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant! This $2,500 grant is part of the Graduate School’s strategic initiative to support innovation and interdisciplinarity in the research being conducted by doctoral students. My project is entitled “A Survey of Western American English using Amazon Mechanic Turk.” Read more

Brother Joseph

I had the fun opportunity to be a guest in a pocast today! "Faith Promoting Rumors" is a new podcast that my brother and dad started that explores Mormon myths and culture. Having published on an interesting linguistic quirk about Mormon culture—the alternation between calling someone either as "Brother Jones" or as "Bob"—I was asked to talk about my research and about this convention in Mormon culture generally. Read more

Mount St. Helens and Vowels

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Today in our Linguistics Colloquium here at UGA, I got to present on some of my ongoing research on English in a smaller town in Washington. For the past few months I've mostly looked at vowel mergers and using lots of statistical tests to show some very subtle changes. Over the past week or so as I've prepared for this presentation, I've discovered something pretty awesome about my data. And it has to do with Mount St. Helens! Read more

Updated mvnorm.etest() function

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In Levshina’s How to do Linguistics with R, the function mvnorm.etest() from the energy library is used. This runs what’s called the “E-statistic (Energy) Test of Multivariate Normality” which used to test whether multivariate data is normally distributed. This is important because it’s an assumption that should be met for several statistical tests like MANOVA and for testing statistical significance of a correlation. Well, the code from the book is broken. Read more

Website Version 2

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Today I finally rolled out a new version of my website! The previous version was great and was an excellent stepping stone into web design, but it was mostly borrowed code. Unsatisfied with some of the way it was designed, I decided to go ahead and just write a new site completely from scratch. It has taken about a month or so to get it going, but I think it’s a lot better than before. Read more

Excel Workshop

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Today I had the opportunity to give a workshop in the DigiLab in UGA's main library. It was a packed with librarians and grad students from across campus. In just over an hour, I started with the absolute basics and showed more and more tricks that I think would help people with their reserach projects. Read more

LSA2017

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Last weekend, I had the oppotunity to present at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Dialect Society, as well as attend the other meetings of the Lingusitic Society of America annual meeting in Austin, TX. There were a lot of really awesome things about the whole thing. Read more

Brand Yourself

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Today Emily McGinn of the Digital Humanities Lab at UGA and I did a professionalization workshop for grad students. We gave a presentation on different ways grad students can boost their online presence through building a personal webpage, utilizing social media, and finding your field's conversation. We then let the attendees a chance to work on their own to create a new online profile, using what they learned. Read more

DiVar

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I’m excited to announce I’ve been accepted to present at the first iteration of the Diversity and Variation in Language Conference (DiVar1), which will be held at Emory University in Atlanta February 10–11. I’m excited to hear that many of my collegues at UGA have also been accepted, so it should be a fun day for us. Read more