AARDVARC

New Evidence for Neanderthal Language Announced

YPSILANTI, Michigan – The controversy over whether Neanderthals possessed a capacity for language may have been resolved. After years of speculation by evolutionary anthropologists and geneticists, a group of linguists has announced today that they have uncovered written evidence proving the Neanderthal capacity for language.

“Neanderthal man was able to express his ideas about the world around him, but was restricted by his limited syntax,” Professor Schmaltz explained at today’s press conference. “Whereas modern man combines words hierarchically into structure, the Neanderthal could only concatenate them linearly.”

It seems that Neanderthals had a single syllable oog, which, when repeated, formed different words. oog has been translated as ‘Oog’ a proper name, oog.oog meant ‘two people named Oog,’ oog.oog.oog meant ‘emotionally distant – like a teenager anxious to move out of his parents’ cave’ and so on.

Schmaltz’ team was able to identify and translate two texts left by Neanderthals. The first, a recent discovery in Spain, is a fragment of a teenager’s diary. It reads oog.oog.oog and has been translated as ‘[Dear diary, I feel] emotionally distant. [I wish I had my own cave]’.

‘[Dear diary, I feel] emotionally distant. [I wish I had my own cave]’

oog.oog.oog

The second text is either an exhaustive history of the region or simply the Neanderthal word for ‘antelope’, oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog…

 

oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog…

oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog…

 

These findings suggest Neanderthals were just as culturally sophisticated as modern humans, but totally lacked an efficient method of communication. It has long been known that while Homo Sapiens’ culture developed rapidly, Neanderthals stagnated over thousands of years. Schmaltz hypothesizes that innovations simply would have taken too long to explain, as new words would have to be even longer chains of oog’s.

Schmaltz went on to speculate that the high-five traces its origins back to a borrowing from Proto-Neanderthal. “With each hand representing the name ‘Oog,’ slapping them together must have been used as a greeting. It truly was the original instant message.”

 

Thank You Applicants!

Thank you to everyone that applied for the 2014 summer internship program. This year we received a record number of 100 applicants! We anticipate to begin to review the applications within the next few weeks.

Didn’t get the chance to apply for this year and want to prepare for next year’s cycle? Here are some things that will make you stand out:

1. Show a passion for something

Here at the LINGUIST List, our staff is full of people with a variety of skills in different fields. Some know programming, others really love phonology or syntax. Whatever you have a passion for, go for it! Our office is full of a variety of people (and some animal guests) and we like to have interns that seem excited about a particular field.

2. Double check your contact information

Each year, we inevitably have a few submissions where the application email address is put in incorrectly and bounces. This year, we added in a section where we asked for an alternate method of contacting you. This was mainly done to make sure that in case the main email bounces we can still get a hold of you. What if we didn’t have that information? You would not have known how awesome we thought your application was and we will be forever without telling you this. Remember, if you think you submitted it with a typo or accidentally a word, you can always contact us. We would love to hear from you! We all make mistakes :)

3. Brush up on your skills

Want to improve on your programming skills? Want to learn a new trick? You should check out our tutorials and YouTube videos to get started. There’s some on the basics of HTML, CSS, ColdFusion, Javascript, and SQL. Are you more of the hands on type and are in the Ypsilanti area? Keep an eye out on our social media pages for postings about talks and demonstrations that will be happening in our office.

4. Ask to volunteer

If you don’t have time to fully commit to a summer internship or want to still help out in our office, we are always looking for reliable volunteers to assist with our projects. If you are interested in helping out on a regular basis, review our list of projects and email linguist@linguistlist.org with your questions.

 

2014 LINGUIST List Internship Program Now Accepting Applications!

The LINGUIST List is pleased to announce the availability of a limited number of paid internship positions for the summer of 2014 at the LINGUIST offices in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Internships are available for a three-month period between May and August 2014.

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Interns will have the opportunity to participate in the daily operations of the LINGUIST List and its parent organization, the Institute for Language Information and Technology (ILIT) at Eastern Michigan University. ILIT serves the discipline of linguistics by providing digital tools and services that sustain the scientific analysis of language and by disseminating high-quality language data and linguistic information. In addition to the LINGUIST List website and mailing list, ILIT manages a number of grant-funded projects that develop the cyberinfrastructure of linguistics; interns may expect to work primarily on the following projects:

(1) Language and Location: A Map Annotation Project (LL-MAP: http://www.llmap.org): This project began as a joint NSF-sponsored project of Eastern Michigan University and Stockholm University and is hosted as an ongoing project at ILIT. In LL-MAP, language information is integrated with data from the physical and social sciences by means of a Geographical Information System (GIS). Tasks for this project include map-making (using Global Mapper and Google Earth) and using the LL-MAP Scholar’s Workbench to style and upload maps. You will also be responsible to help develop a new interface for the map viewing facility.

(2) MultiTree (http://multitree.org): The MultiTree project is a digital library of scholarly hypotheses about language relationships and subgroupings. This information is organized in a searchable database with a web interface, and each hypothesis is presented graphically as a diagram of a family tree. Typical tasks for this project include researching language relationship hypotheses and entering this information into the MultiTree database.

(3) Endangered Language Catalog (ELCat: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/): This project launched in fall 2011 with funding from the NSF. The ELCat project is responsible for posting data about endangered languages with evaluation from global experts. This information is used to confront the issue of language endangerment by allowing users to upload data and multimedia files regarding thousands of languages in order to document, preserve, and teach others about each language. Potential interns will be responsible for resource discovery, reading scholarly articles, data entry, and bibliography management.

(4) 19th International Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) Conference: This conference will take place from July 17, 2014 through July 19, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The focus of this conference is to promote interaction and collaborations among researchers interested in non-derivational approaches to grammar, where grammar is see as the interaction of (perhaps violable) constraints from multiple levels of structuring, including those of syntactic categories, grammatical relations, semantics, and discourse. There will also be a special panel session on “Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory” with a focus on under-resourced and endangered languages. Interns will be responsible for assisting with the design and printing of conference materials, assisting non-local attendees with finding local events, and other tasks to be determined by the local conference organizers.

(5) Grammar Engineering Platform Development: The goal of this project is to create an online IDE for morphological analyzers (and potentially syntactic grammars) where linguists are able to simply copy and paste their data into a form online, specify grammars and rules, and perform analyses and parses of data. Interns will learn about XFST, FOMA, Finite State Morphology, Context Free Grammar, Unification Grammars, linguistic theories, documentation standards, java, python, and Django development techniques. Interns do not necessarily need to already know about the above. On-site training workshops will be provided. If you already have experience with these tools, please make sure to mention this on your application and/or supplemental materials.

(6) Website, App, and Localization Development: LINGUIST List is working on creating a new website and posting system. Interns will help to create not only a new website, but also to develop applications compatible with the iOS and Android systems. For the localization, interns that have a higher reading ability in languages other than English are highly desired. Training on localization, app development, and the website creation will be provided. If you already have experience with these tools, please make sure to mention this on your application and/or supplemental materials.

Interns are required to work 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, and will receive a stipend of US $8.50 per hour. Housing is not provided, although we are able to provide some assistance in locating accommodations.

International applicants must have a visa that permits them to work in the US. LINGUIST List will work with applicants to obtain a visa; however, this is not guaranteed, as the administrative procedures involved are subject to university approval.

Applicants with external funding or support are encouraged to apply to work here as an extension of the internship program.

LINGUIST List fellowships for the M.A. Linguistics program at Eastern Michigan University for 2014 may be available to selected interns. For more information, see http://www.emich.edu/english/programs/linguistics/.

The deadline for internship applications is January 27, 2014. Applicants will be contacted early in February; Skype interviews with finalists will be scheduled for mid-February or March.

To apply for an internship position, fill out the Google form in its entirety at:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1no5TJ4XHf0PJ3sUN4PfKwzrPQvUTubzEYbSXgIkALEI/viewform.

Applicants are welcome to submit supplementary materials to interns@linguistlist.org  with the subject line “2014 LINGUIST List Internship Application [Your Name]“

ILIT Open House 07/11 and 07/12

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Are you in Michigan for the 2013 Linguistic Institute? Come and visit us for our Open House! Stop by to talk to the staff and students about their work here and the possible opportunities that await. We will be open to the public for two times: Thursday July 11th from 9-2 and Friday July 12th from 2-5. We plan on making it an informal event, so bring your friends and stop in throughout the two session times.

We are in the Cooper building near Eastern Michigan University’s campus at 2000 N Huron River Dr. in Ypsilanti.

The easiest way to get here from downtown Ann Arbor is to take “The Ride” on line 3 for $1.50. You can get on at two locations: Ann and State or Glen and Catherine. Take this into Ypsilanti and it will go down Washtenaw Avenue. Your stop will be on Huron River Drive at the Eastern Michigan University Stadium. The LINGUIST List is across the street from the stadium bus stop inside the Cooper Building. On Thursday, one of our interns, Thomas Haider, will be guiding people to the Cooper building from the Ann and State Street stop. The bus will pick people up at 8:55am and Tom will be there around 8:45am. If you miss the bus, the buses run about every half hour and you can take another one into town.

If you get lost, you can call us at 734-487-0144. We look forward to seeing you!

Thomas Haider

Here’s Tom, your friendly tour guide and the face to look for at the bus stop.

 

AARDVARC Premier Conference a Success

May 9th –May 11th, 2013 marked the advent of ILIT’s development of the Automatically Annotated Repository of Digital Audio and Video Resources Community (henceforth known as AARDVARC). Thanks to the incredible teamwork demonstrated by EMU’s dynamic faculty, the motivated students and employees of ILIT, and the many honored guest speakers and participants from around the globe, AARDVARC was a resounding success.

The first day of the conference began fresh and vibrant with an inspiring welcome from the well-loved linguistic scholar and previous co-director of ILIT, Helen Alistar-Dry. With fresh-brewed cups of coffee in hand provided by EMU’s superior catering staff, upwards of 30 participants eagerly attended to the first presentation of this new interdisciplinary group. Gary Simons led a visionary discussion on the potential for establishing AARDVARC as a sustainable, multi-disciplinary community of intellectuals and academics dedicated to the prospect of developing better ways to share and access data across academic and public spheres. Dr. Simons was followed by an engaging postulation proposed by Mark Liberman, regarding the future of linguistic field data organization, use, and storage.

Shri Narayanan discussing the automatic extraction of human-centric information from audio-visual resources.

Following the introductions to AARDVARC’s vision, the conference was enriched by a broad range of progressive research in the field of audio-visual data extraction provided in chronological sequence by Professor Shri Narayanan, Professor Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson, and Dr. Robert McGrath. The conference featured the impressive details of Professor Paul Boersma’s most recent contributions and innovations to phonetic documentation and segmentation via Praat software.

To compliment these innovative technological presentations, a line-up of representatives from the data archiving side of linguistic and anthropologic research expressed their interests in working towards a coordinated community of archival resource management. Members of this division included Mietta Lynnes of the FIN-CLARIN consortium, Greg Hedlund of the PHON project, Brian Carpenter from the American Philosophical Society, and featured succinct project details by Professors Tanja Schultz, Jerome Crowder, Arriene Dwyer, Christian DiCanio, Douglas H. Whalen, and Jonathan D. Amith.

The constituency of cultural anthropologists and documentary linguists augmented the caucus of linguistic technology engineers, developers, and enthusiasts present at AARDVARC by bridging the divide between the diversity of human cognition, society, and culture with the abstract and strictly standardized realm of data technology assimilation. With this preliminary vision assessment and enormous ray of energy and dedication to the conference goals, it is certain that AARDVARC’s future congress (scheduled for 24-25 October 2013 at the City University of New York) will be equally progressive and effective as the goal of implementing sustainable data sharing/archive initiatives drifts from the realm of dreams and fantasy into the waking consciousness of concrete academic reality.

Automatically Annotated Repository of Digital Audio and Video Resources Community

The first AARDVARC workshop will take place 9.-11. May, 2013 on the premises of Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, MI. We plan a series of invited plenary talks, software/tools/project presentations, and discussions in working groups.

AARDVARC: Automatically Annotated Repository of Digital Audio and Video Resources Community, will address the problem of not transcribed, and therefore unavailable, documentation of understudied languages by building an interdisciplinary community of linguists, anthropologists, and computer scientists to share knowledge and collaborate on the specification of a repository and suite of tools to facilitate automatic or semi-automatic transcription and analysis of audio and visual information. It will provide for two workshops and a symposium to design a “take one leave one” repository and to explore recent advances in speech and video processing that will allow anthropologists and linguists to break the ‘transcription bottleneck’ for language and cultural data. The focus on lesser studied languages will present new challenges for computer scientists seeking to move beyond the tools available to well-studied languages. It is an NSF-sponsored project, award number 1244713.