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.


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: 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 ( 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: 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

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:

Applicants are welcome to submit supplementary materials to  with the subject line “2014 LINGUIST List Internship Application [Your Name]”

Presenting the New MultiTree

multitree title

During Summer 2013, one of our interns, Myles Gurule, tackled redesigning and updating the MultiTree website. This massive undertaking has now reached the beta stage of its development. The new MultiTree has a great new look, as well as having new dynamic functions and features that are very easy to use. I’m going to talk about some of those new features now.

Some general new features

For every tree, there is a comments section at the bottom of the page, using Disqus. You can also share the discussion via Facebook or Twitter. This is to promote discussion in the community of linguists who use MultiTree. If you have any questions or comments about a specific tree, now there is a place for you to voice them.

MultiTree home page 2

The red box highlights the quick links that help users navigate the website.

Another important change made is to the general design and layout of the website. One aspect of that is just making it easier to navigate that website and find the information that you’re looking for. There are now quick links along the top of the web page that directs to you to the browse, search, or help menu.

Also, within the trees themselves, there are multiple color schemes for the tree nodes that you can choose from, as well as “Turn off the Lights” function. Is the white background too hard on your eyes? No problem! You just click on the “Colors” drop-down menu, and click “Turn off the Lights”, which changes the background to a subdued gray. You can also adjust the font size or the orientation of the tree, which I describe below.

Colors menu

The Colors and “Turn Off the Lights” Drop-down Menu

Navigation features within a tree

When you are exploring a tree on MultiTree, there are a number of actions that you can take with our improved navigation buttons:

1) The Highlight Button

highlight path

If you want to see the path from the top parent node of the family, you can click on the language name or subgroup, and then click, “Highlight Node.” This will highlight the branch from the parent node to the node of your choice in red for easy visual reference of the language relationships.


You can do this with as many nodes as you want. Want to see how far two distantly languages diverged in a language hypothesis? You can highlight both nodes. If you don’t want to use the highlights anymore, just click “Clear Highlights” on the top right of the page. That way, you don’t have to go to every single node to remove the highlights.

Multiple nodes highlighted.

Multiple nodes highlighted.

pin it 2

The Pin-it Button

Also, if you’re looking at multiple languages within a tree and you want to switch back and forth between them, you can click the “Pin-It” button in the language information column to the left.


pin it 3

Multiple Tabs Pinned

It will save the language as a tab in the language description column, and you don’t have to go scrolling through the tree searching for it again. As you can see, you can have multiple tabs.



center node

Click on that tab, then click the “Center Node” button, and it will take straight to that node. This cuts down a lot of search time scrolling through the interface.


2) The Search Bar

search bar 3

In the Search Bar, you can search by languages names or codes. When you search for a language or subgroup, it will automatically highlight the path to that node, as you can see in the picture below.

search highlight

Highlighted path for search term “Russian”

3) Orienting the Tree

view 1

The View Drop-down Menu

The drop-down “View” menu allows you to change the view of the tree. This is really handy, because depending on the size of the tree and the number of children languages. You have a number of choices, from horizontal (side-to-side view), vertical (top-to-bottom view), and radial (a spider-web view).  You also have the option to open all the nodes in the tree at once, and if this is too overwhelming, close all the nodes so only the parent node is visible.


The “Radial” view is really useful with smaller tree, while the “Horizontal” view is better for those large Ethnologue or Composite trees. Below is an example of how the radial and horizontal views look:

view - radial

Radial View


view - horizontal

Horizontal View

Also, if you lose your place while changing the view of the tree, all you have to do is click “Center Node” to find your place again, or click “Center”, which will bring you back to the parent of the tree. You can also change the font size of the node names, making the font bigger or smaller depending on the zoom setting and tree orientation.

4) Link to the Language Profile Pages

code hyperlink

If you look to the left in the language description area, you will see that the language code has a hyperlink. This links you directly to the MultiTree language profile pages. On this profile page, you can link to any tree that uses that code in MultiTree, as well as other general information about the language, subgroup, or dialect itself, such as where the language is spoken and if it has any descendants.


If you’re having trouble finding your way around the tree, just click on the question mark, and it will explain the general functions of the tree, as well as link you to the “Help” page.

Reasons for Redesigning MultiTree

The current MultiTree website is programmed in Java, which caused a number of problems in the long run. Two of the major ones that concerned us were 1) Java has some security issues; and 2) anyone who wanted to access MultiTree through their smart phones or other alternate technologies were unable to do so, since Java was incompatible with them. To solve this particular problem, the beta version has been programmed in JavaScript, which makes MultiTree more accessible to a wider audience, such as smartphone users.

Another purpose behind redesigning the MultiTree website was that there were many features that the current MultiTree website had that nobody knew existed, solely because nobody could find them. In the beta website, MultiTree’s features are more transparent and easy to find.

The new website has many new features that the current website does not, a few of which we already talked about; however, one feature that the new MultiTree will not have is the “Compare” function, where you can have two trees open in the same window. While the new site does not have this feature, the new MultiTree allows you to open multiple trees in multiple windows or tabs in the same browser, something you cannot do with the current MultiTree.

Please keep in mind that the new MultiTree site is still under development and we still haven’t worked out all the kinks yet. However, you can explore and play with the new site and tell us what you think. Here is the temporary link to the new site. We would love to hear any feedback, comments or problems that you may have. You can send your comments and suggestions to

ILIT Open House 07/11 and 07/12


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.


The LINGUIST List Welcomes the Summer Interns

This summer, we are happy to welcome 10 interns for this summer! They will be put to work by working on various projects such as ELCat, LL-MAP, and MultiTree.  Congratulations interns on being selected for 2013! If you are interested in becoming an intern, be on the look-out for our application cycle to open again next spring. In the mean time, there are other ways to get involved here at LINGUIST List. Just contact us for more information.

Eric Benzschawel [ˈbɛn.ʃɑl]

Eric at the Basler Münster in Basel, Switzerland, taken last spring when he was studying abroad at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Breisgau), Germany.

I’m Eric Benzschawel, a BA candidate for spring 2013, receiving a degree in Linguistics with honors and Germanic Studies, and minors in Dutch and Western European Studies. I’ll be working this summer as an intern at the LINGUIST List through early August, contributing primarily on the MultiTree and LL-MAP projects.  I speak German and Dutch as second languages.

My personal areas of interest in linguistics are: syntax, morphosyntax, morphology, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics. I’m a Germanophile too, so I enjoy Germanic historical linguistics or linguistic work on modern Germanic languages.  I have a keen interest in Faroese everything (seems like such a cool place!) and histories of Germanic peoples, especially the Dutch Golden Age and the Holy Roman Empire.

All the schoolwork definitely keeps me busy, but that doesn’t mean there’s no free time! I deeply enjoy reading high fantasy, science fiction, history, and linguistics books.  I enjoy music of all genres and play saxophone in the Indiana University Marching Hundred.  I’m also a fan of football (Green Bay Packers), college basketball (Indiana Hoosiers), hockey (Chicago Blackhawks), and soccer (Seattle Sounders FC, Deutsche Nationalmannschaft, Nederlands voetbalelftal).

Emily Remirez

Emily with her dog Sophie.

I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Texas and am currently a junior at Rice University in Houston, majoring in Linguistics with a concentration in Cognitive Science and minoring in Anthropology. I have been interested in language for as long as I can remember, and there is very little that I dislike about linguistics. My main interests (for now) are L1 acquisition, cognitive linguistics, linguistic relativity, animal communication, language typology, syntax, morphology, Central and South American languages, language contact, creoles and pidgins, historical linguistics, and phonology. Outside of linguistics, I like animals, reading, Wes Anderson movies, absurdity, science fiction, and Arrested Development.

Dana Fallon

Dana enjoying the scenery in Cinque Terre, Italy.

My name is Dana Fallon and I’m just about to graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a BA in Linguistics! I also have a French minor and I had the wonderful opportunity of studying abroad in Lyon, France, last year, during which I got to travel through a lot of Europe. In addition to French, I’ve studied Japanese and some Latin. In my spare time, I’m usually playing guitar or piano, knitting/crocheting, or seeking out dogs to play with.

Kaveh Varjoy

Kaveh at a 2012 piano recital with three of his students.

My name is Kaveh Varjoy. I’m a California-born-and-raised linguistics major at UCSB, going into my senior year. I spend my free time going through used bookstores, splashing around in the ocean, and playing the piano (or at least trying to). My favorite TV show is Arrested Development (it’s back – yay!) and my favorite book is Dante’s Divina Commedia, and there is no limit to the amount of music I enjoy, though I do have a soft spot for jazz and the rat pack. My interests in linguistics are based around language documentation – especially sign languages and Deaf culture, North American languages, and African languages – and the sociocultural intersect between form, identity, and (in)justice/equality.

Bryn Hauk

I have known since high school that my passion was linguistics, but it wasn’t until my freshman year at the University of Michigan that I learned of the myriad subfields from which I was expected to choose a lifelong path. Having tried and loved everything from semantics to second-language acquisition, I finally discovered documentary linguistics, which seemed to combine the best parts of all specializations with the added bonus of fieldwork in faraway places. I have been lucky enough to do just that in northwest Russia with the Veps people, and I hope to continue documenting indigenous languages of Russia in the future as I pursue my MA at EMU. At the LINGUIST List, I get the opportunity to flex my documentary muscles working on our Catalogue of Endangered Languages and to learn important new technologies and scripting languages.

Myles Gurule

I’m a sophomore at Brown University, tentatively planning to double-major in Computer Science and Linguistics. My interests include formal language theory, natural language processing, and Slavic languages. I grew up in northern New Mexico and in my spare time, I coach policy debate, read, and go hiking. I’m excited to learn about current linguistic research and discussion as well as the practical linguistic applications of CS.

Jacob Collard

Jacob at a May Day Festival, performing a Longsword Dance.

I am a rising Junior at Swarthmore College and have now been interested in linguistics for over six years, doing work with endangered languages (Ju|’hoan, Valley Zapotec, and Cherokee), computational linguistics, and syntax. I’m also interested in storytelling, writing, and literature, as well as folkdance, board games, and roleplaying games. I tend to lose myself in the forest, as I enjoy hiking and exploring, which I try to do every day.

Lesley Dennison

Hi, I’m Lesley and I am excited to join The LINGUIST List as an ELCat team member! I’ve been interested in languages ever since high school French class, where I would write notes to my best friend in IPA.I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in April of 2013 with a BA in Linguistics and a minor in Japanese. I will be starting my MA in Linguistics at Eastern in the fall of 2013. When I am not doing linguistics, I like to read, write, travel and cater to my adorable cat, Esteban.

Sara Couture

I recently earned a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics with a minor in German from Wayne State University and I’m currently a summer intern at LINGUIST List. At LINGUIST List, I’m mainly working on the MultiTree project, but I’m also part of the Catalogue of Endangered Languages team and the LL-MAP team. I’m really excited about being immersed in linguistics all summer, learning about the nuts and bolts of language documentation and the technology that is involved.

In hindsight, majoring in Linguistics was inevitable for me. I was one of those nerdy kids who liked to make my own secret codes and alphabets and had notebooks filled with information about Elvish and other constructed languages. Language has always been one of my passions. But I didn’t find the formal field of linguistics until college. I had decided to major in English with the vague notion of becoming an editor or a technical writer. The English degree had a theory requirement, and I chose an Introduction to Linguistics. I absolutely loved it, and when I found out I could become an editor with a Linguistics degree as well as an English degree, I switched majors immediately and the rest is history.

I have an insatiable curiosity about all things linguistic, so it is very difficult for me to narrow down my interests. But at the moment, my primary interests are historical linguistics, dialectology, sociolinguistics, syntax, Germanic linguistics, Celtic linguistics, and English linguistics. Outside of linguistics, I’m always in search of a good story to keep me entertained. I love to read and watch movies. I have a wide, eclectic taste in genres, and I have dabbled in fantasy, science fiction, mystery, historical, classic, thriller, horror, contemporary or westerns. When I’m not doing any of these things, I try to give my mole eyes a rest and go bike riding.

Thomas Haider

I was born 1985 in the area of Munich, Germany. After a sheltered childhood in the middle of Bavaria and some education I pursued an apprenticeship in a physics lab, followed by some more education, a civil service in a youth hostel to finally end up in Heidelberg to study Computational Linguistics and Philosophy. Apart from one year abroad in the Netherlands I have been there for 5 years now, meanwhile enrolled in a Masters programme, writing and reading poetry on stage, dealing with lexical semantics, transgressing borders of verbose gibberish and densified expression.

A Day in the Life of Rebekah McClure, Graduate Student and LINGUIST List Editor

In this series of blog posts, we’ve asked some LINGUIST List staff members to share what it’s like to work at LINGUIST. This post was written by Rebekah McClure. She is currently finishing her first year in the Master’s program in linguistics at Eastern Michigan University. At The LINGUIST List, Rebekah is the Publications Manager and a member of the MultiTree and LL-MAP projects. 

Rebekah showed here breaking the norm by eating a relaxing meal free of distractions at a local Vietnamese restaurant.

5:00 am Jump out of bed to silence the abominable noise that is my alarm. Try not to let the fact that it won’t be light out for another three hours get me down.

5:01 am Slip into the thick wool sweater placed strategically by my bed the night before. Think how environmentally conscious I’m being by keeping the thermostat low.

5:01.005 am Retract previous thought. Think new thought about how I actually just like saving a few bucks on monthly utilities bills but that my goose bumps feel infinitely more noble when they come in the name of energy conservation.

5:46 am Drive to the gym and to my secret life as a weightlifting enthusiast.

6:00 am Squeeze in a workout before a day of LINGUIST List, classes, and yoga teaching.

7:14 am Arrive home and initiate matutinal cleansing, eating, studying, and dawdling rituals.

9:47 am Give my still husband a good-bye kiss that he will have no recollection of since he was up late the night before writing a paper for his Modern Japanese History class and is still sleeping.

9:48 am Leave for Eastern Michigan’s Darrell H. Cooper Building, home of the LINGUIST List.

10:01 am Greet my office mates Brent, the effervescent coffee savant and committed vegan, and Danniella, the perpetually imperturbable British expat and four-time marathoner. Exchange stories of tofurkey and opinions on the best brand of running shoes.

10:05 am Realize I should probably turn my computer on and get to work.

10:07 am Persist in conversing anyway.

10:10 am Turn my computer on and get to work.

10:11 am Log in to email account and check the schedule for meetings and project deadlines that day. Realize that I should have turned my computer on and gotten to work ten minutes ago.

10:13 am Approve Publisher submissions. Find someone in the office to translate one of the descriptions for a German publishing house. Go through my multiple options of German-speaking coworkers and think of how, in times like these, I’m grateful to be working with linguists, many of whom are polyglots.

11:03 am Write an email to (yet another) confused user explaining that you must click on “Submit Journal Information” even if you simply want to register as a publisher and that no, I don’t know why it’s set up that way.

11:06 am Read Journal submissions and be in awe of the multitudinous academic paths a linguist can take and consequently write an article about for a journal. Courtroom discourse or Zulu phonology? Transformational Grammar or politeness phenomena? Realize how much I have yet to learn about the field of linguistics.

11:15 am Approve Journal submissions and publish Journal Calls for Papers for those journals.

11:36 am Draft an email requesting that a user include more information in her Table of Contents submission.

11:40 am Email a reply to a hopeful graduate student and explain that LINGUIST List simply announces new publications—it does not publish books or journals itself—and that I’m sorry your dissertation has been rejected by every other academic publisher but I just can’t help you.

11:42 am Worry about my future as an academic linguist a little bit.

12:06 pm Nibble on lunch as I scan my LINGUIST List intranet page to make sure there aren’t any Publisher, Journal, Journal Calls for Papers, or Table of Contents submissions I missed. Dip broccoli into hummus with left hand and assign with right hand Linguistic Fields to one last Journal description that just came in.

12:27 pm Write an email to (yet another) confused user explaining that you must click on “Submit Journal Information” even if you simply want to register as a publisher and that no, I don’t know why it’s set up that way.

1:00 pm Meet with the MultiTree team. Get excited about new projects.

1:27 pm Return to my office and see three new Publisher submissions for me to approve. Get overwhelmed by new projects.

1:30 pm Explain to a LINGUIST user via email that I’m afraid Klingon is actually not spoken in parts of Cameroon and perhaps you should consider checking your sources before submitting this Journal description.

1:32 pm Worry about my future as an academic linguist a lot.

2:00 pm Conclude worrying about my future as an academic linguist and resolve to forge onward regardless of what lies ahead.

2:01 pm Meet with the PR team. Get excited about new projects.

2:33 pm Receive half a dozen emails from the Benevolent Overpig, our task management system, assigning the new projects just discussed. Get overwhelmed by new projects.

2:35 pm Begin work on a language map of the Kamchatkan peninsula. Type out a long, detailed inquiry in an instant message to Sarah, my tireless LL-MAP “buddy” who tutors me on the intricacies of GPS data points. Acknowledge that it would have saved me time if I had simply gotten up and walked to her office ten feet away. Simultaneously acknowledge that when faced with a similar situation tomorrow I will undoubtedly act in the same manner.

2:36 pm Blame my dependence on technology on factors outside my control—the milieu of my generation, Steve Jobs, my mother. Mourn the imminent death of person-to-person interaction and concede my own complicity in the fall.

2:37 pm Resume work on Kamchatkan map.

3:01 pm Pack everything up and rush to class—LIN436, language acquisition.

3:36 pm Watch videos of toddlers on YouTube and analyze what stage of phonological development they could be passing through.

4:45 pm Leave class with a renewed sense of amazement at the language learning process.

4:46 pm Decide to stay on campus to get some homework done. Struggle through a worksheet in which I’m supposed to analyze the morphology of Tok Pisin, a Papa New Guinean creole that I had never heard of prior to last week.

5:09 pm Worry about my future as an academic linguist really, really a lot.

6:28 pm Chug a protein shake for dinner on my way to teach yoga at the local community college health and fitness center.

7:00 pm Get my zen on.

8:37 pm Return to my apartment feeling calm and collected. Greet my husband and exchange stories from our respective days, each of us making sure the other knows the intricacy and arduousness of the trials we’ve overcome in the past twelve hours.

8:50 pm Put on my thick wool sweater. Read about a former LINGUIST List intern who got into a prestigious PhD program and scored a sweet research grant. Worry about my future as an academic linguist a little less.

8:56 pm Notice the feeling of prickling skin and welcome the appearance of goose bumps. Noble, noble goose bumps.

9:05 pm Initiate my vespertine cleansing, eating, studying, and dawdling rituals.

11:11 pm Not bother to take off my sweater as I climb into bed and brace myself for the abominable noise that will soon be my alarm.


Green Thumbs at LINGUIST List: MultiTree Keeps on Growing!

The MultiTree team has been at it again! They have been planting, shaping, and pruning 21 trees this semester. Not just any type of tree: language trees.

The goal of the MultiTree project is to provide a freely-accessible online library of trees representing language relationships that have been proposed scholars. The team takes these theories and digitizes them to create a visual representation. What is great about this digitization project is that it allows you to interact with each tree and watch as each hyperbolic tree moves and adjusts according to which language you would like to view. Since last fall, the team has completed trees representing 21 language family hypotheses and has also updated 160 language codes. All of these improvements have helped to make the MultiTree project grow and bloom with each passing month.

If you are interested in seeing some of the trees that the MultiTree team has created recently, you can view them at the links below. Please note that we do not interpret or analyze each language hypothesis; we simply create a digital representation of each hypothesis according to its author. (And stay tuned for some companion maps to be released by the LL-MAP project soon!)

Sorbische Dialekten, subtree of Indo-European: Faßke, Jentsch, Michalk & Mětšk 1965 

Austronesian: Murdock 1964

Mayan: Gatschet 1895, according to Campbell 1973

Mayan:  Campbell & Kaufman 1985 

Mon-Khmer, sub-tree of Austro-Asiatic: Thomas 1973 

Pwo Karen dialects, sub-tree of Sino-Tibean: Philips 1996 

Dig Your Claws Into ELCat

The ELCat team will be holding office hours at the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC) at the Hawai’i Imin International Conference Center on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus. We will be in the Kaniela Room on Friday from 12-1pm. Come visit and find out what the ELCat team and the Endangered Languages Project (ELP) have been up to. We will be there to answer your questions and offer assistance if you want to help out with the project.

The ELCat team is also participating in the meeting about the ISO 693 standard (Language Codes). We will be offering input on methods to correct and modify the unambiguous identification of languages, language families, language varieties and similar entities. These updates are becoming more and more important: the wealth of digital resources in small and hitherto lesser known languages grows, and the importance of multilingual global communication increases every day. Different initiatives worldwide are planning to contribute to an improved setting of the ISO standard. But this can only be successful if many specialists from all over the world participate. All linguists interested in improving the situation of language codes are invited to attend the pre-conference workshop meeting. Please join us, learn about the plans, and discuss and enrich our proposals! The meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb 27th from 3:00pm-5:00pm in the Ling conference room in Moore Hall 575 at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.


MultiTree Project in Bloom

An impressive fourty-four new trees were added to the MultiTree database this summer, from language groupings including SinoTibetan, Niger-Congo, Khoisan, Tai-Kadai, Trans New Guinea, Austronesian, Indo-European, and language families in the Americas. The details of the new trees are given below, with comments from Monica Lesher, one of the summer interns who worked on the MultiTree project. 


Four trees from Edward Sapir were added to the MultiTree repository. Sapir represents an early generation of language classification and published countless works on historical linguistics and classification from the early to mid-20th century. While his conclusions in the classification of indigenous languages of the Americas are not completely accepted today,  his work was a big step forward in the study of American indigenous languages.

Algonkin-Wakashan: Sapir 1968

Aztec-Tanoan: Sapir 1949

Penutian: Sapir 1949

Hokan-Siouan: Sapir 1949

All of the following trees correspond to a map published in 1937 by Segun Krickeberg, under the direction of Wigberto Jimenez Moreno. This map portrays Jimenez Moreno’s classification of languages of South America, as well as those he considered to be isolates. Jimenez Moreno is well-known as an early scholar of indigenous languages of the Americas. (A corresponding LL-MAP map is in the works.)

Aruacana: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Aimara: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Araguaco: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Caribe: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Charrua: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Chibcha: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Diaguita: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Ges: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Guaycuru: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Pano: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Quechua: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Puelche: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Tehuelche: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Tucano: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Tupi-Guarani: Krickeberg & Jimenez Moreno 1937

Lyle Campbell and Veronica Grondona are very well known for their work on indigenous languages of the Americas. The following Chibchan tree is the first from one of their most recent works, and it was begun while the source was still in preparation (used with permission of the authors).

Chibchan: Campbell, Grondona 2012


Several trees for Asian language groups were completed.

Sino-Tibetan: Shaffer 1955

A tree of Chinese dialects was created from a massive work on the dialects of Chinese languages by Wurm and Yongquan:.

Chinese (dialects): Wurm, Yongquan 1987

David Bradley is an editor of the section of Atlas of the World’s Languages titled “East and South-East Asia.” This source is exceptionally detailed and researched, and it outlines not just Bradley and Alan Sanders’ (another contributor to the section) classification, but also many alternative classifications of languages of the Mon-Khmer family. 

Mon-Khmer: Bradley 2007

The Sino-Tibetan tree from “East and South-East Asia” in the Atlas of World Languages was also created. David Bradley and Alan Sanders are the contributors in this section, and this particular article is extremely in-depth and well-researched.

Sino-Tibetan: Bradley 2007

Austro-Thai: Benedict 1975

George Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India was without a doubt the first major documentation of the peoples and languages of then-British territory India. Finished in 1891 and published shortly thereafter, Grierson’s work, while far from what most scholars today would call linguistically accurate, was conducted at a time when linguistics was not itself considered a field of study apart from anthropology. A linguistic study of this kind was scarce at the time of its publication, and it is quite impressive with its minute details and in-depth analysis of the Indian cultures and languages of the late 19th century. (Note: There are 32 maps in LL-MAP that correspond to this tree. Each map is linked in its credits to the tree in MultiTree and can be found in LL-MAP by searching for “Linguistic Survey of India.”)

Aryan (subtree of Indo-European): Grierson 1903 (Linguistics Survey of India)

Mon-Khmer, subtree of Austro-Asiatic: Thomas 1966

Two Tai-Kadai hypotheses were added as trees:

Tai-Kadai: Diller 2008 (Diller  is an authority on Tai-Kadai languages and was in correspondence with Calvin Cheng , the intern who made this tree.)

Tai-Kadai: Ethnologue 2009