[Lingtyp] Question about helpful design of a comparative, multilectal grammar

Joseph Brooks josephdbrooks at umail.ucsb.edu
Fri Jun 15 17:20:29 UTC 2018

Dear Rasmus,
First of all I find this is really exciting work and I'm looking forward to

One suggestion, is that if you color-code things, us colorblind folk can
run into problems when the colors are overly similar and not maximally
differentiated. I know for myself, and I've had this discussion with a few
colleagues, that I/we just can't follow along in a presentation or other
work where overly similar colors figure prominently in the presentation of
the analysis. Just doing something like having a very light blue (eg
periwinkle or 'sky blue') with a very dark purple, and similarly for
red/green and orange/green, among others.

Hope that's helpful, I don't mean it in a nagging way. Very interested to
read this once it's out!


On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 6:02 AM, Rasmus Bernander <rasmusbernander at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Dear members of the Lingtyp list,
> I’m currently involved in a project called “Linguistic Variation as an
> Indicator of Historical Relations and Language Contact: A Comparative
> grammar of four Mara Bantu languages (Tanzania)”. The project is funded by
> Koneen Säätiö and led by Dr. Lotta Aunio, Department of Languages,
> University of Helsinki. As implied in the title, the project aims at
> offering a linguistic description of four closely related (yet structurally
> versatile) Bantu varieties, Ikoma, Nata, Isenye and Ngoreme (known
> collectively as the Western Serengeti languages).  More information about
> the project can be found at this homepage: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/
> mara-project/
> We are struggling a bit with the question about the ideal way of designing
> the linguistic description. We would like to ask you ”Humans who read
> grammars”, i.e. you researchers who make typological (and/or comparative
> and/or specific theoretical) work and thus have great experience in reading
> grammars as well as extracting information from grammars: What would you
> consider being the most helpful and straightforward way to organize the
> structure of a multilectal grammar of this kind? We would prefer to find
> a way to systemize the data in a manner where we don’t have to prioritize
> one variety over the others and where we can also present the subsystems of
> the non-main varieties in a coherent way. It seems that some grammars use
> color/symbol coding for different varieties. Do you consider that helpful?
> Or do you have other, similar ideas on how one would succeed in creating a
> really clear and comprehensible comparative grammar?
> Many thanks in advance!
> /Rasmus Bernander
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