[Lingtyp] spectrograms in linguistic description and for language comparison

Eitan Grossman eitan.grossman at mail.huji.ac.il
Fri Dec 2 16:32:14 UTC 2022

Thanks Adam for raising this issue and thanks especially to Christian for
for pointing us to his article.

Just as an anecdote about examples and what they illustrate - I am going
through spontaneous conversational Hebrew corpora right now, and am having
a very hard time locating examples that one could use to illustrate basic
grammatical relations in the language, i.e., clauses that are the
equivalent of the standard ones that we can all produce in our languages
and which populate linguistic discussions of GRs. So even if one does
occasionally find something like "I used avocado cream mask" or "She fell
asleep," one would hardly find them representative of hours of language as
actually used.

Back to spectrograms and pitch tracks etc., I wonder what your impression
is of the very qualitative type of work done in interactional linguistics,
where typically not much is claimed in terms of generalizations but each
utterance is analyzed pretty exhaustively in terms of, inter alia, prosody.
My own impression of this kind of work is that it does not make fancy
claims with respect to science, but the reader does get a good idea of what
the range of variation is and how the prosody of each utterance relates to


On Fri, Dec 2, 2022 at 5:16 PM Christian Lehmann <
christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de> wrote:

> Dear Jürgen,
> to mitigate a bit your pessimist opinion of the methodological situation
> of our discipline, let me mention, as a contribution to the discussion you
> are requiring, my web page
> https://www.christianlehmann.eu/ling/ling_meth/ling_description/representations/?open=example.inc
> which advocates a distinction between
>    1. a probatory example (which is data used as scientific evidence)
>    2. and an illustrative example (or pedagogical example, which is only
>    meant to render a descriptive statement more concrete and, thus, to help
>    understanding).
> Methodological standards for these two kinds of examples are completely
> different. On #1, I may recommend:
> Lehmann, Christian 2004, “Data in linguistics.” *The Linguistic Review*
> 21(3/4):275-310.
> <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249931781_Data_in_linguistics>
> Best,
> Christian
> --
> Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
> Rudolfstr. 4
> 99092 Erfurt
> Deutschland
> Tel.: +49/361/2113417
> E-Post: christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
> Web: https://www.christianlehmann.eu
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