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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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FYI: Phonotactics and Phonology Database

Author: Mark Donohue

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

FYI Body: Dear LINGUIST List readers,

We wish to announce the public release of the World Phonotactics Database, an online searchable relational database containing information about phonotactic restrictions from around the world. Using the database, you can compare and contrast phonotactic patterns in different languages, group languages by features, investigate the frequencies of different settings for different features, view the areal distribution of such patterns through the use of the interactive map, and check correlations with other phonological features.

The World Phonotactics Database includes phonotactic information on over 2300 languages, with segmental data for an additional 1400. At their most basic level, each language entry includes information on phonemic inventories, restrictions on consonant and vowel placement, and phonotactic restrictions concerning specific sounds in coda and onset position. The database, which was implemented by James McElvenny, contains extensive coverage, and is continuously updated as more data becomes available.

As in any project of this size, the database will contain errors, whether these be errors in the coding of information or errors in the sources consulted. We welcome any feedback correcting these errors as well as any other suggestions or comments you may have. We can be contacted at phonotactics@anu.edu.au.

For more information and access to the database itself, please visit

Mark Donohue, Rebecca Hetherington, James McElvenny, Virginia Dawson
Department of Linguistics
The Australian National University

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