LINGUIST List 2.386

Monday, 5 August 1991

Disc: Tree-drawing, Kinship (mama/papa), Sign babbling

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Andrew Barss, tree drawing software
  2. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Mama, Papa, and Dada
  3. Vicki Fromkin, Re: Queries: Babbling

Message 1: tree drawing software

Date: Sun, 4 Aug 91 00:23 MST
From: Andrew Barss <BARSS%ccit.arizona.eduRICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
Subject: tree drawing software
	Philip Bralich recently asked about tree-drawing
software. I have recently started using CorelDraw, a quite
sophisticated graphics generating program, on a DOS machine with
very pleasing results. I use the SPRINT text editing system (a
descendant of FinalWord, published by Borland), and wanted a
graphics program which met the following criteria:
	1) It had to produce good looking trees which could be
printed inside SPRINT text files, ideally sized to fit whatever
amount of space was available on the page (to avoid large blank
spaces between the end of text preceding the tree and the tree
	2) The trees had to be printed in such a way as to make
it possible to print the lines in a variety of ways (dotted,
thick or thin, etc.);
	3) It had to be possible to draw additional
characteristics like links (directed arrows) between nodes, boxes
around portions of the tree, subscripts and superscripts, and the
other diacritics used in syntactic trees;
	4) the program had to be easy to use, and had to run on
a 386-sx or similar computer, and print to a laser printer.
	CorelDraw meets all these criteria, and to the best of my
knowledge is the only commercial program to do so. SPRINT has a
graphics function which inserts a command to print an
Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS) file anywhere in the text
(wherever the command is positioned). CORELDRAW generates such
files, and the tree can be sized to any height and width, either
from with CorelDraw or SPRINT. Moving the tree around is simply
a matter of repositioning the command. One can build up a
library of standard trees and edit them to suit the purposes of
each specific tree needed. CD can also incorporate and edit
ASCII text, useful for incorporating complex examples and
building a tree over them.
	CorelDraw by itself can print to any type of printer
(including dot matrix), but is not very fast on a laser printer
unless that printer is a Postscript printer (I use an insert
cartridge which converts the LaserjetII to Postscript);
incorporating trees into text requires Postscript. Postscript has
the tremendous advantage of scaling fonts, which is useful for
all text editing. CD is a very powerful program, and is about as
easy to use as any of the regular drawing programs on the market
(e.g. the kind that usually come with a mouse); it has a
deceptively simple interface. Graphics programs in general
require a fair amount of computing speed -- I do not recommend
using CD on a 286 or lower machine.
	CD requires Windows 3.0, which also benefits from a
reasonably fast computer (and which has a variety of quirks that
have to be gotten used to).
	One bug: The second line of any Postscript graphics
file contains four numbers which define the bounding box (what
this is exactly I don't know). CD produces these numbers with
decimal expansions (e.g. 45.78 546.91 56.23 765.43). SPRINT (and
perhaps other word processors) wants rounded-off numbers,
requiring one to pull the postscript file up into a word
processor, round off the numbers, and rewrite the file. This is
a pain in the neck, and the files can get VERY large (90,000
bytes for six lines of text, each on a different typeface), which
takes time to read and write back to disk. I imagine EDLIN could
do the job faster, but I don't know.
	A couple of weeks experience with CD makes typing in
nodes (hoping, with proportionally spaced fonts, that they will
end up somewhere near where you want them) and drawing in lines
by hand seem as clunky as typing on a typewriter. It is (I
assume) still not as easy as using a McIntosh, but there you go.~Z
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Message 2: Mama, Papa, and Dada

Date: Sat, 3 Aug 91 20:19:50 EDT
Subject: Mama, Papa, and Dada
A number of people have responded with evidence of words for 'father'
beginning with 'm' and some words for 'mother' beginning with 'd'.
I appreciate these examples very much, and by all means, please
keep it up! It is already apparent that the claim that I learned
in grad school that Georgian was the ONLY language to do this sort
of thing is just an old linguist's tale. I will wait for more
citations before posting the results. Again, if anybody knows
anything about the etymologies of any of these forms, please let me
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Message 3: Re: Queries: Babbling

Date: Mon, 05 Aug 91 07:27 PDT
From: Vicki Fromkin <>
Subject: Re: Queries: Babbling
Response to Jane Chandler:
 Petitto, Laura and Paula Marentette. 1991. Babbling in the
 manual mode: evidence for the ontogeny of lnguage. Sceince. Vol 251.
 pp 1493-96
V Fromkin
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