LINGUIST List 6.479

Fri 31 Mar 1995

Qs: Endangered lgs, OCR, Paragraphing, Internet lg

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Miguel Fuster Marquez, Endangered languages
  2. Matthew Dryer, OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
  3. Ali Aghbar, Q: Paragraphing
  4. Bindi Flint, RFH

Message 1: Endangered languages

Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 16:51:05 Endangered languages
From: Miguel Fuster Marquez <>
Subject: Endangered languages

Dear colleagues, I am a Spanish scholar interested, among other
linguistic matters, in language attrition and language death. I know
that there are numerous American scholars currently working on the
field. I should be very glad to share information via email.
In the meantime, let me announce that ICOLC (The International
Conference on Linguistic Contact), taking place in Valencia (Spain)
in September will be dealing with this and other contact subjects.
If you wish to receive information I could send you more details.
(From Dr Miguel Fuster (Universitat de Valencia, Spain)
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Message 2: OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 14:11:19 OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
From: Matthew Dryer <>
Subject: OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

I am interested in obtaining information on OCR (Optical Character
Recognition) software that can be used to recognize exotic languages, such as
American Indian languages, whose orthography is the same alphabet as that used
by English, but in which a number of additional letters and diacritics are
used. Much of the recent progress in OCR has apparently been improved
techniques for identifying English, rather than training or learning
techniques that are necessary for identifying characters for which the
software has not programmed. My impression, in fact, is that much of the
latest software has *less* trainability than earlier software. The latest
version of Read-It for the Mac has removed trainability, and Accu-Text was
replaced in the past few years by Textbridge, which apparently has reduced
learnability (for example one cannot save what it has learned for use on
future occasions). Please send on to me any information that you might have
about currently available software with trainability. I am particularly
interested in Mac software, but would like to know of good OCR software for
other systems. (I will provide a summary for the net.)

Matthew Dryer
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Message 3: Q: Paragraphing

Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 16:00:39 Q: Paragraphing
From: Ali Aghbar <>
Subject: Q: Paragraphing

I have three questions related to paragraphing in

1. What is the history of paragraphing in European languages?
For example, which country did it start from? How did it spread
to other countries in Europe? (I am assuming that non-European
languages have borrowed the notion of paragraphing from Europe.)

2. How is the notion of paragraphing in languages other than
ENGLISH different from that of English. (I am assuming that, in
general, writers of expository discourse in English use the
paragraph as a unit of thought, using one paragraph for each
major idea.)

3. Do other languages have a multiple system of indentation? (I
am assuming that English writers use a single system of
indentation in English, either through using the tab or double
spacing; if they want to create a superstructure for a group of
paragraphs, they create sub-titles or allow a significant space
and use a very large font for the first letter of a new section.
Do some languages use a system of indentation, instead? Is so,

Please correct me if you think any of my assumptions are
inaccurate. I realize there are many idiosyncracies, but I am
interested in some overriding generalization, albeit gross ones,
the kinds of generalizations one would use in talking to someone
who does not understand the notion of paragraphing in English.

I will post a summary.
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Message 4: RFH

Date: Thu, 30 Mar 1995 16:00:35 RFH
From: Bindi Flint <>
Subject: RFH

Hello everyone!

This is a request for help. I am currently researching language use on
the internet. Specifically, I am looking at conversational style with
regards to talk/ytalk and irc. Turn-taking (or lack of) and flow of
topics, I find particularly interesting. If anyone knows of any good
references on this subject, could they please email me. So far I have
looked at D. Tannen's book Conversational Style which has further
references but nothing focussing on internet language. Thanking you in

BBBBB dd "When tweetle beetles battle
B BB dd with a paddle in a puddle
BBBBB ii n nnn ddd dd ii they call it a tweetle beetle
B BB ii nn nn dd ddd ii paddle puddle battle"
BBBBB ii nn nn ddd dd ii Geisel 1965
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