LINGUIST List 7.1381

Sat Oct 5 1996

Confs: Lake Erie Conf, ADS statistical workshops at LSA

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>

We'd appreciate your limiting conference announcements to 150 lines, so that we can post more than 1 per issue. Please consider omitting information useful only to attendees, such as information on housing, transportation, or rooms and times of sessions. Please do not use abbreviations or acronyms for your conference unless you explain them in your text. Many people outside your area of specialization will not recognize them. Thank you for your cooperation.


  1. Yuki Johnson, Lake Erie Conference info.
  2. Dennis R. Preston, ADS statistical workshops at LSA

Message 1: Lake Erie Conference info.

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 11:41:50 EDT
From: Yuki Johnson <>
Subject: Lake Erie Conference info.

Lake Erie Teachers of Japanese Conference information is now available
in the home page of the Japanese language program at the University of
Michigan. Please visit our program home page!

The address is:

Reservation information will be coming out shortly.
Thank you.
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Message 2: ADS statistical workshops at LSA

Date: Tue, 01 Oct 1996 20:18:00 EDT
From: Dennis R. Preston <>
Subject: ADS statistical workshops at LSA


January 2, 1997
Chicago, Illinois
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers


The American Dialect Society, to celebrate its first general meeting
held jointly with LSA, is sponsoring six workshops on the
quantificational (statistical) treatment of a variety of kinds of
linguistic data. Each workshop, conducted by an
internationally-recognized authority, will be presented twice, and
participants may attend the full day's sessions, attending as many as
four different workshops.

These workshops are open to all who register for the LSA meeting and
are free of charge (except for a small fee for some workshops in which
materials are distributed).

There will be a limit on participation in these workshops. If you want
to be assured a place, please send a letter, enclosing a
self-addressed stamped post card, to

American Dialect Society
Allan Metcalf, Executive Secretary
English Department
MacMurray College
Jacksonville, Illinois 62650

or an e-mail message to him at

For each workshop you wish to attend, please list the name of the
presenter and the time (e.g., Kretzschmar 8:00, Finegan 1:30). Do not
forget the time, since each workshop will be given twice.

8:00-10:00 Kretzschmar Cichocki Berdan
10:30-12:30 Bayley Labov Berdan
1:30-3:30 Bayley Finegan Cichocki
4:00-6:00 Labov Kretzschmar Finegan

The workshops were organized by Dennis Preston of Michigan State


1) VARBRUL analysis of linguistic variation

Robert Bayley
University of Texas, San Antonio

This session will provide a rationale for and demonstration of the
VARBRUL computer programs (Pintzuk 1988; Rand and Sankoff, 1990;
Sankoff 1988). The demonstration uses data from a study of consonant
cluster reduction in Mexican-American English (Bayley 1994) and
relative pronoun choice in speech and writing (Guy and Bayley, 1995)
to show the steps in the heuristic process of hypothesis generation,
testing, and revision as it is carried out with the help of VARBRUL,
including the following: 1) generating initial hypotheses to account
for observed variation; 2) coding the data for the potentially large
number of independent factors affecting variation; 3) conducting the
initial VARBRUL run and interpreting the factor probabilities
generated; 4) recoding the data to refine hypotheses on the basis of
factor probabilities generated in step 3; 5) testing of significance
of individual factors and factor groups by means of log likelihood
estimation. In addition, the workshop will consider several questions
that are likely to arise when conducting a VARBRUL analysis, including
dealing with suspected interaction among factors and choosing between
competing analyses.

2) The analysis of vowel systems

William Labov
University of Pennsylvania

This workshop will deal with the display and analysis of vowel formant
data, with particular emphasis on the study of change in progress,
through use of the Macintosh program PLOTNIK 03. Workshop participants
should have a body of formant measurements in hand, or the opportunity
to acquire them, through the use of such programs as Kay Elemetric
CSL, Eric Keller's Signalyze, GSW Soundscope, or Cornell Ornithology
Lab's Canary. The workshop will show how vowel tokens are plotted,
normalized, and automatically analyzed for segmental environment; how
relevant sub-sets of vowels may be selected, plotted or highlighted;
how means and standard deviations are plotted; how to carry out
t-tests on the difference of any two means; how subsets of vowels may
be plotted or highlighted by any combination of segmental environment,
stress, or style. Particular attention will be given to methods for
determining the extent to which vowel systems participate in the
Northern Cities Shift, the Southern Shift, the Canadian Shift, or the
low back merger.
 Participants will receive copies of PLOTNIK 03 along with
tutorial and full documentation. PLOTNIK 03 includes several dozen
features introduced following the NWAVE 24 workshop with PLOTNIK 02,
including adaptation to other languages, shift from color to black and
white, and the addition of vectors from nuclei to glide targets. In
addition, methods for superimposing large numbers of vowel systems
will be introduced through the use of the program PLOTNIK MAJOR.

3) Computer plotting and mapping of areal linguistic data

William A. Kretzschmar, Jr.
University of Georgia

This session will present a discussion of methods of computer plotting
and mapping of linguistic data drawn from American Linguistic Atlas
surveys. We will begin with the basic issues of the possible
relationships between linguistic data and geographical locations, and
of the nature of GIS (Geographical Information Systems). Computer
plotting, and generalizations to be made from observation of plots,
will be illustrated with the Graphic Plotter Grid from the Linguistic
Atlas of the Gulf States, the LAMSASplot program from the Linguistic
Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS), and the LAMSAS
Internet plotter. We will then consider use of statistical procedures
to assess geographical distribution of linguistic features drawn from
LAMSAS: t-test, chi-square, and multiple comparison for fixed regions;
spatial autocorrelation; and density estimation. Finally, we will
consider uses of GIS software to assist in visualization of

4) Advanced multivariate analyses of linguistic data

Robert Berdan
California State University Long Beach.

This session will focus principally on logistic regression, the
general statistical approach underlying VARBRUL analyses. The
generalized application is particularly useful for data sets that are
well described by both categorical and continuous variables, a
frequent situation both for language acquisition and for historical
data sets, in which time is best considered as a continuous variable,
but various linguistic and demographic characteristics are categorical
(or continuous). The SPSS implementation of logistic regression will
be demonstrated in the workshop. The workshop will demonstrate the
progression of analysis from text files to reportable graphics and
statistics. Topics considered will be the optimizing coding to the
data set, hypothesis developing and testing, evaluating competing
analyses, treatment of interactions among factors, and the
interpretation of error and reliability. We will also compare
assumptions of continuous change over time, versus discontinuities and
restructuring. The SPSS graphics tools will be explored both as
analytic techniques and for reporting findings.
 Where comparable, SPSS reporting will be converted to VARBRUL terms.

5) Factor analytic procedures in language analysis

Ed Finegan
University of Southern California

In its linguistic applications, the statistical technique called
factor analysis can be used to uncover patterned variation by deriving
a relatively small set of underlying variables (called 'factors') from
large sets of variable linguistic features. The workshop demonstrates
the use of this technique for identifying factors that underlie
large-scale variation of linguistic features across texts and for
interpreting those factors as linguistic constructs (usually called
'dimensions'). Also included: the Promax rotation technique for
minimizing the number of factors on which any linguistic feature
loads; appropriateness of factor analysis to different kinds of
linguistic investigations; pros and cons of factor analysis for
linguistic inquiry in general.

6) Correspondence (Dual Scaling) Analysis

Wladyslaw Cichocki
University of New Brunswick

This session demonstrates correspondence analysis (CA), a statistical
technique which is closely related to multidimensional scaling and
factor analysis. CA is particularly helpful in studying the type of
categorical, ordinal and frequency data commonly found in empirical
linguistic investigations. While CA is predominantly a data
exploratory technique, it can be used to formulate hypotheses. The
presentation will avoid complicated algebraic formulas and will
emphasize instead the simple graphical displays that are used to
interpret and understand data structure. Applications will be chosen
from dialectology, phonetics, sociolinguistics and syntax. Discussion
will include issues of interpretation, stability and statistical
significance as well as a review of available computer software.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517)432-1235
Fax: (517)432-2736
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