LINGUIST List 5.715

Mon 20 Jun 1994

Qs: Tangential shifting, Biblio software, Judgements, Trees

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Bethany Dumas, UTK", Labov's term "tangential shifting"
  2. Jon Aske, Bibliographical software
  3. , native speaker judgements
  4. Shanley Allen, syntactic trees on IBM

Message 1: Labov's term "tangential shifting"

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 15:01:58 Labov's term "tangential shifting"
Subject: Labov's term "tangential shifting"

I want to cite Labov's use of the term "tangential shifting" as
an interview technique "whither thou goest, there go I"), and I am
unable to find it in a published work. Can someone help me?
Thanks. Bethany Dumas (in%"")
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Message 2: Bibliographical software

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 12:38:11 Bibliographical software
From: Jon Aske <>
Subject: Bibliographical software

I would be very interested to know what other linguists are using in terms
of software to keep track of their bibliographies, especially anotated
bibliographies, that is, for instance, (categorized) bibliographical
entries with links to files where comments and notes are kept.

I have been using Shoebox for this purpose, but I don't find it completely
satisfactory (though it sure beats the 3 1/2 x 5" cards I used 10 years
ago). One good thing about it is that it's very flexible with the length
and the number of fields, but there are some drawbacks too, such as the
lack of printing capabilities.

I recently checked out WordPerfect's InfoCentral, which has much to be
recommended, but decided it is not ideal either and thus not worth the
time it would take to transfer my present database to that format,
especially since the importing capabilities are not all that great. But
InfoCentral is great for establishing relationships between different
items or "objects" (topics and publications, for instance) as well as from
objects to other files. The exporting capabilities however are quite
primitive. The documentation is also very poor.

So I was wondering what other people do about this problem. My
bibliographies (I have a general one and two specialized ones) have about
3000 items by now and I would really like to have a good tool to keep them
under control.

Please send your replies directly to me and I will summarize to the list.

Best, Jon

Jon Aske Home address:
Anthropology "Aritza Enea"
Bates College 12 Bardwell St.
Lewiston, Maine 04240, USA Lewiston, Maine 04240-6336
e-mail: -Phone/Fax: (207) 786-0589
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Message 3: native speaker judgements

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 10:31:19 native speaker judgements
From: <>
Subject: native speaker judgements

Much of linguistic theory seems to be built upon the assumption that native
speakers can make clear-cut right/wrong judgements about their language. I'd
like to explore the possibility of this assumption not being true, especially
when it comes to marginal data or language in flux.

I am familiar with "fuzziness" literature in semantics, but I'd like to look
instead at judgement making (on the informant's part) in syntax and phonology.
Let me give two of my own experiences:

(1) Being surrounded by linguists of all types, I am often given strange
sentences in English or Mandarin Chinese (I am a bilingual speaker of these two
languages) and asked if they would be acceptable in the language concerned.
Very often I cannot answer yes or no, the sentences being strange yet not
really wrong. I am able to give a rating for each sentence, or compare two
sentences and say which is better, but to draw a line and say some are right
and some are wrong, I believe, would be an abuse of intuition.
(2) I've been looking at an ongoing sound change in British (RP) English, in
which words like "poor" and "moor" eventually become homophonous with "paw" and
"maw". I've asked many RP speakers (non-linguists) whether in their own speech
"poor" is the same as "paw". Most subjects would repeat the two words over and
over again, with variation in the realization of "poor", and making comments
like "well, they're very similar aren't they...", and in the end come to
the conclusion that they don't know.

One way to treat the problem would be to relegate it to performance and sweep
it under the carpet. But I think there is more to it than that, and that it is
something that any linguist will face at some stage of their research. I'd be
interested to hear people's experiences and/or views. I will post a summary
for the list.

Wen-Chao Li
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University
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Message 4: syntactic trees on IBM

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 15:29:36 syntactic trees on IBM
From: Shanley Allen <>
Subject: syntactic trees on IBM

I am looking for information on creating syntactic trees within
documents on IBM-type machines. A variety of options are
available within the Macintosh environment, but options for IBM
environments seem to be much more limited. I use WordPerfect 5.2
for Windows, which cannot create its own trees. I am familiar with
WordPerfect Presentations 2.0 which does create trees but does not
seem to import them correctly into WP5.2 without a lot of fussing.
Please respond to me, and I will post a summary if there is sufficient



Shanley Allen
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Postbus 310
6500 AH Nijmegen

phone: 31-80-521911
fax: 31-80-521213


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