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Visualising Typological Relationships: Plotting WALS with Heat Maps

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Presented at EACL 2012.

Presented at EACL 2012.

Published in: Technology, Education

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  • The map is centred on Yimas, a language spoken in New Guinea. The bar at the top of the image represents the language family of the language in that column: Pink = Border; Red = Trans-New Guinea; Blue = Sepik; Brown = Lower Sepik-Ramu; Purple = Torri- celli; Green = Skou; and Orange = Sentani.Thecolour of each cell represents the normalised value of a linguistic feature according to WALS. Languages with the same colour in a given row have the same value forthat typological feature.We graphed only the most commonly-occurring features across that selectedset of languages.We first centred the source language in the map. So, the centre values are more likely to be near each other than the extremes. Insights: Most prominently, these languages are quite homogenous for the selected features, which is expected, as most are related. In the 5th row (‘O&V Ordering and the Adj&N Ordering’), we see via the cluster of red cells a partial grouping of languages close to Yimas, with less similarity at a greater distance. The nearly alternating pattern we see for ‘Position of Negative Word With Respect to S,O,&V’ may suggest areal groups that have been split by the data-centring function. Also, the checkerboard pattern for this feature and the one below (‘Postverbal Negative Morphemes’) suggests a possible negative correlation between these two linguistic features.
  • Here, we have the Niger-Congo family, arranged from east to West. This gets rid of some of the problems with the centric map – we can look at this and see more clearly what the geographical distribution is. Of course, this only works on selected areasA number of the western languages show red cells for features related to relative clauses; these can be compared to mostly blue cells in the eastern languages. We also see some apparent groupings for variable word order in negative clauses (red cells in western languages) and for NegSVO Order (purple cells in western languages). For some pairs of adjacent languages (most notably Bambara and Supyire), we see clusters of shared features. Why is this important? Well, Bambara has been used to dispute claims about the Chomskyan language hierarchy (Culy, 1985), this graph is an excellent example of visualisation pointing out an intriguing area for closer analysis. We should look closer at Supyire to see if it is similar.And that’s the whole point of this – identifying related languages, and seeing diversity clearly. We hope that more of these can be used.
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    • 1. Visualising Typological Relationships: Plotting WALS with Heat Maps Richard Littauer¹, Rory Turnbull², Alexis Palmer¹1 Universität des Saarlandes2 Ohio State University
    • 2. Why?• Data deluge in science• Typology has been shown to be useful for linguistic studies (Greenberg 1963, Chomsky 2000, Dunn et al. 2001).• Showing typological diversity visually can help cut down on research time and illuminate new areas of possible research.
    • 3. Basic Overview• Our visualisation technique combines: – geographic – phylogenetic – linguistic data.World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)(Dryer and Haspelmath, 2011).
    • 4. Previous WorkSimilar visualisation work:- Language Typology: Mayer et al., 2010; Rohrdantz et al., 2010- Phylogeny: Multitree, 2009- Geographical variation: Wieling et al., 2011Work with WALS:- Daumé & Campbell 2007, Daumé 2009
    • 5. PruningWALS: – 2,678 – 192 feature options (out of 144 features) – 16% of the data filledPruning: – 372 Languages – Average of 96 features – Only languages with 30% or more filled
    • 6. Phylogenetic DistanceWALS’ Tree Hierarchy: – Three different levels – Doesn’t take into account language contact. • Family: ‘Sino- Tibetan’; • Sub-family: ‘Tibeto-Burman’; • Genus: ‘Northern Naga’. – We used geographical proximity as a proxy for language contact.
    • 7. Geographical Proximity Filtering• Each language in WALS is associated with a geographical coordinate.• Haversine formula• Within limits: geography, fullness in WALS.
    • 8. Geographical Proximity Filtering• First approach: – Arbitrary radius from centroid in order to create a decision boundary for clustering neighbouring languages. – 500 kilometres provided a sufficient number of examples after cleaning WALS.
    • 9. Geographical Proximity Filtering• Second approach: – Arbitrary lower bound for near languages. – Sufficient remainder. – Under-representative of contact languages. – Not as good as the radius method.
    • 10. WALS Languages and Sparsity -3 Language Family Kiwaian Kwomtari-Baibai -4 Lower Sepik-Ramu Other Trans-New Guinea Longitude -5 Feature density 0.1 0.2 0.3 -6 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 -7 -8 140 142 144 146 Latitude
    • 11. Geographically Focused Map Alignment of Verbal Person Marking O & V Ordering and the Adposition & NP Order ing Person Marking on Adpositions Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns O & V Ordering and the Adj & N Order ing Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Order of Genitive and Noun Negative Morphemes Position of Negative Word With Respect to S, O, & V Postverbal Negative Morphemes Preverbal Negative Morphemes Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Order of Object and Verb Arapesh (Mountain) Una Imonda Waskia Amele Usan Kobon Yimas Alamblak Kewa Tauya Hua Yagaria Dumo AwtuwHamtai Sentani
    • 12. Phylogenetic Focused Map Comparative Constructions Order of Degree Word and Adjective Adjoined relative clauses SVNegO Order SNegVO Order NegSVO Order Optional Double Negation in SVO languages Different word order in negative clauses Order of Person Markers on the Verb Position of Polar Question Particles Correlative relative clauses Reciprocal Constructions Double−headed relative clauses Postnominal relative clauses Order of Numeral and Noun Temne Kisi Grebo Bambara Supyire Akan Koromfe Dagbani Ewe Yoruba Gwari Igbo Babungo Mumuye Ewondo Doyayo Kongo Gbeya Bossangoa Sango Luvale Nkore−Kiga Zulu Swahili Wolof Ijo (Kolokuma) Fula (Nigerian) Diola−Fogny Birom FyemW E
    • 13. More Maps Alignment of Verbal Person Marking Alignment of Verbal Person Marking Alignment of Verbal Person Marking O & V Ordering and the Adposition & NP Order ing Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adp & NP Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adp & NP Person Marking on Adpositions Person Marking on Adpositions Person Marking on Adpositions Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns O & V Ordering and the Adj & N Ordering Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adj & N Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adj & N Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Order of Genitive and Noun Order of Genitive and Noun Order of Genitive and Noun Negative Morphemes Negative Morphemes Negative Morphemes Position of Negative Word With Respect to S, O, & V Position of Negative Word With Respect to Subject, Object, and Verb Position of Negative Word With Respect to Subject, Object, and Verb Postverbal Negative Morphemes Postverbal Negative Morphemes Postverbal Negative Morphemes Preverbal Negative Morphemes Preverbal Negative Morphemes Preverbal Negative Morphemes Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Order of Object and Verb Order of Object and Verb Order of Object and Verb Arapesh (Mountain) Una Imonda Waskia Amele Usan KobonHamtai Awtuw Yimas Alamblak Kewa Tauya Hua Yagaria Dumo Sentani Arapesh (Mountain) Dani (Lower Grand Valley) Hua Amele Usan Kobon Yimas Alamblak Dumo Imonda Una Kewa Tauya Waskia Yagaria Asmat Awtuw Sentani Arapesh (Mountain) Una Suena Waskia Amele Hua Kewa Kobon Yagaria Usan Marind Imonda Awtuw Alamblak Tauya Yimas Hamtai Alignment of Verbal Person Marking Alignment of Verbal Person Marking Alignment of Verbal Person Marking Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adp & NP Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adp & NP Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adp & NP Person Marking on Adpositions Person Marking on Adpositions Person Marking on Adpositions Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adj & N Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adj & N Relationship between the Order of O & V and the Order of Adj & N Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adjective and Noun Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Position of Tense−Aspect Affixes Order of Genitive and Noun Order of Genitive and Noun Order of Genitive and Noun Negative Morphemes Negative Morphemes Negative Morphemes Position of Negative Word With Respect to Subject, Object, and Verb Position of Negative Word With Respect to Subject, Object, and Verb Position of Negative Word With Respect to Subject, Object, and Verb Postverbal Negative Morphemes Postverbal Negative Morphemes Postverbal Negative Morphemes Preverbal Negative Morphemes Preverbal Negative Morphemes Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Preverbal Negative Morphemes Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Order of Object and Verb Order of Object and Verb Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb Order of Object and Verb Dani (Lower Grand Valley) Arapesh (Mountain) Una Waskia Hua Amele Kewa Kobon Tauya Imonda Yagaria Dumo Marind Hamtai Awtuw Alamblak Yimas Usan Sentani Dani (Lower Grand Valley) Arapesh (Mountain) Hua Tauya Waskia Kobon Imonda Alamblak Dumo Usan Amele Kewa Una Yagaria Sentani Awtuw Yimas Arapesh (Mountain) Una Dumo Yagaria Kewa Tauya Yimas Kobon Usan Alamblak Amele Hua Waskia Imonda Suena Hamtai Awtuw
    • 14. Conclusion• A newly applied method for looking at sparse data• Combines phylogenetic, geographic, and typological data
    • 15. Final RemarksFuture work:• Integrating Ethnologue or Multitree for language families.• Further exploration showing more natural organisation of the linguistic featuresAll code and visualisations available here:https://github.com/RichardLitt/visualizing-language