Concrete reasons to be skeptical about an ‘Abstract Wikipedia’

Wikidata is an ambitious enterprise, but social ontologies are never language-agnostic — so the project risks perpetuating rather than transcending the worldviews most prevalent in current Wikipedia databases, which means broadly speaking global north, Anglo, western, white cishet male worldviews. I think Wikidata is perhaps promising for brute physical facts like the periodic table and biochemistry. But the social facts we live with —from politics to personhood and kinship to currency— are never fully language-independent, so any single ontology will be biased & incomplete.

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What is ‘non-lexical’? Notes on non-lexical vocalisations, II

I have always had a fondness for things considered marginal in linguistics. The tide may be turning for at least some marginalia: work on ideophones is clearly on the rise, and initiatives such as Martina Wiltschko’s Eh lab at UBC and a new nonlexical vocalizations project at Linköping University show there is significant interest in this area. Part II from my notes on a workshop on ‘Ideophones and non-lexical vocalizations’, in which I make a distinction between (iconic) depictions and (indexical) displays, and point out the issue of lexicality is orthogonal to this.

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A variety of vocal depictions: Notes on non-lexical vocalisations, I

I have always had a fondness for things considered marginal in linguistics. The tide may be turning for at least some marginalia: work on ideophones is clearly on the rise, and initiatives such as Martina Wiltschko’s Eh lab at UBC and a new nonlexical vocalizations project at Linköping University show there is significant interest in this area. Part I from my notes on a workshop on ‘Ideophones and non-lexical vocalizations’.

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