Sounding out ideas on language, vivid sensory words, and iconicity

Category: Software

  • APA but without auto-sorting of in-text citations: easy CSL fix

    For better or worse, APA is one of the most widely used citation styles in the cognitive sciences. One aspect of it that always bugs me is that it prescribes alphabetical sorting of in-text citations. I’m not talking about the bibliography; of course that should be alphabetical. I’m talking about the order of names when […]

  • New personal site

    Almost 13 years ago, in 2007, this blog started as a sub-site on my personal web page. It soon took over most of my online presence and I moved it to its own domain. Now that I blog much less regularly, and have moved institutions, it’s useful again to have a personal academic web page. […]

  • John Benjamins collective volumes linguistics CSL style

    Linguists will know John Benjamins as one of the nicer academic publishing houses, not quite so terrible as Elsevier or other profiteering behemoths, and one with really good typography to boot. Iconicity afficionados will probably know the Iconicity in Language and Literature series published by Benjamins. One of my first articles on ideophones and iconicity appeared […]

  • Slides for a hands-on Zotero workshop

    One of the key tasks scientists need to master is how to manage bibliographic information: collecting relevant literature, building a digital library, and handling citations and bibliographies during writing. This tutorial introduces Zotero (, an easy to use reference management tool made by scholars for scholars. The tutorial covers the basics of using Zotero for […]

  • How promotes poor metadata and plays to our vanity

    A while back some low quality citations started showing up on Google Scholar. They had titles like “CHAPTER 2 draft — email” and it was hard find actual bibliographic metadata. Google Scholar seemed to have scraped random PDFs uploaded on and decided it was worth counting the citations in them even in the absence of proper metadata. I […]

  • Editorial Manager and password security for academics

    Today, Nature published a news feature by Cat Ferguson, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky (Retraction Watch) in which I am quoted about some problems with Editorial Manager (EM). This post provides the background to what I say there. Disclaimer: I am not a security expert, though the basic problems should be obvious to anyone caring about security and privacy on the web. […]

  • One-click Save as PDF from Word: two useful macros

    One of the most common word-processing related task for academics is to generate PDF versions of documents — for sharing with colleagues, for submission to a journal, for uploading to a publication page, et cetera. In LaTex, creating PDFs is a question of one simple command (plus a bit of fiddling with settings). In recent […]

  • Six sensible settings for ELAN

    ELAN ( is a widely used tool for the transcription, annotation, and analysis of audio and video data. This posting presents six simple tweaks of the ELAN interface that will be helpful to most ELAN users.

  • Who will write a lightweight duplicate detection plugin for Zotero?

    Duplicate detection is one of the things any serious reference manager should offer. Zotero users have been clamouring for it since the early days. There are basically two ways to implement it: as a preflight check, warning the user when they are about to add a potential duplicate; and as an after the fact scan, […]

  • Ideophones around the web: ideophones and product naming

    This long overdue instalment of Ideophones around the web features ideophones in the names of snappy new mobile apps from an Indian software startup.

  • Zotero for Chrome and Safari

    Here’s a quick tip for Zotero users who like to do their browsing in Chrome or Safari: you can install “Zotero Connectors” that will make Zotero recognize references in Chrome and Safari just like in Firefox. The Zotero developers are working on a standalone version, but these connectors can already talk to your Zotero library […]

  • Transcription mode in ELAN

    A new version of ELAN, the widely used tool for time-aligned annotation of linguistic data, was released today by the developers, Han Sloetjes and Aarthy Somasundaram. One of its major features is a whole new user interface for high-speed transcription. This interface is the outcome of a process of user consultation and usability testing at […]

  • Simple citation style edits: the power of CSL

    I keep forgetting the kind of simple edits that are so trivial to make in CSL styles. Here I catalogue a few, for my own benefit and hopefully also useful to others.

  • Now live: SemiotiX New Series, a WordPress-based e-journal

    Now online: SemiotiX New Series, an e-journal in semiotics. SemiotiX Bulletin has been around for several years, in hand-edited HTML. Its reincarnation, SemiotiX New Series, runs on WordPress, automating all of the technical stuff so that the editors can spend their time writing and editing contributions. Geek alert: the rest of this post details some […]

  • Subtitles in ELAN and beyond

    ELAN is a tool for creating complex annotations on video and audio resources. It’s great for doing the hard work of annotation, but less ideal as a way of displaying the result, for example in a presentation. This brief tutorial covers a common use case: displaying a short stretch of video material with subtitles overlayed […]

  • Unified Style Sheet for Linguistics Journals

    Not all linguists may be aware of this, but since 2007 there has been a Unified Style Sheet for publications in our field, developed by the editors of a number of linguistic journals, including Language. (Oddly enough, just which journals besides Language joined in the effort remains unclear.) There is not much centralized information available […]

  • Dashboard Post-it: leave notes on the WordPress dashboard

    Dashboard Post-it is a simple plugin for WordPress 2.7 and higher that allows you to leave yourself or other authors a note on the dashboard. It is implemented as a configurable dashboard widget, so you can collapse it, move it around, and edit it as any other dashboard widget. It will accept plain text or […]

  • Zotero 1.5 is here: synchronization and tons of other features

    It’s here. Zotero 1.5 beta. The new version comes with built-in synchronization, exports to more than 1100 citation styles, and supports browsing your library online (see below). Zotero is now better than EndNote on all fronts. Here’s a quick overview of the most important features: Synchronization. Automatically keep your library in sync across different PCs. […]

  • Phonology Assistant

    Phonology Assistant (PA) is a free phonology tool by SIL that (as of version 3.0) works interactively with the data stored in Toolbox, Fieldworks Language Explorer, and Speech Analyzer. It automates many of the cumbersome and repetitive tasks associated with doing phonological analysis, and it does so in a most systematic and revealing way. The […]

  • 12 must know Zotero tips and techniques

    Zotero is getting better and better. In a while, version 1.5 will bring synchronization, online backup of your library, +1100 CSL citation styles, and PDF metadata extraction (for the daring, a sync preview version is available). But even in its current incarnation Zotero is easily one of the best bibliographic managers out there. Here are […]