The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies by Everaert, Martin, Martin Everaert, Simon Musgrave

By Everaert, Martin, Martin Everaert, Simon Musgrave

This booklet promotes the improvement of linguistic databases through describing a couple of profitable database initiatives, focusing specially on cross-linguistic and typological examine. It has develop into more and more transparent that prepared entry to wisdom approximately cross-linguistic version is of serious price to many varieties of linguistic learn. this sort of systematic physique of information is key in an effort to achieve a formal figuring out of what's really common in language and what's made up our minds by means of particular cultural settings. additionally, it's more and more wanted as a device to systematically review contrasting theoretical claims. The ebook contains a bankruptcy on basic difficulties of utilizing databases to deal with language information and chapters on a couple of person initiatives.

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Such limitations, as well as the proliferation of other incompatible encodings, led to the formation of a working group in the mid 1980s whose aim was to establish a comprehensive and universally recognized scheme for the digital encoding of character data. The outcome of the work of that group and its successor, the Unicode Consortium, is Unicode. Unicode is a single, universal character encoding scheme, originally based on two-byte codes (giving it 65,536 potential “codepoints”) and later generalized to abstract codepoints that are independent of the number of bytes used to represent them.

These are then organized into groups of eight, known as bytes, which have 28 or 256 possible values. Floating point numbers are represented as an exponent plus a fixed number of “significant digits,” and can store extremely large or extremely small numbers, with some loss of precision. 0221414 x 1023 (In a database, exponent and significant digits are in binary, not decimal form). 36 Alexis Dimitriadis and Simon Musgrave bers; for example, the following query (given as an example in the preceding section) is only meaningful if the field Speakers has a numeric data type: SELECT “Language Name” FROM “Language Details” WHERE Speakers > 500000; The most complex core type, and the one that requires the most storage capacity, is text data.

A web browser, in addition to being already installed on every user’s computer, has the advantage of being an extremely sophisticated piece of software. For things that a web browser can do, it would be hard for a database project to create a standalone client application that does them equally well. But a web database has one important limitation: A web page cannot provide the fonts required to display it properly; these must be already resident on the user’s system. Linguistic databases often need to use phonetic symbols, or text from languages with less common writing systems, for which the required fonts are far from universally available.

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