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Collection coverage

Module by: Joseph Grimes. E-mail the author

Summary: The geographic location of the languages being studied may or may not match their linguistic relationships. So we need to know where they are.

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of languages included in JG-SulSel12, from the Collection panel.
Figure 1 (Coll-Geog.jpg)

Geography is a factor in comparative linguistics. Some languages are spread all over the world. Others are used only in one valley on a small island. Language boundaries may or may not coincide with political or geographic boundaries at any level.

Back in the days when comparing even a couple of dozen languages was a lifetime task, because everything had to be done by hand, there was a temptation to classify the intermediate levels of the language family tree by geography. So one sees references to languages of Borneo, or Formosan languages, or languages of the Grassfields, in the comparative linguistic literature. And it is true that there are places where linguistically close varieties live next to each other and linguistically distant varieties don’t.

But finding that a geographic region contains a single family of languages ought to be a conclusion of comparative research, not a premise. The geographic aggregation of languages may or may not match linguistic history; it is always suspect until we’ve done the actual comparison. But we still want to know where the languages are spoken.

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

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Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

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Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

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