# Writing AVMs easily in LaTeX: The new langsci-avm package

Attribute-value matrices, also known as feature structures, are used by various theories to describe linguistic objects and their complex properties. Among others, they are used in HPSG and LFG, and so several of the books submitted to Language Science Press depend on a comprehensive and user-friendly way to input them to LaTeX.

An example structure created with langsci-avm. See the Section “Example 1” below for how to create this AVM.

Our users almost always use the avm package or the extended avm+, of which an unkown amount of modified versions are circulated online. The original avm package is not a bad package at all, but it has not been updated for some years, which has led to problems. For example, some of the versions assume that the old font selection commands, \it, \bf, etc. are still used, which should be avoided in modern documents. Continue reading

# What it means to be open and community-based: The Unicode cookbook as a showcase

We are happy to announce the publication of The Unicode Cookbook for linguists: Managing writing systems using orthography profiles by Steven Moran and Michael Cysouw. Next to being a very insightful and valuable book for all linguists dealing with character encoding issues (most if not all linguists?), this publication also points the way forward in a number of domains central for the future of academic publishing in linguistics. This blog post discusses the different innovative aspects we see manifest in this book.

## Multiple authors

The book has not one, but two authors. Both have contributed their respective perspectives and expertises. While we see multiple editors for edited volumes on a regular basis, multiple authors for a monograph are much less common. This has certainly to do with the fact that a monograph is much less amenable to “chunking” than an edited volume. In order to make sure that the authors do not interfere with each other’s work, a clear separation of tasks is necessary, as is version control.

## Version control

The LaTeX source code of the project is available on GitHub at https://github.com/unicode-cookbook/cookbook. The authors started on 2015-03-29 with this version. All historical files are still available.
Until today, 310 updates have been made to the book, of which 174 by Moran and 121 by Cysouw.  The full history of the project can be seen at https://github.com/unicode-cookbook/cookbook/commits/master. In order to have clearly designated versions for reference, the authors have created releases. Continue reading

# Workflow for edited volumes

As of today, we have published 11 edited volumes. We have found that edited volumes demand much more work from all sides, and that the procedure for publishing edited volumes with Languages Science Press seems to cause more astonishment than the process for monographs. In this blog post, I will describe some differences in the setup between monographs and edited volumes and try to explicate in more detail what volume editors can expect. Remember that, technically, submissions have to be in LaTeX. We will offer assistance to the best of our capacities if you have chapters submitted in Word, but this depends on our current work load.

## Difference between monographs and edited volumes

Monograph authors directly benefit from adherence to the guidelines. They are in direct contact with the coordinator and generally understand how particular technical subtleties impact their book when explained. Their efforts will directly translate into an improvement of a work which is 100% theirs, so normally, they are eager to comply. Furthermore, they are usually responsible for any delays themselves and hence try to minimise them. Continue reading

# Conversion of lexical databases into printable books

We have recently published two dictionaries in our series African Language Grammars and Dictionaries which were automatically converted from the FLEX lexical database. These two books are The Ik language and A dictionary and grammatical outline of Chakali.

In this post, I will detail how structured lexical data as found in FLEX can be converted to *tex, which can be compiled into a LangSci book. I will complement this with some observations about conversions from the XLingPaper format.

# Drawing vowel charts with TikZ

Books in linguistics frequently contain drawings such as vowel charts, syntax trees, or kinship graphs. The graphics language TikZ enables authors to input the code for vector graphics directly into the LaTeX version of their books. Vector graphics are generally visually more appealing than raster graphics in formats such as *png or *jpg, and TikZ already ships with standard LaTeX distributions. Thus, no further software installation is required on the author’s side.

In this blog post, we will draw a vowel chart to exemplify TikZ. In the first step, we will assume that there is a draft of the vowel chart, either drawn on paper or in another program. At the end of this blog post, we show two predefined vowel chart commands from the langscibook class that aim to make vowel chart generation from scratch convenient to the author.

# Books in EPUB, HTML and XML formats

As mentioned in a previous post, we are working on producing electronic books in formats other than PDF. In order to give you an impression of our recent advances, here are HTML, XML and EPUB versions of the first book in the Conceptual Foundations of Language Science series, Natural Causes of Language by N.J. Enfield:

All of these formats were produced from the original LaTeX sources of the book using a development version of the texhs converter, with only some minimal styling applied.

# Fatḥah in the margin

This post discusses an advanced typesetting problem dealing with the interplay of margin notes with German and Arabic LaTeX packages.

We have published a critical edition of Georg von der Gabelentz’s Die Sprachwissenschaft. This book comprises the text of the first edition from 1891 and the second edition from 1901. Differences between the editions are marked with different colours in the running text. Substitutions are marked in the margin. So far so good. The following image gives an example.

Margin notes and coloured text in the critical edition of Gabelentz’s “Die Sprachwissenschaft”. Red text marks updates between first and second edition, blue text marks corrections by the editors of the present edition, here a wrong accent mark.

# Conversion of legacy documents and community publishing

Language Science Press uses a Latex-based workflow. Authors can use our Word/OpenOffice templates as a start, but there are many manuscripts out there which predate the publication of our templates. In this blogpost, I will detail our principles of community-based publishing for one of these manuscripts.

## Case study: A grammar of Mauwake

The Mauwake language is spoken in Papua New Guinea, along the North coast of  Madang province. Liisa Berghäll has worked there for over 25 years, and the  manuscript of her grammar was finalised around 2010. It was available from the University of Helsinki e-thesis service.

Re-publication of this work with Language Science Press as Open Access allows for a much broader readership, but of course the manuscript has to follow our guidelines. In order to arrive there, the following steps had to be undertaken

1. convert the manuscript to *tex
2. make sure the linguistic content is correct
3. incorporate suggested changes