Maltese and Arabic.

Remember last year I posted about Maltese, and in a comment bulbul talked about a grant to functionally study the mutual intelligibility of Maltese and Benghazi Arabic? Well, he’s now on his way to Groningen for the Methods in Dialectology XV conference where he’ll be speaking about it, and he sent me a link to his presentation (pdf) saying I should feel free to share it, so I’m sharing it; I presume when the actual paper is available he’ll link to it in the comments. He also says “wish me luck tomorrow,” so: break a leg and give ‘em hell!

Comments

  1. Good luck, bulbul!

  2. Thank you, gentlemen! I also have a new embarrassing conference story (a tip: if you’re going to point out flaws in somebody’s work, make sure they are not sitting in the audience) and a bunch of comparison points. As it turns out, the 35-40% levels of mutual intelligibility we got for Maltese vs. Tunisian / Libyan Arabic are actually quite high as compared to mutual intelligibility of Slovenian/Croatian and Polish which folks at Groningen tested.

  3. if you’re going to point out flaws in somebody’s work, make sure they are not sitting in the audience

    Ouch! I’ve become less acerbic in my comments about people’s writing here on LH since the early days when it never entered my head they might be reading me.

  4. David Marjanović says:

    Nice work!

  5. Eh, I once performed a piano piece with the composer in the audience. I was so nervous because of that I made a complete balls of it.

  6. It wasn’t so bad – the criticism was a minor and I had plenty of data to back it up. Still, it was an ‘oh crap’ moment.

  7. Max Pinton says:

    Maltese is a good answer for Linguistic Trivial Pursuit, as it’s the only Semitic language written in the Latin script, and it’s spoken in a country that’s 98% Catholic.

  8. OK, that took really long, but here it is. Keep it on the DL, yo, just in case the publisher is watching.

  9. Yay! And that’s quite a set of diacritical marks on the authors’ names.

  10. *puts on a vaguely Slavic accent* Such is the custom of our people – sour cream in our soups and diacritic marks on our names.

  11. Bulbul: On p. 19, just after footnote reference 24, is the sentence “The function produces two measures on the 0-1 scale, the concordance index C and Somer’s Dxy rank correlation co dufajme nie je az taka kokotina.” GT identifies the last six words as Maltese, but is unable to translate them.

  12. Looks like Slovak to me, not Maltese.

    “… which hopefully is not like this shit”

    I don’t think we are allowed to use such kind of langauge in footnote references for scholarly article!

  13. John: well spotted :) I put this in as a goof to find out if anyone actually reads it.

  14. David Marjanović says:

    Guilty as charged. I’ve downloaded it and skimmed it, but nowhere near read it through… :-)

  15. John reads things in full so we don’t have to.

  16. You guys are so busted. Truth be told, I put it in to check whether reviewers at this one prominent journal would actually read it, but since the paper got rejected almost immediately, the point is moot.

  17. Bulbul: What accent did you have before putting on the vaguely Slavic one?

  18. I put this in as a goof to find out if anyone actually reads it.

    An acquaintance, a materials science professor fairly well known in his field, says he occasionally slips into his papers a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Claims never to have been caught. Is nobody reading his papers?

    I can’t vouch for practice today, but years ago when a mailing list was rented for one-time use, it was common for the list owner to insert a “ringer” label, addressed to a POB held by the list owner. That way proof would be at hand should a renter use the list more than once.

  19. I imagine most people read the intro and conclusion and skim the rest, unless it’s a paper whose every nuance is important for their own work. Life is short and papers are long.

  20. Paul,
    he occasionally slips into his papers a recipe for chocolate chip cookies
    A friend of mine did that in his dissertation (I think the recipe was for apple pie). Nobody noticed. Now he has his doctoral students do the same.

    Hat,
    I imagine most people read the intro and conclusion and skim the rest
    Your words to my reviewers’ ears.

  21. David Marjanović says:

    I put it in to check whether reviewers at this one prominent journal would actually read it, but since the paper got rejected almost immediately, the point is moot.

    Ah, that reminds me. I once submitted a manuscript on “artificial missing data” in data matrices for phylogenetic analyses: people coding an animal in their matrix, knowing that a certain bone (for example) is known and perhaps even described in a publication they cite, but opting to leave it “unknown” because they think it won’t make a difference anyway. Often it does make a difference. So, in that manuscript, my coauthor and I complained about this and lamented that reviewers don’t generally read supplementary information and take such matrices for granted as if they were measurements (which they’re not). Funnily enough, because my coauthor and I used different Word versions, the first line in a table that presented such a matrix was completely missing in the manuscript I submitted, so it began with character 46 instead of 1, which was indicated. Nobody noticed; the manuscript was rejected for not being interesting enough for that journal, with no mention of the missing line in that table. I actually wrote to the editor, saying that normally I wouldn’t respond to a rejection, but this time the reviewers (and, well, the editor) had illustrated our point really beautifully.

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