As a user of LaTeX, R and Emacs, I naturally write up my research in
.Rnw files, using knitr to produce
.tex sources. With Emacs, this means I have access to both the awesome AUCTeX for writing LaTeX and the excellent ESS environment for the statistics at the same time. However, being the absent-minded academic that I am, I sometimes end up opening the woven
.tex file instead of the
.Rnw and make edits to that, which means it gets overwritten and lost the next time I run
knitr. This is suboptimal, but of course Emacs allows us to fix it.
(Koen Sebregts points out that the title of my post is misleading, since the authors explicitly state they do not predict humidity to cause complex tones. I’ll leave it unchanged as a warning to myself.)
There is a new ‘geophonetics’ paper out at PNAS this morning Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots by Caleb Everett, Damián Blasi, and Seán Roberts. In a nutshell, the claim, as I understand it, is that since low humidity is inimical to precise manipulation of vocal folds, languages with ‘complex tone’ (understood as having a more than two-way pitch-based contrast) are unlikely to thrive in regions with low humidity (i.e. hot and arid, and all types of cold). This hypothesis appears to explain the areal patterns in the prevalence of tone.
This is my rather occasional blog for when I can’t fit something in 140 characters. It is mostly about language and programming and such.
I’m Pavel Iosad, and I’m a Senior Lecturer in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. ¶ You can always go to the start page to learn more.
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