Links, apps, etc.

The study of language isn't only interesting to university researchers like me. Here are some places where linguistics can be found outside the walls of traditional academic publishing.
  • The Lexicon Valley podcast is a well-produced series of short pieces on various topics of linguistic interest, from an uncensored piece on offensive language to a look at creaky voice (yay!) in contemporary (and not-so-contemporary) American English speakers.
  • The Language Log blog is written mainly by prominent academic linguists, but with an eye to what is interesting to language nerds of all levels.
  • Check out my page of fun stuff for info on entertaining linguistic material of more peripheral academic value.


I enjoy my mobile devices. Here are some apps I've tried out that are relevant to this academic life. (My devices are all Android, so my reviews reflect that. Sorry iOs users.) Some work, some don't. For reference, I'm basing this largely on using them with my Le Pan 10-inch Android tablet, running version 2.2 - a functional tablet without many of the new bells and whistles. I give them very rough ratings out of 5, based on how I think I'd like to use the app. If there is an app you like that I haven't mentioned here, please let me know about it.
  • Phonetics
    • Pronunroid. Neat little app that promises to test your transcription knowledge in a few useful ways (transcribe word from spelling, identify word from transcription, etc). Unfortunately, anything I do from the menu screen crashes the app. Educational usefulness: 0/5
    • Phonemic Chart. IPA chart with tap-and-listen. Awesome idea, but I can only see part of the IPA chart on my device (it runs off the edges). What I can get at is okay. Word examples are based on a standard-sounding UK English. Example words don't show consonants in all contexts (word-initial, -medial, -final). Educational usefulness: 2/5
    • Phonetic Writer LITE.
    • Sounds of Speech. Haven't got round to it yet, but I have seen the associated website. It seems like a well-featured app. I have some fine-grained quibbles with the transcription standard on the website (the use of [r] instead of [ɹ] to represent American English "r" sounds, for example), but not enough to prevent me sending students there. Biggest drawback is the price, but that's only CA$3.17, so hardly insurmountable. Website educational usefulness: 4/5. (I'll rate the app when I get around to installing and trying it.)
  • Bibliographic
    • Dropbox. What can I say? If you produce any electronic text or data (besides audio and video, which tend to be too large), then this is one of the two best options for painless backup. (The other is Google Drive, which I also use.) Be sensible with sensitive information, but beyond that back up everything. This tool is especially useful on the tablet in conjunction with a PDF reader/annotator. Research usefulness: 5/5
    • Google Drive. Similar to Dropbox. I have no particular preference for one over the other. Google Drive integrates well with the Google Docs online office suite, which I find particularly useful for collaboration. Research usefulness: 5/5
    • qPDF Notes. A wonderful tool for making notes in PDF files (for example, of papers I'm reading). I started with the free version, and was quickly sold on it. This is one of the tasks I got the tablet for in the first place - reading papers while not at my computer. Better than printing them off, and I can share the annotated files with colleagues. Research usefulness: 5/5
  • Other
    • My UAlberta. Collecting various online resources in one place for those who work and study at the University of Alberta: Moodle links, university maps, transit info, library, etc. Handy, but relies on Internet connection. My tablet only connects to wireless, not to mobile networks. So I usually browse from a desktop or laptop, which is just as convenient. Nevertheless, it seems to be a solid, well-designed app. Practical usefulness for members of the UAlberta community: 4/5