About the 2016 Conference

Linguistics, like other scientific disciplines, is centrally reliant upon visual images for the elicitation, analysis and presentation of data. It is difficult to imagine how linguistics could have developed, and how it could be done today, without visual representations such as syntactic trees, psychoperceptual models, vocal tract diagrams, dialect maps, or spectrograms. Complex multidimensional data can be condensed into forms that can be easily and immediately grasped in a way that would be considerably more taxing, even impossible, through textual means. Transforming our numerical results into graphical formats, according to Cleveland (1993: 1), ‘provides a front line of attack, revealing intricate structure in data that cannot be absorbed in any other way. We discover unimagined effects, and we challenge imagined ones.’ Or, as Keith Johnson succinctly puts it, ‘Nothing beats a picture’ (2008: 6).

So embedded are the ways we visualize linguistic data and linguistic phenomena in our research and teaching that it is easy to overlook the design and function of these graphical techniques. Yet the availability of powerful freeware and shareware packages which can produce easily customized publication-quality images means that we can create visual enhancements to our research output more quickly and more cheaply than ever before. Crucially, it is very much easier now than at any time in the past to experiment with imaginative and innovative ideas in visual methods. The potential for the inclusion of enriched content (animations, films, colour illustrations, interactive figures, etc.) in the ever-increasing quantities of research literature, resource materials and new textbooks being published, especially online, is enormous. There is clearly a growing appetite among the academic community for the sharing of inventive graphical methods, to judge from the contributions made by researchers to the websites and blogs that have proliferated in recent years (e.g. InfostheticsInformation is Beautiful, Cool Infographics, BBC Dimensions, or Visual Complexity).

In 2012, the University of York hosted the first AVML meeting, addressing a need within the academic community for a forum dedicated to sharing work in this emergent interdisciplinary space. The University of Tübingen then hosted the 2014 AVML meeting.

The UQ Node of Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language at the University of Queensland is hosting ‘Advances in Visual Methods for Linguistics’ on September 26th – 28th 2016.

The AVML meeting consists of two events:

The workshop with hours hands-on workshops/sessions (September 26th) and
the conference with oral and poster presentations (September 27th & 28th).
The workshop or the conference can be visited independently or together.

The first day of the conference will be occupied by workshops on topics including

  • general principles of visual design
  • producing effective graphics  (using e.g. R, Python, Matlab etc.)
  • combination of linguistic/non-linguistic data
  • representation of multidimensional data
  • visualisation to support linguistic workflows/practices

Suggestions for workshops and abstracts for oral or poster presentations (maximum length 500 words; please state your preference for oral or poster format) should be submitted as PDF files to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=avml2016 by May 15th 2016. Submitters are encouraged to include relevant graphics in or accompanying their abstracts.

The venue for the conference is The University of Queensland St Lucia Campus. Find more information here.

Registration fees will be $200 (faculty/industry) or $100 (student) for the 3 days which includes catering and a digital proceedings, and $50 for the conference banquet for interested attendees.

More information will be posted on this site over the coming weeks.

Conference organisers
Daniel Angus, Janet Wiles, Lydia Byrne (University of Queensland)

Cleveland, W. (1993). Visualizing Data. Summit, NJ: Hobart Press.
Johnson, K. (2008). Quantitative Methods in Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

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