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portrait of a linguist as a young man

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Thanks to Justin Boffemmyer for converting the UB Thesis Guidelines (.pdf) into ubthesis class, a document class that does most of the heavy lifting to format your dissertation.


What is TeX?

But that explanation is more for mathematicians. Below, I give the highlights of a LaTeX tutorial (presented 24 Jan 2011) targetting Linguists and their needs for pretty pictures and robust fonts. You'll find links (BROKEN, they'll be fixed soon) to the handouts I used (in both raw and compiled forms) as well as package and command recommendations from my own experience typesetting Language (and language).

By working your way through the .tex files, you should get a better understanding of why they create the .pdf files that they do. First, I'll show you how to typeset a basic paper or your average homework assignment. Then, I'll take you through the extras you may need to write a journal article. Finally, I'll focus on those packages that are particular to linguists.

Writing a Simple Paper in LaTeX

The tutorial .pdf was generated from the following .tex file and three helper files.

Writing a Journal Paper in LaTeX

The tutorial .pdf was generated from the following .tex file.

Writing a Linguistics Paper in LaTeX

The tutorial .pdf was generated from the following .tex file and one helper file.

Andy Wetta wrote a supplementary tutorial on creating HPSG-style AVMs and trees. (Don't forget his .tex file and .bib file.)

Troubleshooting LaTeX Problems

'When LaTeX gives you errors, make errormade'

Creating a minimal working example (mwe) can help you get the root of the problem with your LaTeX file. If something isn't compiling right, make an mwe. It's also a great way to learn exactly what packages interact/require what other packages.

Nothing helps learning to typeset like seeing lots of functional examples. Here is a listing of the most common templates I use for my LaTeX work.


Simple Resume Template (.tex)
Originally made for Jordana Heller's CV, this template has a special page header, modified section headers (with formatting and underrule), but focuses on a clean layout.
Conditional Resume Template (.tex)
Instead of actually maintaing three separate files to make my three different resumes, I just have one file with a variable to determine which sections to show under what conditions.
Minimal TikZ Picture (.pdf, .tex)
Sometimes I really only need TikZ for one picture in a document, which really doesn't need to be re-generated for every build. In those cases, you can use this template to generate the minimal picture-box around a TikZ creation.
Phrase Structure Trees (.ps .tex)
I actually prefer using TikZ for these, now. (See above.)
Grammatical Relation Diagrams (.ps .tex)
I actually prefer using TikZ for these, now. (See above.)


Since I wasn't actually able to include all the cool/useful packages in my tutorials above, here is a full listing of packages that should help you make that LaTeX paper look all the more linguistic-y:
come on, all the cool kids are type-setting attribute-value matrices...
provides very, very diverse language support
great for making presentation slides
for all your bibliographic needs
simple numbered examples boosted for linguists
really handy method for keeping those examples gender neutral (and by that, I mean equally and arbitrarilly switching between them)
commands for multi-line glossing (augmenting covington)
pstricks (with pst-tree and pst-node)
need to draw anything crazy or with arrows? trees, perhaps?
pstricks too scary? still want to do trees?
stmaryrd (with simple $math$ mode)
good for formal semantics and those meaning brackets; also helpful for the elsewhere constructions in sound and morphology
more robust (for me) than pstricks with cooler options and builds directly to PDF
uses the same syntax as Qtree, but backed by TikZ
makes working with IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet) pretty easy

Useful Links

hand-written symbol recognition to help you find that one symbol you need (could be great for finding those pesky IPA symbols)
IPA Chart Keyboard
click-able means for constructing complex IPA symbols; you can then cut-and-paste them into your file (may require XeTex/XeLaTeX or babel)
Home Projects Teaching Affiliations
(Gray links are not actively being updated)