Effective use. Wordcorr can
be intensely productive, or numbingly boring.
If you input all your data first, and only later annotate everything,
then tabulate everything, then try to refine the results, you'll be
bored stiff, make mistakes, and get snowed under by such a
mass of information that you are likely to miss important things and
lose track of details. Our suggestion: There's a better way.
- Data. Try entering the
data for just one entry. If you've already imported the
data from elsewhere, pick the first entry.
- Annotate. Then annotate
that one entry and no more. Identify different sets of possible
cognates by tagging the data for each group differently.
- Tabulate the tag groups
(sets of possible cognates) in that single entry, making
tentative guesses about what protosegment and environment
each correspondence set might reasonably represent. Expect to
prove yourself wrong on a lot of the guesses to begin with.
Wordcorr will help you make changes as you go.
- Refine. Then look at the
results you've gotten so far. Refine whatever seems to be out of
place immediately. Attach remarks about the assumptions
you're making to whatever you're making the assumptions about.
- Cycle. Then do the same
for the next entry.
What you're doing is not just feeding data into a computer. With
every correspondence set, you're also committing yourself
intellectually to a small piece of a very complex hypothesis. And
because of that commitment, the minute you come across something
that doesn't fit, you'll recognize it. You'll probably also have a
pretty good idea how to fix it, so that the revised hypothesis will
cover both what you just found and everything you had before.
That's exciting, because as you move ahead, you know every inch
of the analytical territory. You can see the analysis taking shape.
Shooting down a piece of the hypothesis Wordcorr's way isn't
failure; it's growth.
Then Wordcorr is right there to back you up. The buttons on the
Refine panel let you move things around, relabel them, reorganize
on several levels, and move things in and out of Residue.
You come closer to a coherent understanding of what's behind the
data with each cycle. And all the data, and all the analysis, are
where you can reach them all the time.