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Wordcorr Home > Linguist > Effective use

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.

Try it.

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