TeX for linguistics

I encourage my students to write their assignments in TeX, a text editing system that is widely used by mathematicians and scientists. Among other things, it is great for writing IPA and syntactic trees, and it will help you to avoid many of the annoyances of Word. The learning curve is a bit steep, but it’s better to learn now than when you’re working on a huge thesis, etc. I’m always available to help you troubleshoot your code.

Creating a document in TeX involves two steps: writing the code (creating a .tex file) and compiling it, which creates a PDF. If you are submitting a manuscript to a journal, you will have to supply both of those along with some other files if you also have TeX generate your bibliography. Unlike MS Word and other similar word processing programs, what you type in TeX is quite different from the output. However, it’s quite well-behaved and can do a lot of very powerful things like create a bibliography from citations and change formatting effortlessly.

  • **Please do one of the following two things before the first workshop**
    • Option 1: A great way to get started with TeX is to sign up for an Overleaf account. This is a web-based platform (sort of like Google Docs) so you don’t have to install anything on your computer. They also provide an online introduction to TeX.
    •  Option 2: If you decide you would rather install TeX on your computer, here is where you get it for Macs. I can help you figure out the details once you’ve gotten that far (or I might post better instructions here later). I personally like to use the included TeXShop app to to my coding. It’s been a long time since I used a PC so I will probably be less helpful, but  MikTeX is good.
    • Also: please download this zipped folder of sample documents that we’ll use in the workshops.
  • Huge master list of TeX commands, organized thematically
  • LaTeX for Linguists and a presentation
  • Presentation on TeX for linguists
  • Your main options for glossing/numbered examples are gb4e and linguex. They’re both good. If you use linguex, you must always call up tipa in your preamble BEFORE linguex or you will get errors.

IPA and other special symbols

Tables and OT tableaux

Syntactic trees

  • Qtree (will do regular trees) works alongside tree-dvips (for arrows)
  • Tikz-qtree does both, but the arrow syntax is less well documented and more complicated. Forest is another option. Both of those require you to call up the tikz package first.
  • There’s also pst-jtree or xyling, but to me those are less intuitive
  • This blog post (scroll down a bit) explains how you can use LaTeXiT (a small equation editor for Macs) to create trees that you can drag-and-drop into Word docs or whatever. This explains how to create a preamble for using qtree. I’d suggest adding tree-dvips also to the preamble if you’re going to do that — and then you’ll need to go to Preferences > Typesetting and change to latex + dvipdf instead of pdflatex.