2013-09-27

Scrivener - integrated writing environment with MultiMarkdown support

I am truly sorry for people who (still) use a word processor for all the imaginable types of writing, as it is, in my humble opinion-shmopinion, a bad (or even very bad) compromise of several functions that can be performed far more efficiently by other, dedicated, software programs: 1) a sophisticated text editor (my favorite is EditPad Pro) is much faster in handling huge text documents; 2) there are other file formats and tools for the physical layout of text documents (e.g., LaTex and LyX respectively); 3) a word processor encourages its users to blur or totally forget the distinction between the logical structure and physical layout of text documents.

For the first reason I use my favorite text editor exclusively when the physical layout of a text document is irrelevant. But it has two limitations: 1) of course, it cannot format text; 2) it is not an efficient tool for dealing with long and complicated text documents like books (in this respect text editors are not better than word processors).

Rather recently I found a solution to the second problem - Scrivener, which I would define as an integrated writing environment. The user manual of this amazing tool descrives the problem it solves as follows:

Most word processors and text editors aimed at writers assume the creative process will take place in linear form; that is, they assume that the writer knows how his or her work will begin and will start at the beginning and continue through until reaching the end, and for those that do work that way, they assume that a linear form is a useful format for a text that spans hundreds of pages. Planning and restructuring is therefore forced into a separate workflow - the writer must either plan before beginning and keep track of hundreds of different files using the computer or face the laborious task of cutting and pasting numerous chunks of text to restructure a long piece of work at the end. For shorter pieces of writing, this is not a massive problem, but for longer texts - such as novels or academic theses - the writer can often find him- or herself battling against the tools of their trade. What a word processor does get right is in not presuming anything of your working methods. It is, at the core, ruthlessly simple.

I used to think that Scrivener was a WYSIWYG tool like a word processor. Actually, it is. But I have just found that it can also be used as a WYSIWYM tool, and that in a very convenient manner with a lightweight markup language called MultiMarkdown, which, unlike XML, does not get in the way of the actual process of writing, especially when one writes in an RTL script like Hebrew. Scrivener can convert structured text written with MultiMarkdown into a number of appropriate physical layout in various formats like plain text, ODT, Word, LaTeX, PDF, EPUB etc.

In conclusion, I would even say that at least as far as I am concerned, the switch from a word processor to this amazing integrated writing environment, especially after I have found its support for MultiMarkdown, is even more fundamental and revolutionary than the switch from a typewriter to a word processor. But it goes without saying that I have nothing against all kinds of "creative" uses of a word processor, especially Word, other than writing per se. ;-)

2013-09-20

Reflecting on the sabbatical

This first sabbatical of mine still has a little more three weeks until it finishes officially, but psychologically it has already finished for me as I am starting to prepare materials for the courses I am supposed to teach in the new academic year. So this seems to be a good opportunity to reflect on this first experience and learn lessons for the future sabbaticals.

In overall terms my biggest problem was time management. Ironically, but quite expectedly, since I had far more free time than when I used to teach, I used it less efficiently. I am afraid that if I had not spent my morning hours at a yeshiva, I might have used my abundant free time even less efficiently.

But even if I had used my time efficiently, I might not have been able to do everything I planned and wanted to do on sabbatical - to read as much as possible in six areas of linguistics. But in the first month of my sabbatical I already understood that this plan was too unrealistic and had to adjust my plan drastically and concentrate on two of them, which are directly related to my current research topic. Although I could read quite a lot in these two areas, there still seem so many things to read, and this is nothing but a beginning in a seemingly long path to attain my self-imposed goal, as I also have to think about what I read on the topic and propose my own thought on it. I have also started wondering if I am good enough to reach this goal at all. I remember this feeling from the days when I was still struggling with my dissertation, but this time the feeling is far more overwhelming.

Another reason why I could work less efficiently is that since I spent more time with myself, various fundamental questions of life, about which I was too busy to think otherwise, did not stop bothering me, which in turn prevented me from concentrating on academic reading. The biggest anxiety was and still is the fear of the future, especially because I am an immigrant who has no family here, either by blood or by marriage. In a sense this sabbatical was also a kind of simulation of life after retirement.

In short, this sabbatical has made me realize so keenly how limited I am both as a researcher and as a human being and in which areas I am specially weak. Now I am asking myself how I can overcome or at least compensate for my own limitations and weaknesses. This is the "homework" for myself until my next sabbatical.

2013-09-03

Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics: private thematic list of entries

Encylopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, which is probably one of the most ambitious and important initiatives in the modern scholarship of Hebrew linguistics, was finally published by Brill a few weeks ago, both as a print version and as an online version.

The following is a private thematic list of entries I have prepared from the online version, which only lists entries alphabetically. I have classified them into eight nine major categories. Although I have prepared this list for my own private use, it might also be of some use to some other people who want not only to consult this encyclopedia alphabetically but also to read it thematically as I, especially if the print version, which I have ordered but have not received yet, does not have a thematic list of entries, either.

This epoch-making reference work, especially its print version, has one serious "problem" for many potential personal users - it is too expensive! But someone who only wants to read it thematically can purchase an online access for a short period of time at an affordable price. Of course, I have no commercial relationship with the publisher of this encyclopedia, though I myself have contributed six entries, and this non-exhaustive thematic list of mine does not reflect the views of the editors.

1 Periods of Hebrew

  • Afroasiatic and Hebrew: History of Scholarship - Aaron D. Rubin
  • Afroasiatic and Hebrew: Linguistic Features - Rainer Voigt
  • Semitic Language, Hebrew as a - John Huehnergard
  • Northwest Semitic Languages and Hebrew - Holger Gzella
  • Biblical Hebrew, Periodization - Aaron Kornkohl
  • Biblical Hebrew, Archaic - Alice Mandell
  • Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Background of Masoretic Text - Geoffrey Khan
  • Biblical Hebrew: Pronunciation Traditions - Geoffrey Khan
  • Masora, Tiberian - Viktor Golinets
  • Masora, Babylonian - Yosef Ofer
  • Tiberian Reading Tradition - Geoffrey Khan
  • Vocalization, Babylonian - Geoffrey Khan
  • Vocalization, Palestinian - Shai Heijmans
  • Vocalization, Palestino-Tiberian - Shai Heijmans
  • Second Temple Period - Matthew Morgenstern
  • Dead Sea Scrolls: Linguistic Features - Steven E. Fassberg
  • Tosefta, Hebrew of - Shamma Friedman
  • Amoraic Hebrew - Yochanan Breuer
  • Rabbinic Hebrew: Karaite Sources - Ofra Tirosh-Becker
  • Paytanic Hebrew - Michael Rand
  • Medieval Hebrew - Angel Sáenz-Badillos
  • Samaritan Hebrew: Biblical - Moshe Florentin
  • Samaritan Hebrew: Late - Moshe Florentin
  • Karaite Hebrew - Aharon Maman
  • Ashkenazi Hebrew - Lewis Glinert
  • Hasidic Hebrew - Lily Kahn
  • Maskilic Hebrew - Lily Kahn
  • Revival of Hebrew: Grammatical Structure and Lexicon - Yael Reshef
  • Revival of Hebrew: Hebrew Component of Jewish Languages - Yehudit Henshke
  • Revival of Hebrew: Sociolinguistic Dimension - Yael Reshef
  • Modern Hebrew Grammar: History of Scholarship - Yael Reshef
  • Modern Hebrew: Language Varieties - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Modern Hebrew: The Language of Literature - Maya Fruchtman
  • Modern Hebrew: Features of the Spoken Language - Esther Borochovsky Bar-Aba
  • Diaspora, Modern Hebrew in - Nava Nevo

2 Areas of Hebrew Linguistics

  • Alphabet, Origin of - Peter T. Daniels
  • Script, History of Development - Edna Engel
  • Orthography: Biblical Hebrew - Chanan Ariel
  • Orthography: Rabbinic Hebrew - Michael Ryzhik
  • Orthography: Modern Hebrew - Barak Dan
  • Phonetics of Modern Hebrew: Acoustic - Rina Kreitman
  • Phonetics of Modern Hebrew: Articulatory - Rina Kreitman
  • Phonology: Biblical Hebrew - Gary A. Rendsburg
  • Phonology: Rabbinic Hebrew - Yochanan Breuer
  • Phonology: Israeli Hebrew - Shmuel Bolozky
  • Morphology: Biblical Hebrew - Gary A. Rendsburg
  • Morphology: Rabbinic Hebrew - Yochanan Breuer
  • Morphology: Modern Hebrew - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Syntax: Biblical Hebrew - Tamar Zewi
  • Syntax: Rabbinic Hebrew - Moshe Azar
  • Syntax: Modern Hebrew - Rivka Halevy
  • Pragmatics: Biblical Hebrew - Marco Di Giulio
  • Pragmatics: Modern Hebrew - Noga Balaban
  • Discourse Analysis: Biblical Hebrew - Robert D. Bergen
  • Discourse Analysis: Modern Hebrew - Yael Ziv
  • Stylistics: Biblical Hebrew - Robert S. Kawashima
  • Stylistics: Modern Hebrew - Rina Ben-Shahar
  • Lexicon: Biblical Hebrew - Leonid Kogan
  • Lexicon: Rabbinic Hebrew - Moshe Bar-Asher
  • Lexicon: Modern Hebrew - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Lexicography: Biblical Hebrew - Shalom E. Holtz
  • Lexicography: Middle Ages - José Martínez Delgado
  • Lexicography: Pre-Modern Period - Marie-Louise Craig
  • Lexicography: Modern Period - Reuven Merkin
  • Sociolinguistics - Maria Maddalena Colasuonno
  • Corpus Linguistics - Benjamin Hary

3 Subareas of Hebrew Linguistics (Partial)

3.1 Phonology

  • Intonation: Israeli Hebrew - Pavel Ozerov
  • Stress: Biblical Hebrew - Joshua Blau
  • Stress: Modern Hebrew - Evan-Gary Cohen & Adam Ussishkin

3.2 Parts of Speech

  • Adjective - Fritz Werner
  • Adverb - Galila Mor
  • Noun - Noam Faust
  • Verb - John A. Cook

3.3 Morphology

  • Binyanim: Biblical Hebrew - Barak Dan
  • Binyanim: Rabbinic Hebrew - Yitzhak Hilman
  • Binyanim: Modern Hebrew - Edit Doron
  • Derivation - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Gender - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Inflection - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Mishqal - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Number: Biblical Hebrew - Bill T. Arnold
  • Number: Rabbinic Hebrew - Yochanan Breuer
  • Number: Modern Hebrew - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Root: Modern Notions - Tamar Zewi
  • Verbal System: Biblical Hebrew - Jan Joosten
  • Verbal System: Modern Hebrew - Tsvi Sadan
  • Word Formation - Tsvi Sadan

3.4 Syntax

  • Agreement: Biblicah Hebrew - Yaakov Levi
  • Agreement: Rabbinic Hebrew - Avihai Shivtiel
  • Agreement: Modern Hebrew - Nurit Melnik
  • Argument - Tania Notarius
  • Diathesis - Jan Retsö
  • Object - Rivka Shemesh
  • Subject: Biblical Hebrew - John C. Beckman
  • Subject: Modern Hebrew - Mikhal Oren
  • Valency - Michael Malessa
  • Word Order: Biblical Hebrew - Adina Moshavi
  • Word Order: Rabbinic Hebrew - Avihai Shivtiel
  • Word Order: Modern Hebrew - Noga Ilani et al.

3.5 Semantics

  • Aspect: Modern Hebrew - Nora Boneh
  • Mood and Modality: Biblical Hebrew - Scott N. Callaham
  • Mood and Modality: Rabbinic Hebrew - Mordechay Mishor
  • Mood and Modality: Modern Hebrew - Nora Boneh
  • Tense: Biblical Hebrew - Galia Hatav
  • Tense: Rabbinic Hebrew - Gregor Geiger
  • Tense: Modern Hebrew - Nora Boneh

3.6 Pragmatics

  • Speech Acts: Biblical Hebrew - Andreas Wagner
  • Speech Acts: Modern Hebrew - Shoshana Blum-Kulka

3.7 Lexicon

  • Neologism - Azzan Yadin
  • Technical Terminology: Modern Hebrew - Nathalie Akoun

3.8 Onomastics

  • Names of People: Biblical Hebrew - Richard S. Hess
  • Names of People: Hellenistic and Roman Period - Tal Ilan
  • Names of People: Middle Ages (Islamic Lands) - Elinoar Bareket
  • Names of People: Personal Names in Pre-Modern Europe - Alexander Beider
  • Names of People: Surnames in Pre-Modern Europe - Alexander Beider
  • Names of People: Modern Hebrew - Judith Rosenhouse
  • Names of People: Modern Hebrew: Philosophical and Sociological Aspects - Michal Ephratt
  • Toponyms: in the Land of Israel - Yoel Elitzur
  • Toponyms outside of the Land of Israel - Esther Adamit

3.9 Sociolinguistics

  • Diglossia: Biblical Hebrew - Gary A. Rendsburg
  • Diglossia: Rabbinic Hebrew - Elitzur A. Bar-Asher Siegel
  • Diglossia: Medieval and Modern Hebrew - David M. Bunis
  • Gender and Language - Malka Muchnik
  • Lingua Franca: In the Mediterranean - Cyril Aslanov
  • Lingua Franca: Jewish Studies - Tsvi Sadan
  • Normativism - Einat Gonen
  • Purism - Orly Albeck
  • Slang, Israeli Hebrew - Malka Muchnik

4 Foreign Influence on Hebrew

  • Contact of Hebrew with Other Languages - Azzan Yadin-Israel
  • Arabic Influence: Medieval Period - Simon Hopkins
  • Arabic Influence: Modern Period - Roni Henkin-Roitfarb
  • Aramaic Influence on Biblical Hebrew - Christian Stadel
  • English Influence on Hebrew - Judith Rosenhouse
  • German Influence on Hebrew - Cordelia Hoestermann
  • Greek Influence on Hebrew: Late Antiquity - Nicholas de Lange
  • Greek Influence on Hebrew: Medieval Period - Nicholas de Lange
  • Italian Influence on Hebrew - Michael Ryzhik
  • Judeo-Arabic Influence on the Emergence of Registers in Modern Hebrew - Yehudit Henshke
  • Judeo-Spanish Influence on Hebrew - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Latin Influence on Hebrew - Cyril Aslanov
  • Slavic Influence on Hebrew - Keren Dubnov
  • Turkish Influence on Hebrew in the Ottoman Empire - David M. Bunis
  • Yiddish Influence on Hebrew - Hava Farstey

5 Loanwords in Hebrew

  • Borrowing in Modern Hebrew - Yitzhak Shlesinger
  • Akkadian Loanwords - Paul Mankowski
  • Arabic Loanwords - Haseeb Shehadeh
  • Aramaic Loanwords and Borrowing - Talya Shitrit
  • Egyptian Loanwords - Aaron D. Rubin
  • English Loanwords - Judith Rosenhouse
  • French Loanwords - Cyril Aslanov
  • Greek Loanwords - Shai Heijmans
  • Indian Loanwords - Dennis Kurzon
  • Italian Loanwords - Marco Mancini
  • Judeo-Spanish Loanwords - Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
  • Persian Loanwords - Thamar E. Gindin
  • Slavic Loanwords - Julia G. Krivoruchko
  • Sumerian Loanwords - Aaron D. Rubin
  • Yiddish and German Loanwords - Israel Bartal

6 Hebrew Loanwords in Other Languages

  • Arabic, Hebrew Loanwords in: Pre-Modern Period - Simon Hopkins
  • Arabic, Hebrew Loanwords in: Modern Period - Roni Henkin-Roitfarb
  • Castilian Spanish, Hebrew Loanwords in - Mª Teresa Ortega-Monasterio
  • English, Hebrew Loanwords in - John Huehnergard
  • Esperanto and Hebrew - Tsvi Sadan
  • Ethiopian Semitic, Hebrew Loanwords in - Olga Kapeliuk
  • French, Hebrew Loanwords in - Michel Masson
  • Germanic Languages, Hebrew Loanwords in - Esther-Miriam Wagner
  • Hungarian, Hebrew Loanwords in - Viktória Bányai & Szonja Ráhel Komoróczy
  • Italian, Hebrew Loanwords in - Riccardo Contini
  • Latin, Hebrew Loanwords in - Matthew Kraus
  • Portuguese, Hebrew Loanwords in - Cyril Aslanov
  • Romanian, Hebrew Loanwords in - Cyril Aslanov
  • Rotwelsch, Hebrew Loanwords in - Gary A. Rendsburg & Robert Jütte
  • Tigrinya, Hebrew Loanwords in - Leonid Kogan

7 Traditions of Hebrew in Jewish Communities

  • Algeria - Ofra Tirosh- Becker
  • Ashkenazi Pronunciation Tradition: Medieval - Ilan Eldar
  • Ashkenazi Pronunciation Tradition: Modern - Lewish Glinert
  • Ashkenazi Talmudic Intonation - Zelda Kahan Newman
  • Baghdad, Pronunciation Tradition - Nimrod Shatil
  • China - Yiyi Chen
  • France - Yishai Neuman
  • France, Pronunciation Traditions in Pre-Modern South-Western France - Moshe Bar-Asher
  • India - Shalva Weil
  • Italy: Roman Period to Late Antiquity - Giancarlo Lacerenza
  • Italy: Middle Ages - Michela Andreatta
  • Italy: Pre-Modern Period - 1500–1700 - Fabrizio Lelli
  • Italy: Modern Period - Marco Di Giulio
  • Italy, Pronunciation Traditions - Michael Ryzhik
  • Karaite Pronunciation Traditions: Modern - Tapani Harviainen
  • Kerala, Pronunciation Tradition - Jarmo Forsström
  • Kurdistan, Pronunciation Tradition - Yona Sabar
  • Morocco, Pronunciation Traditions - Natali Akun
  • Netherlands - Irene E. Zwiep
  • Provence - Simone Mrejen- O'Hana
  • Russia - Yeshayahu Gruber
  • Scandinavia - Tapani Harviainen
  • Sephardi Pronunciation Traditions of Hebrew - Yehudit Henshke
  • South America - Edson de Faria Francisco
  • Spain - Gregorio del Lete Olmo
  • Tunisia - Yosef Tobi & Tsivia Tobi
  • Tunisia, Pronunciation Traditions - Yehudit Henshke
  • Ultra Orthodox Jews: in Israel - Dalit Assouline
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews: in the Diaspora - Lewis Glinert
  • United States - Shalom Goldman
  • Yemen - Yosef Tobi
  • Yemen, Pronunciation Traditions - Doron Ya'akov

8 Hebrew Component in Jewish Languages

  • Jewish English, Hebrew Component in - Sarah Bunin Benor
  • Judeo-Alsatian, Hebrew Component in - Cyril Aslanov
  • Judeo-Arabic, Medieval, Hebrew Component in - Joshua Blau
  • Judeo-Arabic, Egyptian, Hebrew Component in - Gabriel M. Rosenbaum
  • Judeo-Arabic, Iraqi, Hebrew Component in - Aharon Geva Kleinberger
  • Iraq, Hebrew Component of Judeo-Arabic - Yitzhak Avishur
  • Judeo-Arabic, Libya, Hebrew Component in - Sumikazu Yoda
  • Judeo-Arabic, North Africa, Hebrew Component in - Moshe Bar-Asher
  • Judeo-Arabic, Syria, Hebrew Component in - Werner Arnold
  • Judeo-Arabic, Yemen, Hebrew Component in - Ori Shachmon
  • Judeo-French, Hebrew Component in - Marc Kiwitt
  • Judeo-Georgian, Hebrew Component in - Reuven Enoch
  • Judeo-Greek, Hebrew Component in - Julia G. Krivoruchko
  • Judeo-Italian, Hebrew Component in - George Jochnowitz
  • Judeo-Malayalam, Hebrew Component in - Ophira Gamliel
  • Judeo-Persian, Hebrew Component in - Thamar E. Gindin
  • Judeo-Portuguese, Hebrew Component in - Devon L. Strolovitch
  • Judeo-Provençal, Hebrew Component in - George Jochnowitz
  • Judeo-Slavic, Hebrew Component in - Cyril Aslanov
  • Judeo-Spanish - Judezmo, Hebrew Component in - David M. Bunis
  • Karaim, Hebrew Component in - Henryk Jankowski
  • Modern Jewish Aramaic, Hebrew Component in - Yona Sabar
  • Polish Slang, Hebrew Component in - Andrzej Zaborski
  • Yiddish, Hebrew Component in - Tsvi Sadan

9 Miscellaneous (Partial)

  • Internet - Tsvi Sadan
  • The Academy of the Hebrew Language - Ronit Gadish
  • Universities, Hebrew Studies in - Pablo Kirtchuk

PS: Having browsed these entries to prepare this list, I have realized that I mistook the title of one entry I had been asked to write on and wrote on something else instead. What a shame!

PPS: In my humble opinion, at least the following entries are missing: Rabbinic Hebrew; Semantics: Biblical Hebrew; Semantics: Modern Hebrew; Electronic Lexicography; Language Planning; Language Policy; Computational Linguisics.