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Lingsoc – /lɪŋsɒk/ - Software

This page provides a mere cursory overview of some of the software you might find useful while undertaking coursework or research in Linguistics. If you have any resources to add please email us. We will add more resources and further commentary later this year; in the mean time, try googling for further information and instructions. Please also see the Linguistic Toolbox from the University of Ghent and Bill Poser’s extensive list.


Fonts can change whenever you change computers. Generally the computer will find an equivalent font, but this might result in illegible symbols, or different text size and spacing (perhaps upsetting your whole slide!). The only ways to preserve the exact original are: (1) turn the text into an image - for example, printscreen the original text and copy/paste it, then crop; or (2) make a PDF (recommended; see below).

However, using Arial should suffice even when changing platforms (e.g. giving a presentation on a Mac when you wrote it on Windows). To easily insert phonetic symbols try the Linguist List web-based IPA keyboard.

Please see this great explanation from Robert Mannell for why this occurs and more information about phonetic fonts. For information about cross-platform fonts (fonts which should work when changing from a Windows PC to a Mac, for example) see here.

Phonetic fonts can be downloaded from SIL International (Charis SIL is generally best). Further information about inserting (phonetic) symbols is here.

How to make a PDF

Note that you don’t need special software to do this on a Mac
(1) Download cutepdf (or similar PDF program)
(2) Go to ‘Print’ the document and choose the cutepdf printer.
(3) Adjust the settings as you would normally. For slides, make sure you change the size of the ‘paper’ via Properties > Advanced (select ‘Note’ in the dropdown box for size) - leaving it as A4 does work; but, there will be about two centimetres of white on each side of the slide.
(4) When presenting, open the file (in Adobe Acrobat Reader) and use the View > ‘Full Screen Mode’ (Ctrl+L).

Note that the university’s Access lab computers have the full Adobe Acrobat program installed and you can use this to make pdfs, as well as to set them so that, e.g., they require a password, or cannot be copy/pasted.

Foolproof Failproof Presenting

When using images, sound and video, be careful as to whether you are inserting them by linking them, or actually embedding them into the presentation. Copy/pasting an image, for example, should embed it into the presentation; linking it will make it look like it is embedded, but the image will not show when you change computers or delete the original image file. As a back up, ensure you also save the multimedia files you use on your flashdisk, as well as your presentation file, so that you can re-insert or play them if required. See Microsoft’s own guidelines for more information.

The operating system run by the computer you’re presenting with will also affect your presentation. In particular, transitions, shapes, fonts et cetera can change (usually only a little) when changing between Windows and Mac. You can preserve fonts and diagrams by making a PDF. For transitions and animation, you would need to use something else altogether (for example, Prezi - assuming you will have certain access to the internet).

It’s important to have a back up plan, of course. Along with saving the presentation on a flashdisk, you may want to save it as a PDF on the flashdisk as well, and also email both to yourself. On the day, flick through the presentation and see if it all works, when setting up. (If the presentation is too large, make sure you compress all the images: select an image, go to ‘Format’ > ‘Compress Pictures’ > ‘Options’, tick both boxes, OK, un-tick ‘Apply to selected pictures only’, click OK. This can greatly affect the file size since PowerPoint automatically keeps any image parts you have cropped.)

Other programs that may be useful

Excel or its equivalent will likely suffice, however you may find pivot tables to be very handy especially where your analysis involves multiple factors or variables (e.g. age, gender, et cetera). Much more powerful packages include R and SPSS.

Word processors
Open Office
LaTeX (see this guide and the Honours Society’s guide here)

Corpus management and mark-up
UAM Corpus Tool


Audio and Video

Downloading Websites and Video

Sciplore MindMapping

Sending large files

Backing up
Allway sync

Reference Management