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Modeling regions of linguistic phenomena, including the inherent spatial dependencies

Generating continuous spatial surfaces for the manifestations and intensity of the 'infinitival complementizer' linguistic phenomena in the Swiss-German language (SADS phenomena I1, I6, I11 & IV14).

Detailed project report

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In this project a new approach to model linguistic regions is presented. To study the spatial distribution of linguistic phenomena concepts from Geography are applied on a linguistic data set, which was collected in the project ‘Syntactic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland’ (SADS) during the years 2000 till 2002. Continuous spatial surfaces for the manifestations and intensity of the 'infinitival complementizer' linguistic phenomena in the Swiss-German language are generated by combining techniques from machine learning, like the Support Vector Machine (SVM) and a spatial regularization of the classification map (MRF) with other well-known geographic concepts (Tobler’s first law, hiking function and least cost paths) to create linguistic regions, which take the inherent spatial dependencies between the data points into account. Trudgill's gravity index finds application to weight the linguistic influence of two neighbouring points on each other.

The project is supervised by Curdin Derungs, head of the GISLab, a research group of the ‘UFSP Language and Space’ initiative at the University of Zurich.


  1. Install R & RStudio
  2. Get the needed libraries: install.packages('library-name')
  3. Clone the repository, by creating a new git project in RStudio



  1. Fork it!
  2. Create your feature branch: git checkout -b my-new-feature
  3. Commit your changes: git commit -am 'Add some feature'
  4. Push to the branch: git push origin my-new-feature
  5. Submit a pull request :D


  • Merlin Unterfinger - Development and implementation - munterfi
  • Curdin Derungs - Theoretical background - GISLab

Built With

  • R - The R Project for Statistical Computing
  • RStudio - Open source and enterprise-ready professional software for R


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE file for details


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