Prezis and hard numbers

I started out looking at “Great Jazz Bassists and Their Influence” (a Prezi) and “The Butterfly Effect: Design and Democracy” (on Bēhance), both of which were, i think, successful. I decided, though, that i’d like to see what issues students dealing with quantitative data might have had to face, and i decided to focus on Prezis.

It turned out to be hard to find any. I did eventually find a number of Prezis on quantitative analysis methods (often, it seemed to me, from class presentations on some particular methodological issue), and a number of qualitative approaches to linguistic issues or descriptions of individual languages and language families (some really fascinating ones on colonial patterns and language choices, by the way), but to find anything that reported on data i had to dig a bit more.

This surprised me, since quantitativists present their work visually all the time (if nothing else, we have to build charts and graphs). Do we just not post them publicly? Why not? Do we fear getting scooped? Do we figure that numbers don’t mesh well with creative presentation methods?

Anyway, i found a couple. There was one on linguistic stereotypes in Disney films and dialect perception called Accent Stereotypes by Beatrice Fabris, Addie Fleron, Siobhan Nolan, Laura Prunty, & Mackenzie Trumbull that didn’t present actual numbers, but was clearly based on survey results. It was designed for a very general audience, and tried to be very comprehensive as a result—it didn’t necessarily assume any specialized background on the part of the viewer, and it included a lot of sound (and occasional video) so that it was clear what was being referenced by, say, a mention of a “Jamaican accent”.

A picture of the contiguous United States with its dialect regions, with survey choices overlaid on it

From Fabris, et al.

On the more hard-numbers side, there was a presentation of Vowel Production in Early and Late Bilinguals by Casey H, Zahida J, Daniel C, Ammana H, &Angelina L that included, among other things, charts of vowel production in formats that only those with specialized knowledge would undertand. The presentation was equally thorough, but it was arguably able to present its information more efficiently due to the assumption that those viewing it would understand diagrams with a lot of information in a very compressed space. In addition, this presentation was able to leave out the sound clips that were needed for the other one, since the information about sound was shown visually.

A set of Korean and English vowel formant charts for early and late bilinguals

From Casey, et al.

And now i’ve gone way over time, so i’ll stop.

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