Course abstract - Byrne

Course: Visualizing Language Data for Analysis and Communication 

Instructor: Lydia Byrne

Description: Visualization is a powerful tool for understanding data and engaging audiences. The study of languages has and continues to provide an understanding of complex structures and patterns in language. Through visualization, this knowledge can move from inside linguists’ heads to an external form that can be (literally) seen and shared with the research community and the broader public. This course will provide an accessible introduction to creating visualizations of language, and thinking visually about language. Offline (i.e. out of session) video tutorials will guide users through the process of constructing a selection of common types of visualization. The offline tutorials will focus on how to visualize language data. The face-to-face course will involve in-depth discussion of why particular visual design choices should be used. The hands-on course will be suited to a wide range of experience levels (including those who are completely new to visualization). It will draw on existing CoEDL members’ experiences with visualizations of language and language problems in need of visualization.


1. Types of ‘visualizable’ language data and where to find them

2. Thinking visually - how the choice of visual shapes, colours and arrangement of shapes in space sets up a visual environment where insights about language can emerge

3. Common visualization types with real-life examples from other linguists

4. How to create visualizations - a practical introduction

Resources for students attending the course:

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University