The PhoneBox Home Page
PhoneBox is a utility for phonological analysis using language data structured by Standard Format Markers. The standard program for manipulating this type of data is The Linguist's Toolbox.
24.11.2006: PhoneBox 2.0.3 released
PhoneBox 2.0.3 fixes the following errors:
- FIX : \cpy doesn't work: PhoneBox didn't copy the markers listed in the \cpy field to environment chart and combination chart files.
- FIX : UTF-8 check too narrow: Check for illegal UTF-8 three-byte-sequences would also mark some correct sequences, causing some characters not to be copied correctly to the files generated by PhoneBox.
With PhoneBox you can
- use your phonetic data you collected with Toolbox without any import or conversion.
- generate a table of all phones in your data, and of how often they occur (phone inventory).
- generate environment charts of all phones in your data.
- mark phones as uncertain in your data and then create charts of all uncertain phones, giving you all examples where you're not sure about your phonetic data.
- see how the interpretation of ambiguous segments or ambiguous sequences affects the syllable patterns of your data.
- create a chart of all segment sequences in your data matching a given CV-pattern (distribution charts).
- use any font or character notation supported by Toolbox, including Unicode UTF-8.
- import the tables generated by PhoneBox into Microsoft Word for display and printing as phone charts or distribution charts.
- and, as an extra feature: import Shoebox interlinear text into Microsoft Word tables and rearrange it as you need for textual grammar analysis or publication.
PhoneBox is designed to support the analysis of language data that has been collected using the Toolbox program. It is based on the following philosophies:
- Integration with other programs: If you have already entered your data in one program, you certainly don't want to enter it again into another program. PhoneBox supports Toolbox as the de facto standard linguistical database, and Microsoft Word as the most popular program used to create language descriptions and other printable documents. Other programs can use PhoneBox as a batch program or as an ActiveX component.
- Integration with an analysis process: The analysis of a language is a process. You collect data, analyse it, make hypotheses, collect more data, check your hypotheses again... PhoneBox reads your central dictionary database, and you can rerun any analysis and recheck any hypothesis with new data. Currently, tutorials are being developed that cover the language analysis process from entering data into a paper notebook to writing language descriptions.
- Flexibility: PhoneBox can use data in any Toolbox database type and in any font you may want to use. You don't have to import your data, don't have to change any formats. You only have to tell PhoneBox what is what in your dictionary database.
- Independence from Linguistic Models: PhoneBox doesn't anticipate any analysis decisions and doesn't assume any linguistic model. It doesn't do the analysis for you, but it frees you from the more tedious tasks involved with analysing your data, and leaves the interesting bits to you.
- Simplicity: Do everything as simple as possible. Simple programs are easier to understand and are less vulnerable to programming mistakes.
Unfortunately, our resources are very limited, as well as our field experience. Therefore, we would welcome any kind of contribution:
- Help with translation of materials that are already there.
- Materials that have been used to teach people how to perform a specific linguistic task with the computer.
- Descriptions of analyses for specific phenomena, from a linguist's point of view.
- Descriptions of the procedures used to perform these analyses with the computer and to document them for publication in a language description.
- Descriptions of problems or work intensive tasks encountered on the field that need to be addressed.
- Feedback on experiences with the described procedures.
- Help with editing materials.
If you are interested in helping these aims, we would warmly welcome your contacting us.
There is a mailing list for notifications about updates in the PhoneBox software. If you are interested in receiving these updates, please contact us.
PhoneBox 2.0.2 Fixes
PhoneBox 2.0.2 fixes some major problems:
- FIX : PhoneBox hang: When running PhoneBox from the Toolbox / Tools / Run Command or Batch File Menu, it was impossible for PhoneBox to close Toolbox on Windows XP systems.
- FIX : PhoneBox hang: A problem in the settings database could cause PhoneBox to "hang".
Because of the severity of these problems, it is recommended to not use the old version of PhoneBox any longer.
PhoneBox 2.0.1 Fixes
PhoneBox 2.0.1 fixes the following problems
- Ignore byte order marks: PhoneBox used to have a problem with UTF-8 byte order marks at the beginning of files. Now these byte order marks, which might be left there if a file is edited outside Toolbox, are ignored.
- Close Toolbox early: Toolbox is now closed before loading the project file, to make sure that any changes to the project file or other files are saved before opening them, even if PhoneBox is not started from the Tools / Run Command or Batch File menu inside Toolbox.
PhoneBox 2.0.0 Features
PhoneBox 2.0.0 has the following new features:
- Full Unicode support: PhoneBox now supports Unicode exactly the same way as Toolbox. The settings files and the Microsoft Word document templates have been changed in order to make Unicode the default encoding for phonetic data.
- Improved user interface: The new PhoneBox wizard makes sure that only valid settings databases and settings records are selected.
- Improved error handling: The message window can now display phonetic data in its own font. Errors in the input data are reported to an error database inside the Toolbox project, and system errors are logged to a log file to provide additional help for debugging.
- Improved interaction with Toolbox: PhoneBox now reads the Toolbox settings files to determine the properties of the phonetic data. It closes Toolbox, adds the files it creates to the Toolbox project it works with, and opens the project again. The files appear already set up and sorted for analysis.
- Improved setup: PhoneBox resides now in its own application directory, and the settings files and the document templates are accessible via the Start menu.
PhoneBox 1.1.3 Features
Some minor details have been fixed in the PhoneBox program, and Unicode support has been tested. The new version number of PhoneBox is 1.1.3, and there are new downloads of this version in the downloads section.
There is a new download of settings files which support phonetic data in Unicode notation. As expected, PhoneBox can use Unicode data the same way as ANSI data. However, there is one limitation: uncertainty status does not work with Unicode data, yet.
PhoneBox 1.1.2 Features
Following a test phase autumn 2003, some bugs in the Microsoft Word document templates have been eliminated. This release fixes the issue that the TextTable-template would stop to import interlinear text if the markers don't follow the Shoebox Quick Interlinear Setup naming conventions. Further, an extra minimum download of the PhoneBox program was included, that doesn't contain the Visual Basic Runtime and is only 143 KB.
For PhoneBox 1.1.2, the following downloads have changed:
PhoneBox 1.1.1 Features
PhoneBox 1.1.1 introduced some very useful new features, namely the capability to import PhoneBox output into Microsoft Word for display and printing. Additionally, the documentation has been very much improved through the inclusion of Geoffrey Hunt's PhoneBox Tutorial (still in draft state, but never the less very useful), plus a German tutorial for phonological analysis using Shoebox and PhoneBox, and a new Frequently Asked Questions section from the experiences some users made with PhoneBox during the last year.
As an extra feature, PhoneBox now supports import of Shoebox interlinear text into Microsoft Word. Actually, this feature has nothing to do with phonological analysis, but some users expressed a need for something like it, and it fit in best with the existing distribution of PhoneBox.
Last Update: Nov 24th, 2006