Linguistics 300, F08, Assignment 5

Ongoing (M 9/22 - M 9/29)


In what follows, material that you need to type is in red typewriter font. In general, you should be able to cut and paste most of the commands.

Password security (back to top)

In connection with this class, you have been assigned an account on babel (the Linguistics Department server). Your babel password is the same as your SAS/SEAS password. Please let me know if you have forgotten that password, and I will get in touch with the system administrator so that you can be assigned a temporary password. In that case, you will need to change your password the first time that you log on to babel.

See the Penn Computing site on managing passwords on how to choose a secure password - or better yet, pass sentence.

Here are some further guidelines concerning password security and computer security more generally:

First steps in using your babel account (back to top)

Log on (back to top)

Instructions for Mac

Instructions for Windows

Change password (back to top)

If you logged on to babel with your SAS/SEAS mail password, you don't need to change your password.

Otherwise, if you have been assigned a temporary password, you must change your password to the pass sentence you chose earlier. At the system prompt, type passwd and follow the instructions.

Change shell (back to top)

A shell is the interface between you and a computer's operating system (its "brain"). You can think of the shell as the language that you use to communicate with the computer. So the shell that you use on babel is the way that you communicate with babel and issue commands to it. There are several different shells (just as there are different natural languages). A common shell is the so-called bash shell, but for this class, I have asked the system administrator to install the tcsh shell (read: T shell) for you. The following instructions allow you to check that he has done so and to install the tcsh shell if he hasn't.

Check group membership (back to top)

In order to access the historical corpora on babel, you need to belong to a group of users called mideng-use. This allows you read access to the historical corpora (but not write access). Please check that the system administrator has made you a member of mideng-use by typing groups. The groups that are listed in response should include mideng-use. Please let me know if that is not the case.

Set up .cshrc file (back to top)

When you log on to babel, the tcsh shell (mentioned earlier) checks your home directory to see if you have a so-called .cshrc file (that's dot c s h r c). The purpose of the .cshrc file is to set certain preferences, aliases, and so on that allow you to navigate babel more easily. Since the .cshrc file deals with an individual user's preferences, the system administrator generally lets you set up your own .cshrc file. The following instructions tell you how.

Test .cshrc file (back to top)

The last thing you need to do is to verify the .cshrc file.

Log out (back to top)

To log out, type logout (one word). If using Terminal, you can also simply click on the red button in the upper left corner of the Terminal window.

Learn basics of Linux/Unix (back to top)

In order to explore the online historical corpora that are stored on babel, you'll need to become familiar with the basics of the operating system on babel, which is called Linux. It is a "dialect" of Unix, an older system that is also still in use. For our purposes, the two "dialects" are interchangeable.

Here are some useful tutorials. I'm not expecting you to read all of them. Pick the material that is written in a way that is most helpful to you.

Penn CIS Unix tutorial, Lessons 1-7

University of Chicago online computing tutorials, Unix Tutorial

Berkeley Unix tutorial, Part 1
There's no need to read the part in Section 5 about pico or Sections 6-7.

University of Surrey Unix tutorial, Introduction and Tutorials 1, 2, 4, and 8

Learn basics of Emacs (back to top)

Text files on babel cannot be read or edited using Word or similar text editors. Instead, we will use a text editor called Emacs, which comes with a self-paced online tutorial that covers the basic commands. Using Emacs, you will be able to read the historical corpora (see instructions in later assignments).

To access the tutorial, log on to your babel account, as described earlier.

Call up an Emacs window with emacs

Here are two alternative ways to access the online tutorial from an open Emacs window. The first one is simpler, so try it first.

If you get into trouble in an Emacs window (for instance, if it freezes up), a useful sequence to know is the "escape" sequence C-g.

The Emacs tutorial can also be viewed on the web. To test the commands, you will of course have to open a separate Emacs window.