Lingrapher Documentation

Version 1.1


Lingrapher is a graphing program that is designed to produce graphs of reading time data acquired using Linger and analyzed using Lingalyzer. Lingrapher is not designed to handle question-answering or any other kind of data, just reading times. It wouldn't be too hard to adapt it for something else, but that hasn't been done yet.

Lingrapher relies on the xmgrace, or Grace, graphing program, which runs on most Unix machines and has been ported to Windows as well. Before using Lingrapher, you should download and install Grace, if it isn't already running on your machine.

The next thing you should do is to set your LINGER_HOME environment variable to the directory which contains linger and the Lingrapher subdirectory. For example:

export LINGER_HOME=/home/yourid/Linger

Command Line Arguments

Normally you will want to run Lingrapher in the Analysis subdirectory of your experiment directory, rather than from the Lingrapher directory itself. The usage of Lingrapher is as follows:

lingrapher condition-file avg-file graph-name [lingrapher-param-file]*

There are three mandatory arguments. The condition-file is the .cnd file that is used with Lingalyzer. It is used by Lingrapher only to get the English names for the conditions in order to make the legend of the graph.

The avg-file is the .avg file containing average reading times by conditions for each word or region. It can be produced by Lingalyzer. The following is an example line in a .avg file.

contrast2 e 1 -16.319 4.02125
The fields are, in order, the experiment, condition, word/region, average value, and standard error of the mean.

The third argument to Lingrapher is the base name of the graph that will be produced. Two files will actually be generated. If the graph-name is "foo", then foo.agr and foo.eps files will be produced. The .agr file is a description of the graph that can be loaded by xmgrace. The .eps file is the encapsulated postscript picture of that graph, which can be viewed with a postscript viewer, such as gv.

Lingrapher Parameter Files

There are several ways you can customize the appearance of the graph. One is by changing parameters using one or more parameter files. The parameter file default.lpm, in the Lingrapher directory, is always read first. This sets some options that control the behavior of Lingrapher. The default.lpm file looks something like this:

# The basic graph parameter file:
set DefaultGPM $HOME/style1.gpm

# The file describing how different series will appear:
set DefaultSRS $HOME/color1.srs

# The axis labels:
set YAxisLabel "Residual Reading Times (ms)"
set XAxisLabel "Region"

# Labels for the words or regions along the x-axis:
set XLabels    {The noisy "dog ate" the big/ugly cat on Tuesday}

# Whether to display error bars:
set ErrorBars  1

# The min and max y-axis values.  If empty, these are set based on the data. 
set YMin       ""
set YMax       ""

# The numerical spacing between y-axis labels:
set YInterval  10

# Extra space on the left and right sides of the graph:
set XPadLeft   0.5
set XPadRight  0.5

# The location of the legend:
set LegendPos  {0.18 0.82}

You will probably want to define your own Lingrapher parameter file that overrides some of the values in default.lpm. You can then add one or more of these files to the command line arguments and they will be read after the default.lpm and will thus be able to override its settings. For example, if you don't want to use colors, you might put this in the file bw.lpm:

set DefaultSRS $HOME/black1.srs
Then when you run Lingrapher, add "bw.lpm" to the end of the arguments to get black and white output. Note that $HOME/ refers to the main Lingrapher directory.

Graph Parameter Files

The graph parameter files define the look of the graph and use a format recognized by xmgrace (similar to the .agr file). The DefaultGPM variable stores the name of the basic graph parameter file. The default value is $HOME/style1.gpm. This file defines all aspects of the look of the graph except for how the individual series will appear and except for any parameter values overridden later by Lingrapher or by the user. You can choose a different basic style by changing the DefaultGPM parameter in your .lpm file.

Once you are familiar with xmgrace, the .gpm file should be fairly self-explanatory. The line:

@    legend box fill color 7
for example, means that the legend box will be filled with color 7. If you look at the top of the file, you'll see that color 7 is gray.

You can override the values specified in the .gpm file by adding lines to your .lpm files. As long as the line starts with "@" (followed by a space), it will be appended to the .gpm file when producing the .agr graph description. For example, we may want to change the bw.lpm file, because the previous version produced legends with gray backgrounds. This new version will produce legends with white backgrounds because the second line overrides the legend fill color:

set DefaultSRS $HOME/black1.srs
@ legend box fill color 0

Series Parameter Files

The bw.lpr file changed the look of the graphs from color to black and white because it overrode the DefaultSRS variable, which determines which series parameter file will be used. The series parameter file, or .srs file, defines how the different series, or lines, will appear.

The lines in the .srs file are like those in the .gpm file, except that they don't start with @. Any line that ends in a simple value specifies a parameter that is the same for all series. For example, in the file color1.srs, the line:

symbol size 0.500000
indicates that all series will have symbols of size 0.5. However, any line that ends in a list of values, specifies the different values that will be used by the different series. For example, the line:
line color          {2 4 15 12 11 9 10 5}
means that the first series has color 2 (red), the second has color 3 (blue), and so on.

The color1.srs file distinguishes the series by color and is therefore good for presentations. The black1.srs file distinguishes the series by the line style and the shape of the symbols, and is therefore good for written papers.

You may want to define your own .srs file by copying one of these and modifying it. You can then use your file instead of the default one by adding a line like:

set DefaultSRS my.srs
to a .lpm file and adding that file to the command line.


Written by Doug Rohde
Copyright 2001-2003