Predefined Datasets (data)

LingPy comes along with many different kinds of predefined data. When loading the library, the following dictionary is automatically loaded and employed by all LingPy modules:

rcParams : dict

As an alternative to all global variables, this dictionary contains all these variables, and additional ones. This dictionary is used for internal coding purposes and stores parameters that are globally set (if not defined otherwise by the user), such as

  • specific debugging messages (warnings, messages, errors)
  • default values, such as “gop” (gap opening penalty), “scale” (scaling factor
  • by which extended gaps are penalized), or “figsize” (the default size of
  • figures if data is plotted using matplotlib).

These default values can be changed with help of the rc function that takes any keyword and any variable as input and adds or modifies the specific key of the rcParams dictionary, but also provides more complex functions that change whole sets of variables, such as the following statement:

>>> rc(schema="asjp")

which switches the variables “asjp”, “dolgo”, etc. to the ASCII-based transcription system of the ASJP project.

If you want to change the content of c{rcParams} directly, you need to import the dictionary explicitly:

>>> from lingpy.settings import rcParams

However, changing the values in the dictionary randomly can produce unexpected behavior and we recommend to use the regular rc function for this purpose.

lingpy.settings.rc(rval=None, **keywords)

Function changes parameters globally set for LingPy sessions.


rval : string (default=None)

Use this keyword to specify a return-value for the rc-function.

schema : {“ipa”, “asjp”}

Change the basic schema for sequence comparison. When switching to “asjp”, this means that sequences will be treated as sequences in ASJP code, otherwise, they will be treated as sequences written in basic IPA.


This function is the standard way to communicate with the rcParams dictionary which is not imported as a default. If you want to see which parameters there are, you can load the rcParams dictonary directly:

>>> from lingpy.settings import rcParams

However, be careful when changing the values. They might produce some unexpected behavior.


Import LingPy:

>>> from lingpy import *

Switch from IPA transcriptions to ASJP transcriptions:

>>> rc(schema="asjp")

You can check which “basic orthography” is currently loaded:

>>> rc(basic_orthography)
>>> rc(schema='ipa')
>>> rc(basic_orthography)


rc([rval]) Function changes parameters globally set for LingPy sessions.