Social commentators have a long history of complaining that politeness levels are continuously falling and deteriorating and that they have never been quite as bad as they are right now. In this presentation, I want to have a more sober and more empirical look at the development of politeness at a time that was particularly significant in this respect, the eighteenth century and the decades leading up to it. I will present two case studies. In the first I trace the vocabulary of politeness and manners in several large corpora, and in the second I provide a discursive study based on a close reading of three comedies of the period. Together the two case studies provide a rich and nuanced picture of how politeness, in the period under investigation, turned from a preoccupation with honour and reputation to a concern for a good character and finally to a class-based concern for polished and somewhat superficial manners.
Stylometry with R, "Stylo" for short, is an open source R package for computational stylistics. It is particularly useful for authorship analyses and related tasks in exploratory text analysis, based on lexical characteristics. In this workshop, we'll introduce the participants to the basic usage of the package, primarily via its user-friendly graphical interface. This will be a hands-on session, with practical exercises and real-world examples drawn from historic texts. To follow along, the workshop will require participants to have access to a reasonably recent computer that runs one of the major operating systems (Window, Mac OSX, Linux). Installations instructions and materials will be shared beforehand.
Max. 25 participants
The lecture will focus on the written correspondence of French Canadian families during the 19th c. and the beginning of the 20th c. Following the capitulation of France and the concession of its North American territories to Britain in 1763, French Canadians needed to adapt to the new English context that had taken over parts of social and political life. I will discuss social and linguistic trajectories of Francophone families, both outside Quebec where French is a minority language (Acadia, Detroit, Manitoba) and in Quebec, taking into account the demographic unbalance between French and English communities, the growing access to education, and linguistic and social networks. As I will demonstrate, egodocuments constitute missing pieces of a complex linguistic puzzle and allow us to trace back social and linguistic microchanges which shaped the 21th c. linguistic practices in Canada.
Transkribus is an open platform for the recognition of handwritten historical documents. More than 50,000 users are registered on the platform, several hundred of them work with the software every day. As the only platform worldwide, users can train neural networks themselves and are therefore able to optimize the recognition of handwritten documents for their specific documents.
Transkribus is based on deep learning and works independently of language and alphabet. Medieval documents in Latin can be processed in the same way as letters from WWI in English and German, or Hebrew and Arabic. Nearly 9000 models have already been trained by the users. In total, nearly 20 million pages have been uploaded to the Transkribus platform for processing.
Transkribus was developed in an EU research project led by the University of Innsbruck. Following the project, the European Cooperative READ-COOP SCE was founded in 2019. READ-COOP now has more than 80 members, including renowned archives, libraries and universities from all over the world.
The workshop will consist of three parts. Firstly we will provide a short overview about the Transkribus platform, the various tools such as Transkribus lite, read&search and the idea of a European Cooperative Society. Secondly we will directly demonstrate the work with the expert client via screen sharing so that workshop participants can directly experience main steps of the workflow. Finally, we will have an open session where all participants can try out what they learned and share their screen for questions.
Max. 25 participants
The Cairo Genizah has preserved such an abundance of materials that we are able to assess a wide range of samples of writing, both in terms of chronology and genre, by individuals, scribal families and communities of writers. In this context, utility prose is especially valuable, as it is not subject to copying and editing, but preserves language use at a particular time and place. Many of the extant texts are fragmentary materials, but they still reveal a wealth of information pertaining to variations of forms employed within the same text, diachronic changes observable during the lifetime of authors, and how theme and audience influenced linguistic choices. Through easily accessible examples, I will also discuss how writers influenced one another, how particular scribes innovated, and which of these innovations caught on, while others disappeared.
When we approach past conceptualizations of language in light of the present (and vice versa), it is tempting to think that the political and social valence of a language ideology is inherent, instead of acquired in a particular historical conjuncture. Grasping the significance of language ideologies in context demands recognition of them as dialogic and contending with other views that may have been erased over time. Reading with an ethnographic eye along as well as against the grain of discourses about language – seen as the practices of historical actors with their own interests, alliances, and anxieties – allows us to excavate complicating alternative positions and to reveal new dimensions of ideas whose measure we thought we had taken. In this talk, I draw on my earlier work on 17th century theories of the origin of the Spanish language to consider some analytic pitfalls and methodological strategies in the historical study of language ideologies.