This article describes onomasiological explorations of Old Frisian and Old English lexis in the semantic field of KINSHIP through a novel, digital approach. In connecting Old Frisian lexis, drawn from the Altfriesisches Handwörterbuch (AFWB), to the overarching structure of A Thesaurus of Old English (TOE), a dataset has been created that shares a semantic framework with the one existing for Old English lexis. The connected resources are shared and analysed using the web application Evoke. Statistical data provided by this tool, such as the degree of lexicalization for this field, facilitates comparative analyses of the two historical languages. As this article demonstrates, the reuse of the onomasiological macrostructure of TOE offers new insights into linguistic and cultural aspects of these two languages and their language communities.
This article provides an introduction to the web application Evoke. This application offers functionality to navigate, view, extend, and analyse thesaurus content. The thesauri that can be navigated in Evoke are expressed in Linguistic Linked Data, an interoperable data form that enables the extension of thesaurus content with custom labels and allows for the linking of thesaurus content to other digital resources. As such, Evoke is a powerful research tool that facilitates its users to perform novel cultural linguistic analyses over multiple sources. This article further demonstrates the potential of Evoke by discussing how A Thesaurus of Old English was made available in the application and how this has already been adopted in the field of Old English studies. Lastly, the author situates Evoke within a number of recent developments in the field of Digital Humanities and its applications for onomasiological research.
The use of Evoke and the Thesaurus of Old English (TOE) in the classroom at beginners’ level is not self-evident, since both are electronic tools designed to facilitate lexicological research for more advanced users. Nonetheless, there is an advantage in acquainting students with modern electronic tools allowing relevant, piecemeal investigations into the lexicon. This contribution focuses on the usage of Evoke in the classroom, suggesting the types of assignments that may be designed for this purpose and exploring further possibilities.
Ælfric of Eynsham (c.955×957–c.1010) is one of the most prominent authors of the Anglo-Saxon period. Despite this fact, there has not yet been an exhaustive study into his typical vocabulary. This article employs the Dictionary of Old English and prior scholarship in order to collect and categorise the lexis that is characteristic for his works. This vocabulary is then analysed using the web application Evoke together with A Thesaurus of Old English, which provides insights into the semantic domains that predominate in Ælfric’s vocabulary, as well as the degrees of ambiguity, synonymy and specificity of his typical lexis.
At the Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal (Dutch Language Institute), DiaMaNT, a diachronic semantic computational lexicon of Dutch, is being developed, based on the scholarly historical dictionaries of Dutch. The main purpose of this lexicon is to enhance text accessibility and foster research in the development of concepts. This article explores the feasibility of enriching DiaMaNT with an existing semantic classification by linking a subset of the vocabulary of the Dictionary of Old Dutch to A Thesaurus of Old English.
The topic of figurative language in Old English (OE) has recently become the focus of substantial research. In this article, the authors will describe work on the semantic description of the lexicon of shame words in OE and in particular the taxonomical organisation of this lexicon on the basis of different kinds of semantic mappings (metonymic, metaphorical). Next, they will explore the use of the Evoke platform as a means of visualising and navigating this lexicon and show how it can be used to enrich A Thesaurus of Old English (TOE). The authors also describe ongoing work on the modelling and publication of this data as a linked data resource consisting of a lexicon and a taxonomy in SKOS of different kinds of metaphoric/metonymic sense shifts.
This article discusses proof-of-concept research into the structure of the vocabularies of three Old English texts, Beowulf, Andreas and the Old English Martyrology. With the help of the Web application Evoke, which makes A Thesaurus of Old English (TOE) available in Linguistic Linked Data form, the words that occur in these three texts have been tagged within the existing onomasiological structure of TOE. This tagging process has resulted in prototypes of ‘textual thesauri’ for each of the three texts; such thesauri allow researchers to analyse the ‘onomasiological profile’ of a text, using the statistical tools that are built into Evoke. Since the same overarching structure has been used for all three texts, these texts can now be compared on an onomasiological level. As the article demonstrates, this comparative approach gives rise to novel research questions, as new and distinctive patterns of vocabulary use come to the surface. The semantic fields discussed include “War” and “Animals”.
The Thesaurus of Old English (TOE), first published in 1995, had its origins in a body of slips derived from standard dictionaries, principally the Clark Hall and Merritt Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary and the Bosworth-Toller volumes. These slips were made to supply the Glasgow Historical Thesaurus (HT) project (1965–2009) with a firmer idea of the range and totality of Old English vocabulary than available in the OED. In 1976 the decision was taken to deploy the Old English materials as a pilot thesaurus for the HT. With compilation of the slips completed in 1982, researchers were able to begin sorting the slips into groupings based on meaning and to see areas of the HT classification take shape in miniature. The TOE data, absorbed into the larger structure of its parent project, allow us to view English words that disappeared by 1150 alongside those that continued in use.