12.0136 HUM sources? AD/CE? e-OED use?

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 20 Jul 1998 22:27:54 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 136.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Walter Maner <maner@cs.bgsu.edu> (16)

[2] From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> (59)
Subject: An ABC of AD/CE ?

[3] From: Vania Cascio <cascio@mbox.unict.it> (11)
Subject: Do you use the electronic OED as a research tool?

Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 07:19:41 +0100
From: Walter Maner <maner@cs.bgsu.edu>

Walter Maner wrote to me asking,

>I rely on the Hum concordance program for some of my research.
>Recently, we moved to a new machine, which means I need to recompile all
>the binaries. Problem is, I no longer have the source files. Do you
>know where I can find them? On the web, all I can find are the patch
>files and some documentation.


>Dr. Walter Maner | Computer Science Dept
>InterNet maner@cs.bgsu.edu | Bowling Green State U
>URL http://web.cs.bgsu.edu/maner | Bowling Green, OH 43403
>PGP http://web.cs.bgsu.edu/maner/maner.asc | +1 419 372 2337 Secretary
>Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. (Picasso)

Please post your replies directly to Dr. Maner as well as to Humanist.



Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 12:47:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca>
Subject: An ABC of AD/CE ?


I would like to add to Peter Burton's question about the placement of
the date indicator before or after a stated value coupled with your
questions about the lexical status of abbreviations, one further
consideration. It is an observation that needs to be verified. It
seems to me that the expression BCE (before the Christian era) has
gained more wide-spread usuage in the presentation of chrono markers
than CE. *pause*

The question of placement has a descriptive dimension: how did it come
to be that the inscriptions preserve the recorded syntax? were there
an competitors i.e. different positionings? can the call for placing
the abbreviation A.D. before be an artefact of English language usuage
"in the year of our Lord, ####"? if the latter is indeed the case then
is this a phenomenon similar to the graphic-phonemic-phonetic
transference found intralingually for example in the case of
Y<superscipt>e</superscript> which is an abbrevition for "the"?

At first glance, it would seem that an acronym that is pronounceable
has greater chance of being considered a lexical unit. However just
because the acronym is pronounceable does not make it memorable.
Consider the names of advocacy groups that produce their names through
the figure of the acrostic: CHUM -- Computing Humanists United in
Merriment. It seems that our quasi-fictional example would have to not
only endure as a social phenomenon but also extend its geographic
scope. Still, is a name a word? It may depend on function. The CHUM
Declartion of Rights and Responsibilities could take a name as an
adjective. The graphemic qualities are here important because there
may be purposeful overlap with the semantic field of other lexical
markers. Just when does the upper case drop? Consider CD and UFO. I
recall some activists struggling with the "screaming" typography of
AIDS which in some languages other than English could be reduced to
lower case e.g. "sida". Conversely the acronym PWA (Person With AIDS)
lead to some interesting connative suggestions when translated into
French (PAS: Personne atteinte du SIDA). In short, mnemonics are a
function of euphony and position vis a vis a semantic field. We are
getting close to the definition of a verbal artefact as a catastrophe
in the mathematical sense.

Enter the sigil. I could choose the hieorglyph-like inscription used
to designate the Artist-formerly-know-as-Prince but I have an example
more venerable in age than the name/sign of a popular music icon-idol.
Take the Roman letters X, A and P. Of course they can spell the
lexical unit "pax". However arranged in a specific pattern they form a
sigil with as possible referant The Prince of Peace. Now the word, I
would argue, is neither in the material (including electronic) sign
nor in the referant but is a function of the relations between them as
constantly mediated by a human speach community. The lexical unit
would be a special word that points to the relations of mediation and
their impact on the temporal and geographic extension of the
pre-lexical unit, on the judgements of euphnony (and/or typographic
grace) and on considerations of its appropriate position in a system's
semantic fields.

What is perhaps confusing here is that the pre-lexical unit does not
disappear from the horizon once a lexical entry is created. It is a
situation remniscent of the relation between encoded text and
pre-encoded text. What is not confusing is that the context-sensitive
mutable word whether dated by Julian and Gregorian and Mayan calendars,
existing in a year of thirteen moons, never travels alone. Sometimes
it is through multilingual scenes where Latin mingles with English and
the dying are given a new lease on life.

ex tempore in media res


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 12:57:22 +0200
From: Vania Cascio <cascio@mbox.unict.it>
Subject: Do you use the electronic OED as a research tool?

Hello everyone,

I am researching on the effectiveness of exploiting the electronic version
of the Oxford English Dictionary as a research tool(linguistic, historical,
sociological and so on).

Have you ever used it in your research? Do you know of colleagues who have
used it? What kind of investigation has been doing? To which end? What the
advantages? Can you suggest any reading on the topic?
Your contribution is very pleased and welcomed!!

thanks for your help...

Vania Cascio
University of Catania

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