Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures lecture


Monday, March 30, 2020, 3:00pm to 4:00pm


The Kates Room, Warren House, 12 Quincy Street

David Stifter (Maynooth University), Statistical Modelling of Old Irish Language Variation and Change. CANCELLED

Since 2015, I, together with a team of excellent postdoctoral researchers, have been conducting ground-breaking research on language variation and change during the ‘long’ Old Irish period (c. 600‒950) in the project ‘Chronologicon Hibernicum (ChronHib) ‒ A Probabilistic Chronological Framework for Dating Early Irish Language Developments and Literature’, funded by the European Research Council (Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement #647351). One of the major results of ChronHib will be the deeply annotated database Corpus PalaeoHibernicum (CorPH) that contains the text of most of the contem­porary Old Irish sources, plus a number of other central Old Irish texts, such as the Annals of Ulster, the Poems of Blathmac, or the Monastery of Tallaght. In this talk, I will introduce you to the work ofChronHib and to CorPH, and I will show examples of how new statistical methods, applied to the grammatical and variational annotation inCorPH, can be used to help us understand the transition from the Old Irish language into Middle Irish. The statistical techniques that we are developing are based on Bayesian statistics, which has advantages over traditional methods, especially in view of the often small samples that the limited historical corpus of Old Irish provides.