Although I have co-authored a dictionary of Polish usage, that we (Ewa Geller and me) called Słownik stylistyczny języka polskiego (2007), here I want to introduce my two earlier papers on stylometry – delivering a small contribution to this scholarly discipline which was given name and established by Polish philosopher Wincenty Lutosławski in Principes de stylométrie (1890).

The papers – both in German, as was my dissertation Untersuchungen über die mittelniederländischen Abele Spelen: Herkunft – Stil – Motive (published 1990) represent the statistical aspect of the research made there. I developed a toolkit to internally differentiate a text corpus that was delivered in one copy preserved in one codex, but showing some differences regardless the unity of topic, genre and general ideas. The corpus consists of 10 secular drama texts of the 14th c. – 4 serious abele spelen, and 6 comic sotternien, together about 5 000 lines in rhyming couplets. Their language is Middle Dutch (its southern, Flemish branch).

That toolkit consisted of statistical tests measuring distribution of selected text-structural categories, and analyzing non-measurable features – parameters – by statistical devices. The essential difference between the two sorts of research objects in statistic approach is being focused on at the beginning of Lev Manovich’s  presentation of his new paper: The Meaning of Statistics and Digital Humanities

The digital versions of my both papers is online since three months (there was another reason for it, I wanted to demonstrate a decision-making cascade diagram of the categories of text structure to a group of co-workers with whom I worked on a scholarly project):

Distributionsanalyse und Parameterstatistik als Instrumente der Philologie, “Leuvense Bijdragen” 77:285-299.
Epoche, Gattung, individueller Wert. Zur empirischen Stilgeschichte des mittelniederländischen Dramas,  „Zagadnienia Rodzajów Literackich” 33, 1990: 27-53.

The triggering factor to post a blog entry about them was the news about a lecture in Antwerp, to be given by Dr Mike Kestemont  today, 20 Feb. 2013: Computation in style. Linguistic authorship attribution in historic and modern texts.

But my way to this info was not that simple, rather kind of “the other way around”, literally speaking. The reason is I’m actually not that active in the area of Dutch studies, having left it nolens volens more than 10 years ago and was not bothered by my former colleagues any more, except in some urgent cases when nobody else can write a review etc. So I would be not writing this if I were not involved in cooperation with professor Maciej Eder of Kraków, whom I invited to my planned project of finishing the critical edition of the Complete Works of Jan Kochanowski (see my  earlier post on this blog). Eder and Kestemont are both members of an association for computational linguistics and used to collaborate on some projects.

Has life to be that complicated?

This post’s icon is not just an illustration: it shows an ice-shape that has counted some of the fir-needles, countless as they are. Photo made some 12 hours ago, so the ice-shape has contributed to this post properly.


Informacje o Andrzej Dąbrówka

Tenured professor, Institute of Literary Research (Polish Academy of Sciences), Warsaw.
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2 odpowiedzi na „Style

  1. Gr8 picture.


  2. Gattungsstilistik
    Nachwuchsgruppe „Computergestützte literarische Gattungsstilistik”


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