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A world of possibilities. Modal pathways on the extra-long period: the diachrony of modality in the Latin language

English title A world of possibilities. Modal pathways on the extra-long period: the diachrony of modality in the Latin language
Applicant Dell'Oro Francesca
Number 176778
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Institut des sciences du langage et de la communication Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Other languages and literature
Start/End 01.02.2019 - 31.01.2023
Approved amount 1'233'782.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other languages and literature
Ancient history and Classical studies

Keywords (10)

Latin language; Diachrony ; Digital Humanities; Lexical markers ; Modal pathways; Corpus-based approach; Literary sources ; Documentary sources ; Modality; Historical linguistics

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
En linguistique la modalité exprime l'attitude d'un locuteur à l’égard du contenu d'une proposition. Certains contenus peuvent être présentés comme une possibilité (Pour aller à la gare, tu peux prendre le bus 66) ou comme une nécessité (Pour aller à la gare, il faut que tu prennes le bus 66) génériques. D'autres contenus peuvent être présentés comme des nécessités morales (Il faut que tu termines tes devoirs avant d'aller jouer). Le contenu d'une proposition peut aussi être présenté comme plus ou moins probable (Marc doit être déjà rentré chez lui. Je ne vois plus son vélo). "Pouvoir", "falloir", "devoir" sont des marqueurs modaux lexicaux. Le but principal du projet de recherche "A World of Possibility" est de reconstruire l'histoire des marqueurs modaux lexicaux de la langue latine.
Lay summary

Les études sur la diachronie de la modalité se sont concentrées en particulier sur la langue anglaise et ses auxiliaires verbaux (must, shall, etc.) À travers mon projet sur l'évolution de la modalité dans la langue latine je veux non seulement offrir un deuxième point de référence, mais aussi élargir l'étude aux autres parties du discours : les substantifs, les adjectifs et les adverbes.

Dans une première phase, l'équipe analysera les passages modaux repérés dans un corpus de textes latins datant du 3ème siècle av. n.-è. jusqu'au 7ème siècle. Non seulement les sources littéraires, mais aussi les sources documentaires (inscriptions, papyrus) seront prises en considération. Ensuite, tous les passages modaux seront décrits grâce à des schémas d'annotation en langage XML-TEI spécifiquement élaborés pour cette tâche par l'équipe. Ces passages avec leur description alimenteront une base de données qui sera mise en ligne en libre accès. Enfin, l'ensemble du matériel analysé permettra à l'équipe de reconstruire l'évolution des marqueurs modaux et de leurs emplois à travers les siècles. Ces résultats seront utiles pour tester les théories courantes autour de la diachronie de la modalité et les affiner ou corriger. Les résultats du projet seront diffusés à travers des publications (base de données, monographies, articles, etc.), mais aussi à travers un colloque autour de la modalité dans une perspective interdisciplinaire qui se déroulera parallèlement à une exposition conçue pour un public plus large. 

Le projet de recherche soulève un questionnement, à savoir l'évolution des marqueurs modaux, qui est d'intérêt pour la recherche en linguistique au-delà du cas spécifique du latin. Il offrira donc un modèle pour l'analyse diachronique d'autres langues, anciennes comme modernes. Aussi les schémas d'annotations seront élaborés de manière à pouvoir s'adapter à d'autres langues. En ce qui concerne plus spécifiquement la langue latine, le projet, grâce à sa perspective élargie sur la modalité, comblera une lacune dans l'étude de cette langue et constituera un point de départ incontournable pour l'étude de la transition du latin aux langues romanes.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.11.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Diachronic modal semantic maps 1.0
Marongiu Paola, Dell'Oro Francesca (2021), Diachronic modal semantic maps 1.0, WoPoss, Site Web WoPoss.
Implemented to Be Shared: the WoPoss Annotation of Semantic Modality in a Latin Diachronic Corpus
Dell'OroFrancesca, Bermúdez SabelHelena, Marongiu Paola (2020), Implemented to Be Shared: the WoPoss Annotation of Semantic Modality in a Latin Diachronic Corpus, DARIAH-CAMPUS, DARIAH-CAMPUS, 9.
L’expression de la modalité par des adjectifs: une comparaison entre l’adjectif grec ancien en -ιμος et l’adjectif latin en -bilis
Dell'OroFrancesca (2020), L’expression de la modalité par des adjectifs: une comparaison entre l’adjectif grec ancien en -ιμος et l’adjectif latin en -bilis, in ACME , 72 (2019)(2), 193-209.
WoPoss guidelines for annotation
Dell'OroFrancesca (2019), WoPoss guidelines for annotation, Zenodo, Zenodo.
Digital tools for semantic annotation: the WoPoss use case
Bermúdez Sabel Helena, Digital tools for semantic annotation: the WoPoss use case, in Bulletin de linguistique et des sciences du langage, 30.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Vera Duerrschnabel / Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies - Moscow Russia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Corinne Rossari / Institut des Sciences du langage et de la communication - Université de Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Jan Nuyts / University of Antwerp Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Marco Passarotti / ERC project LiLa - Università Cattolica - Milano Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Ayako Manin / University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Barbara McGillivray / University of Cambridge & The Alan Turing Institute Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Paola Pietrandrea / STL Savoirs, Textes, Langage - Université de Lille France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Sunoikisis Digital Classics, Fall 2020 Session 7. Using Treebanks Individual talk Automatic annotation of Latin and Greek texts: lemmatisation, morphological analysis and dependency parsing 19.11.2020 ONLINE, Germany Dell'Oro Francesca; Marongiu Paola; Bermúdez Sabel Helena;
11e Journée de Linguistique Suisse Talk given at a conference Create your own interactive diachronic semantic maps: a flexible and user-friendly open-source tool for historical linguistics 06.11.2020 Fribourg (ONLINE), Switzerland Bermúdez Sabel Helena; Dell'Oro Francesca;
11e Journée de Linguistique Suisse Talk given at a conference L’étude de la modalité dans un corpus diachronique en latin : théorie de la modalité, annotation linguistique et partage des données 06.11.2020 Fribourg (ONLINE), Switzerland Dell'Oro Francesca; Bermúdez Sabel Helena;
DH 2020 Talk given at a conference Co-occurrence of modal markers: a network analysis approach 20.07.2020 Ottawa (ONLINE), Canada Marongiu Paola;
DH2020 Talk given at a conference WoPoss – A World of Possibilities. An open access annotated corpus to study the diachrony of modality in the Latin language 20.07.2020 Ottawa (ONLINE), Canada Dell'Oro Francesca;
DH 2020 Poster Visualisation of semantic shifts: the case of modal markers 20.07.2020 Ottawa (ONLINE), Canada Bermúdez Sabel Helena; Marongiu Paola; Dell'Oro Francesca;
Modality and written corpora Talk given at a conference Polysemy and modality across time 17.12.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Dell'Oro Francesca;
Modality and written corpora Talk given at a conference The WoPoss annotation makers in Latin 17.12.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Dell'Oro Francesca;
I processi di derivazione tra linguistica indoeuropea e linguistica generale. Giornata di studio e approfondimento Individual talk Due suffissi derivazionali modali : greco antico -ιμος e latino -bilis 17.06.2019 Milan, Italy Dell'Oro Francesca;
La modalité : de la théorie à l’encodage / Modality : from theory to encoding Talk given at a conference The modal domain from the perspective of Latin adjectives in -bilis in synchrony and diachrony: from a theoretical model to annotation 06.05.2019 Lausanne, Switzerland Dell'Oro Francesca;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop on modality and written corpora. 17.12.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Awards

Title Year
Associate Fellow in Greek Dialectology and Linguistic Theory (Modality) Center for Hellenic Studies - Harvard University 2020

Use-inspired outputs

Abstract

There has been much lively discussion about the diachrony of modality since the 1980s (Ziegeler 2016). The investigation conducted on modal verbs in the Germanic languages, especially English, has shown beyond any doubt that languages with a good amount of available written history are fundamental in reconstructing the diachronic pathways of modality and support the panchronic approach adopted for less well-documented or less studied languages (e.g. Bybee - Perkins - Pagliuca 1994). Nevertheless, diachronic research needs to open to other lexical markers (cf. Van linden 2012 for English modal adjectives) as well as to other possible benchmarks of comparison by taking advantage of well-documented languages. The main aim of my project is to perform the first large-scope analysis of modalisation paths in Latin, a language whose documented history spans over many centuries and offers a wide-ranging variety of written sources. In contrast with mainstream research on lexical markers expressing modality, my project focuses not only on verbs (e.g. possum ‘have power, be able’) but also on adjectives (e.g. the adjectives in -bilis), nouns (e.g. necessitas ‘unavoidableness’) and adverbs (e.g. sentence adverbs such as quidem ‘undoubtedly’) offering a comprehensive approach to the Latin lexical modal system. Since the diachronic study of lexical modality is an emerging field of contemporary linguistic research, the absence of monograph-length studies on the evolution of the Latin lexical modal system and the inadequacy of most Latin dictionaries in tracing the polysemy of modal forms are by no way surprising. The only feasible way to reconstruct modal pathways and concurrence mechanisms among modal forms in the history of Latin is therefore to adopt a corpus-based approach. In order to gain a broad overview of the evolution of modality based on a thorough description of modal readings and uses at the synchronic level, a corpus of texts chosen according to sociolinguistic criteria is mandatory. The relevant passages will be analysed and then annotated using the XML-TEI language: dedicated annotation schemes will be developed. Teamwork will allow not only the collection of a valuable amount of data, but also the interaction of interdisciplinary competences. The ideal team is composed of a principal investigator with the function of coordinator, a doctoral student in Latin linguistics and an expert in Computational Linguistics at post-doctoral level. Our main tasks will be the analysis and annotation of the corpus as well as the dissemination and updating of data and results through an online database. This effort will make a huge amount of data on lexical modal markers and their uses manageable. We will glean first-hand material from this data for collaborative and/or personal research. The last year of the grant will focus on the preparation of a cutting-edge monograph, opening new perspectives for describing and explaining the diachronic paths of modality. The PhD candidate will present his/her thesis. The online database, working on annotation schemes elaborated to guarantee maximum interoperability, will permit discussion at international level with teams working on modality in other languages. It will be released as an open access resource by the end of the project. In the investigation of pre-modal and post-modal meanings, Indo-Europeanists and Romance linguists will be privileged interlocutors. The results will be also disseminated through a two-fold event: a convention and an exhibition. On the one hand, through the exhibition, linguists, literature specialists of various languages, philosophers and cognitive scientists will present the views of their discipline on modality and possible worlds in an interdisciplinary frame to a non-scientific public. On the other hand, the team will have the possibility to present and discuss its achievements to the scientific community through a conference. Once completed, this project will therefore offer a model for analysing the diachrony of modality in other languages.
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