Abstracts for "Literary & Linguistic Computing"

Date:Fri, 2 Feb 1996 10:45:11 -0600
Subject: Abstracts for the next issue of "Literary & Linguistic Computing"

This post will be the first in a series: H-CLC has worked out an agreement with Oxford Univeristy Press that will allow us to preprint abstracts of forthcoming issues of "Literary & Linguistic Computing". The abstracts will also be available on the H-CLC www site ... as soon as we get that up and running. Information how to order LLC is at the end of this post.



Rhythm in prose and the serial correlation of sentence lengths: a Joyce Cary case study
by Alan Roberts, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Monash University, Australia

The study of rhythm in prose does not seem to have examined regularities over any span longer than the few syllables corresponding to a poetic foot. Here the question is posed: can we detect in prose works a tendency to vary sentence-length in a regular (periodic) way? As a case study, extracts from three Joyce Cary novels were chosen, each told in the first person, with the narrators distinctly different characters. The sequence of sentence-lengths in each was examined for any tendency to periodicity (called here a 'beat'), by calculating the serial ('auto'-) correlation coefficient for lags from one to five. To be confident that a discovered beat was unlikely to be a chance event, the largest coefficient found was compared with the largest given by a sample random in its order of sentences. Each of the 100 'texts' in the latter was formed by randomly shuffling the sentences of the original text into a new order, and then calculating its correlation coefficients. The usual serial coefficient was found, and also a 'mean-side' coefficient which, though it discards most of the information in the text's sentence-length distribution, proved more sensitive. The results showed a definite tendency to beats, the length of a sentence correlating with that of the sentence four before (two texts) or three before (one text). With the question about detectable periodicity thus answered, other questions arise-for example, whether this is characteristic of Cary, or of an entire sub-culture, or -? One could of course extend the study of periodicity by looking for regularities in the appearance of other features of literary style, opening up the (highly speculative) possibility that something like an author's 'characteristic spectrum' might emerge.

Automatic Analysis of the Canon in Middle Indo-Aryan by Personal Computer II
by Y Ousaka and M Yamazaki
Sendai National College of Technology, Sendai, Japan

Middle Indo-Aryan as well as in classical Sanskrit are classified into the following three groups according to the peculiarities of the metrical schemes: Akaracchandas, Mtrchandas and Gaacchandas. With the use of a metrical analysis program coded by 'Think Pascal' on Macintosh personal computers, we have exhaustively investigated all these important metres: the loka and the modified loka metres which both belong to the Akaracchandas; the Triubh and Jagat which belong to the Akaracchandas; the Vaitlya and Aupacchandasaka which belong to the Mtrchandas, and the ry and Old ry which belong to Gaacchandas. On the basis of the calculated results, we developed linguistic discussions for the most important Jainist canon, the Uttarajjhy.

Marlowe's Hand in Edward III Revisited
by Thomas Merriam, Basingstoke, UK

Multivariate analysis applied to data previously published in an article in this journal, condenses and confirms its conclusions. This endorses the view that there are two scenes written by Christopher Marlowe in the anonymous play Edward III. An extension of the application confirms the scholarly consensus that Shakespeare was responsible for Act II. The remainder of the play would appear not to be as Shakespearean as the canonical plays.

A Computer-aided Quest for Allusions to Biblical Text within Lyric Poetry
by Susanne Bucher-Gillmayr, Institute for Old Testament Studies, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Intertextual relations between biblical texts and any form of literature is a widespread and often considered phenomenon. The significance as well as the intensity of those relations varies, not only according to the amount of references but even more so depending on the criteria considered to establish such a reference. As the marks that point out such a relation may occur in multifarious forms, the primary decision of a textual analysis focusing on intertextual references concerns the level of comparison as well as the single elements and their possible combinations on the chosen level. This paper focuses on the level of words and points out the possible references between biblical texts and lyric poetry that may be discovered on this level of analysis. One hundred and ten poems are compared with the biblical texts of the New Testament and it will be shown how a careful tagging of the texts allows complex searches that lead to results enabling the interpreter to read and understand the poems in new ways.

The Metrometer: A Tool for Analysing French Verse
by Valerie Beaudouin, Credoc and Echess, France, and Francois Yvon, Telecom Paris, France

In this article, we present the 'metrometer', a computing tool, capable of identifying, in any kind of French text input, metrical components, that is syllables. The choice of the syllable is very natural: French poetry is known to be mainly syllabic. More specifically, our software performs a complete transcription of the input into the corresponding sequence of phonemes, using a transcribing module consistent with the specific phonology of classical poetry, which allows the marking and counting of metrical syllables. Our system outputs as well with a series of useful markers (syntactic tags, word boundaries, etc.).
This tool has been developed and tested on a corpus containing all P. Corneille's and J. Racine's plays, totaling about 80,000 verses, and has proved to be almost error free on these data. The metrometer shall provide a very effective tool to tackle the study of rhythm in French poetry with quantitative methods.

The full text of the articles to which these abstracts refer will be published in Literary & Linguistic Computing, Vol 11, No 1, which is due to be published in April 1996. If you would like further details about the journal, including details of subscription rates, please contact:-

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Journals Marketing (H-CLC)
Oxford University Press
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Oxford OX2 6DP

Tel: +44 (0)1865 56767
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