WordHoard basics

This Wednesday, in TFDL 440A, is the first of five scheduled workshops on text-analysis tools in English 203. I’ll be joined by two research assistants for the course, Sarah Hill and Sarah Hertz.

We have a few goals for the workshop. After you finish reading this post, click on the 5 links in this numbered list for answers to these questions, and our required readings for Wednesday.

  1. Introducing text analysis. What is it? Why do it? How does it allow us to navigate and represent a text in new ways? How do those interfaces and images provoke new questions? And how is text analysis a tool for answering questions we already have?
  2. Introducing WordHoard. What is it? How do I use it?
  3. Doing things with WordHoard. How do I search for individual words in Shakespeare’s texts? How do I compare word-frequencies in Hamlet to Shakespeare’s complete works?

Finally, here’s a highly recommended but not required introduction to text analysis by Geoffrey Rockwell — author of reading #1 above.

You also need to know the meanings of three terms before you start reading:

  • A lemma is “the base form of a verb or the singular of a noun.” So the lemma of ‘loves’, ‘loveth’, ‘loving’, and ‘loved’ is love. Another way of thinking of it is the dictionary word you would look for if you needed the definition of ‘loving.’
  • Morphology is the study of morphemes, or the different forms of a word: ‘loves’, ‘loveth’, ‘loving’, and ‘loved.’ More precisely, it studies patterns in these formations.
  • Orthography is the study of spelling (mostly); it recognizes that ‘lovynge’ and ‘loving’ are the same word (or — using our newly-learned terms — the same morpheme of the lemma ‘love’).
You will now need to download and install WordHoard on the computer you are bringing to class on Wednesday. (Our other four tools are web-based.) See the section titled “How to Run the Program” in their Getting Started guide. The program runs on both Windows and Mac.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *