UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


From Busa to Word Formation. Working on language resources for Latin in Milan

08 March 2017, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

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UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Gower Street
United Kingdom

CIRCSE is a pluri- and interdisciplinary research centre at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan, Italy). The main research interests of the centre are in the field of natural language processing and information extraction from written language texts in electronic form. Originally founded by padre Roberto Busa, pioneer of computational linguistics on Latin textual material, the centre now hosts the Index Thomisticus Treebank, and other resources connected to it, and the morphological analyser and lemmatiser LEMLAT, together with its brand-new spin-off, the Word Formation Latin (WFL) lexicon.

Word Formation Latin is a derivational morphology resource for Latin that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 658332-WFL. The contents of WFL are lexical items (lemmas) related on the basis of word formation rules (WFRs). For example, lemmas amo ('to love) and amator ('lover') are connected by a relationship that describes a change from a verb to a noun through the addition of a suffix that in itself bears semantic information: agent and instrumental suffix -tor.

The seminar will give a brief tour of what goes on in Milan before looking in more detail at how derivational morphology information can be crucial for the enrichment of NLP resources for Latin, how the WFL lexicon came to be, what it looks like, and how scholars and enthusiasts of Latin can use it for their research.

All welcome and there will be drinks and discussion after the talk. Please note that registration is required.


Eleonora Litta has an MA in Medieval Studies from University College London, and a PhD in Classics and Latin Philology at King's College London. Her interests lie especially in historical linguistics, Classics and Germanic Philology, with special emphasis on the development of digital language resources, text analysis, corpus linguistics and computational linguistics. She worked for seven years as a lead analyst at the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, before being awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research fellowship to develop a new digital resource for Latin, at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy.