System on the complete works

Alberto Acquaro's studio

Guided tour of the system

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( Throughout the text for the Visit, click on the phrases in this colour to see the relative FIGURES )


The role of the Author in writing the Chapters mentioned so far, apart from the production of software and data-files, was to carefully collect and choose data from various sources of literature. But we'd like to make it quite clear that he is fully responsible for the paternity of the Chapter on Statistics. The Chapter contains the results of a series of experiments and aims above all to demonstrate how resorting to Statistics and Electronic elaboration in the literary field can no longer be considered as a daring and original approach - on the contrary it is should become a regular technique. And this may well be one of several signs of the cultural revolution in act.

Start at the Home-page (Figure 1) and click on the "STATISTICAL PROCESSING" command, which will display the video-page in Figure 18.

See Figure 18 - Video-page for visiting the Dictionary.

Here we shall briefly comment on the first two searches (REPETITIONS and VERSE CONFIGURATIONS in the Comedy), then we shall look at the "FREQUENCY SURVEY" function and finally treat the "A STUDY on samples of SONNETS" feature more in depth (last page). This latter search, aimed at contributing to the thorny problem of whether Dante wrote "Il Fiore", deserves far more space.
The fifth function ("STUDY on EVOLUTION of ENGLISH Language"), like the other four languages in "DANTE 2000", is in preparation. These studies will use the new "PATERTEST" statistical tool, which has given excellent results for in "A STUDY on samples of SONNETS".

  • In the "String/Word Search" (see Figure 12), we looked for the occurrences of fixed character sequences, but here "REPETITIONS in the COMEDY" means all the repetitions occurring in the Poem. The User can search for these sorts of repetitions in a generic group of tercets as long as they are from the same Canto. The size of the group can be fixed between 1 and the number of tercets in the Canto. Once the size ( L ) has been fixed, the System will perform as many search "steps" as the Canto allows. For example:
    for L=2:      1° step > tercets 1 and 2   ;   2° step > tercets 2 and 3, etc.
    On completion of the generic search step, the System will STOP and display the Repetitions it has found and the relative number of occurrences. On the explicit request of a repeated string, it will highlight the repeated string in the text.
    We asked for an elaboration of all the Cantos and have recorded the results in summary as diagrams. The User can look at these results by clicking on the "RESULTS of Search for the entire COMEDY". We advise you to read the short explanations on how to interpret the diagrams.

  • In the "COMEDY VERSES CONFIGURATIONS" we used a technique typical of informatics, aimed at evaluating the degree of similarity between two strings of characters, in this case of two lines. We have considered all the possible pairs of lines in the Comedy and finally we recorded all the interesting cases.

  • Here we propose a simple example of one application of the "FREQUENCY SURVEY" function. Still on the page in Figure 18, click on this command. After the sequence of commands displayed, the page for the Frequency Survey will come up as shown in Figure 19.

    See Figure 19 - Video-page dedicated to the Frequency Survey, after setting the proposed search.

    This statistical observation tool was inspired by an idea we had been cultivating for some time, i.e. to begin a statistical search as an important contribution to the debate on whether Dante wrote "Il Fiore" or not. After the addition of the Coevel Authors Archive (see Figure 1) to the system, the study took an unforeseen turn and was concluded in an unexpectedly short time, and, in our opinion, in a totally satisfactory way (see last page). This tool is still extremely useful - besides one aspect we shall describe shortly, it permits a 'Concordance on the complete works of Dante'.
    The Frequency Survey option allows setting the search for either a single word or a string of characters. The definition of the search field offers the following choices:
    • The entire work ( just click on it ) ;
    • Specification of a part, at the level of Treatise / Book ;
    • Further specialisation, at the level of Chapter / Single components in lines ;
    • Condition for attribution - set by clicking on one of the following: "NO" for no conditions / "By DANTE" / "NOT by DANTE" / "DOUBTFULL attribution" ) ;
    • Condition for type of components (in the case of poetry) - set by clicking on one of the following ( "NO" for no conditions / "Songs" / "Sonnets" / "Ballads".
    To start a simple example of a search as illustrated in Figure 19, type 'Guinizzelli' in the blank space and then click on the work 'DE VULGARI ELOQUENTIA' and type '1' in the blank space for any further specification of the book. Obviously, if no Chapter is specified, the System understands that the search must involve the whole of Book 1.
    At this point the "GO" command will appear; the search will start as soon as it is clicked. When the search is complete, the system will display the Absolute Frequency ('2') (number of occurrences), followed by the number of Chapters considered, and the Relative Frequency (ratio between the number of occurrences and the number of words tested) multiplied by one thousand ('0.34') (condition in Figure 19).
    Now click on Absolute Frequency - this will display a list of the Chapters where the occurrences were found (VE I ix and VE I xv) ; click again on the first element in the list to display a box with the text of Chapter IX, where the only relevant occurrence is highlighted in red and underlined.
    The above commands in sequence will take you from the situation in the video-page in Figure 19 to the new situation in Figure 20.

    See Figure 20 - Video-page dedicated to the Frequency Survey, in the step for displaying results of the proposed search.

    The result of the search shown in Figure 20 can be saved in the "Notes Page" by clicking on the Relative Frequency value ('0.34'). The Notes Page, which can be called up using the "NOTES" command, lets you memorise a certain number of searches and view them together later, so that you can compare the results at leasure.

    We'll end this session with a couple of observations on the above functions. Calculating Relative Frequencies only makes sense in the case of a word search, it is generally senseless in the case of a string search. Finally, note that we did not call the search tool "Concordance" on purpose, because we are waiting to introduce the process of "lemmatisation" (a highly challeging level of automation). Once this process is available, the User will be able to search not only by words, but by Lemmas too with all the grammatical forms that this implies.

    See Figure 28 - Video-page dedicated to the Comnedy Concordance.

    Until the Concordance of the "Complete Works" of Dante is ready with "automatic lemmatisation" we have provided a Comedy Concordance (see the function in Figure 18). This function allows searching by Headwords.
    The list on the left gives all the Words in the Comedy in alphabetical order. On the right is the list of the Categories, e.g. grammatical terms etc. Each Word in the Comedy is thus linked to one or more of these categories. Please note that the links do not consider all the possible "uses" of a word in Italian but only "within the ambit of the Comedy".
    Clicking on a generic "Word" in the Comedy will show a list of all the Word forms that derive from the headword in the adjacent list to the right, highlighting the word called. Above this list is indicated the "headword/s" in question, with a short description, where appropriate, and the categories involved. Below are the occurrences, or the number of times the "Word" appears in the three Cantos. Clicking on the "occurrences" gives the tercets and on request the Canto to which they belong. Similar result can be obtained by using the "Category Selection" and clicking on a "word" in the chosen Category. Finally, let's see how our user-friendly Concordance, that can be enjoyed at all user-levels, is a highly precious instrument for experts and professionals.


  Guided  Tour      page 8

  Guided  Tour      page 8

  Guided  Tour      page 8

  Guided  Tour      page 8

  Guided  Tour      page 8

  Guided  Tour      page 8


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