Session 82: Ystafell 10
Irish linguistics and lexicography

Chair: Llion Pryderi Roberts

An examination of Irish-language terminography in the twentieth century

Liam Mac Amhlaigh
Ollscoil Mhá Nuad (Maynooth)

The twentieth century saw a rapid growth in the publication of bilingual Irish-language dictionaries. The foundation of the State brought this impetus through from Revival times. Much of this growth occured in an ad-hoc manner, and was brought about by individual lexicographers be they working in 'private' or 'public' projects. Alongside these publications, lexicography blossomed in a far more expansive and structured way in the area of terminological dictionaries. 

This paper will take a cursory glance over the six time-periods of Modern-Irish terminography in the twentieth century, and will analyse the continuity and success of much of the State-sponsored work in the field. The connections back to the work that also occured on the larger State-led bilingual dictionary projects will also be referenced.

The evolution of the thought process behind term-creation will be examined, as will the necessity of the creation of the Standing Committee on Terminology and how these factors led to a far more cohesive publication of lexicographic material within this specialist area than any other. Finally, the suggestion of a specialist term 'an tearmfhoclóireacht' to describe this work within the languge will be mooted.





Corpas Stairiúil na Gaeilge 1600-1926: a new resource for research in Modern Irish

Charles Dillon
Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann (RIA)

Corpas Stairiúil na Gaeilge 1600-1926 ( is a new online digital resource for scholarship relating to the Irish language. The corpus comprises over 3000 Irish texts and a search tool allows searches of varying types (among which is a search returning forms based on a lemma or headword) across a corpus of nearly 20 million tokens. It will return KWIC results and further allows selection and reading from a database of Irish texts. This paper will discuss the main features of Corpas, and will expand on the technical and linguistic challenges which remain in developing its scope and capacity. This recent, significant lexicographical milestone will also be contextualised within the broader project ongoing in the Royal Irish Academy, which aims to produce a dictionary, on historical principles, of the Irish of the modern period.

Parsing the Old Irish verb: computational challenges and future applications

Theodorus Fransen
Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath

This paper presents computational approaches to historical Irish with the aim to facilitate a more systematic study of the diachronic changes in verb morphology. Due to the low-resourced status of Early Modern Irish (c. 13th-17th centuries) and the fact that state-of-the-art computational methods (Uí Dhonnchadha et al., 2014) are already being employed for 1600-2000 texts (Foclóir Stairiúil na Gaeilge) it was decided to focus on Old Irish (c.7th-9th centuries). Unlike Middle Irish (c.10th-12th centuries), Old Irish can be considered a comparatively stable and normative language phase (McCone 1997) and has received, and continues to receive, much (digital) scholarly attention (e.g., Chronologicon Hibernicum). The author will document the developmental stages of a rule-based morphological parser for Old Irish verbs, based on the finite-state two-level formalism (Koskenniemi 1983). The associated challenges will be discussed. An Early Irish lemmatiser (Dereza) is expected to successfully deal with grammatical and orthographical variation in Early Irish. A future goal is to link up lexicographical resources for Early and Modern Irish, not only benefitting historical linguists but also philologists working on historical texts representing widely diverging genres and linguistic norms.