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Grammere = Grammar? Syntaxe = Syntax? Early Modern English = Present-day English?

TitleGrammere = Grammar? Syntaxe = Syntax? Early Modern English = Present-day English?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGonzález-Álvarez, D, Pérez-Guerra, J
JournalICAME Journal
Date Published04/2008

The aim of this paper is to explore grammatical variation between early Modern and Present-day English by means of computational devices. To that end, we compare the automatic output which the English Constraint Grammar Parser offers of an updated corpus of Renaissance texts and its corresponding modern version. In the first half of the paper we give information about the technical process; in particular, we focus on the description of the parser. The software parses every constituent and associates it with a tag which provides morphological information and dependency links (head-modifier/complement syntactic relations). It is also equipped with a disambiguation tool which reduces the number of the alternative morphosyntactic analyses of each lexical entry. The second half of the paper is devoted to the evaluation of the results obtained after the application of the parser to the Renaissance and the contemporary passages. Since the parser’s lexicon is designed to cope with only contemporary English, orthographic, lexical and morphological pre-edition has been necessary so that the parser can deal with (an adaptation of) the Renaissance source.
By examining the instances exhibiting either unjustified ambiguity or parsing failure we determine to what extent the morphosyntactic rules designed for Present-day English can be suitably applied to earlier stages of the language.