News and Outreach

Workshop L’état de nécessité : perspectives écologiques, linguistiques et juridiques

The WoPoss team invites you to participate in the workshop Après-midi d’étude autour de l’état de nécessité : perspectives écologiques, linguistiques et juridiques organised by Jean-Jacques Aubert, Francesca Dell'Oro and Jean-Philippe Dunand. The workshop will take place on May 24th at 14h15 (room D59, Av. du 1er-mars 26).

The organisation of this event is funded by the Centre Interfacultaire d’Histoire du Droit et de Droit Romain (CIHDDR, University of Neuchâtel) ad the Swiss National Science Foundation.

You can read the complete program here.

Modality will be addressed in a course of the CUSO PhD Program

WoPoss’s principal investigator, Francesca Dell’Oro, together with Corine Rossari, both from the University of Neuchâtel, are the organisers of the course “Linguistique historique et linguistique de corpus : perspectives syntaxiques, sémantiques et pragmatiques avec un regard sur la modalité” offered as part of CUSO’s PhD Program in Language Sciences.

The goal of the course is to discuss how the methods in Historical Linguistics have been influenced by the advances in Corpus Linguistics through the presentation of different uses cases. The study of modality will be specifically addressed. The course will take place on the 18th and 19th of October, 2021, in Les Diablerets (Bernese Alps).

The Empiris Foundation funds corpus linguistics project focused on modality

The Empiris Foundation has recently announced the projects that will be supported through the Jakob Wüest funding call, and the project Les corpora latins et français : une fabrique pour l’accès à la représentation des connaissances (Latin and French corpora: a factory to access knowledge representation), led by Francesca Dell’Oro and Corine Rossari (both University of Neuchâtel) is among them. The keystone of the project is the creation of comparable corpora in Latin and French from which it will be possible to study the way in which knowledge is represented in both languages. Modality will receive a close examination, thus these corpora will contain analytical information concerning the grammatical and lexical features that codify the attitude of the speakers in relation to their utterances. The corpora will be published in a support that will enable systematic queries and statistical analyses.

The project has received a subsidy of 20,000 CHF. The team will consist of the directors of the project, Francesca Dell’Oro and Corinne Rossari, and two postdoctoral researchers, Helena Bermúdez Sabel and Cyrielle Montrichard. The starting date has not been announced yet.

Thrilling news for the WoPoss team: three abstracts accepted for DH2020 in Ottawa!

DH2020 carrefours/intersections

The members of the WoPoss team have three abstracts accepted in the annual conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) that is planned to take place in Ottawa from the 22nd to the 24th of July.

Francesca Dell’Oro will give an overview of our SNF-project in the short paper “WoPoss - A World of Possibilities. An open access annotated corpus to study the diachrony of modality in the Latin language”. Paola Marongiu will do a lighting talk presenting her PhD project which is being developed in the framework of the project: “Co-occurrence of modal markers: a network analysis approach”. Last but not least the complete team (H. Bermúdez Sabel, F. Dell’Oro & P. Marongiu) will discuss the visualization of semantic maps and its application to modality in Latin with the poster “Visualization of semantic shifts: the case of modal markers”.

The current situation is putting on hold many scientific events, but also showing the important of working with Open Data. Our team deeply believe in Open Science! On May 1st, ADHO and the DH2020 organizers will provide an update regarding the conference. We hope that the event can take place: the lively and in-depth discussions of previous editions have shown its importance for the development of the DH field and the reinforcement and expansion of its community.

Looking forward to seeing you in Ottawa!

Survey about words of fear

word cloud multilingual words of fear

We are currently working on an exposition concerning the words of fear, especially those that have taken a positive value throughout time. We have individuated for now three types of words:

  1. As in French formidable: etymologically related to the feeling of fear (Latin formidabilis ⇒ “inspiring fear, frightening, terrifying”), it is now mainly used with the meaning “great, fantastic”;
  2. As in English terrific: also etymologically related to fear (Latin terreo ⇒ “to terrorize”) it can now be used both with a positive (“amazing”) and a negative (“terrible”) meaning;
  3. As in French terriblement, German schrecklich, English awfully, adverbs etymologically related to fear and that can nowadays intensify an adjective in both a positive and a negative way.

We would like to enlarge the list as much as possible with words matching these three categories and coming from as many languages as possible. Do you happen to have any ideas and feel like you would like to contribute to our list? If so, please feel free to contact us:

WoPoss will participate on the second DARIAH-CH workshop


The University of Neuchâtel will hold in December the second DARIAH-CH workshop. The theme of this second edition is Sharing the Experience: Workflows for the Digital Humanities and Francesca Dell’Oro, Helena Bermúdez Sabel and Paola Marongiu will be there presenting a paper entitled “WoPoss: a Workflow for the Semantic Annotation of Modality in a Diachronic Corpus”.

Our abstract is already available, and please visit this link to see the complete program.