BibleTech:2010 More Musings

The past two days have been a rush of presentations, technology, and Greek linguistics.  It was exciting to meet some new people with similar interests, reconnect with others, and finally connect faces with names on the internet. There was some exciting talk about collaboration in Greek linguistics work, especially in morphology and syntax – not to mention exciting work in computational Greek syntax and morphology!

The central highlights for me were:

  1. Josh Cason’s work in DATR was very, very cool. He’s take a program that essentially computationally simulates prototype theory for morphological analysis and has developed it to analyze Greek noun classes. Even before he ran the program I knew he had got it right. James and I were sitting beside each other and as soon as we saw the tree delineating the relationship between noun classes we both knew how he had arranged them. Datives plurals in σιν chunked together on one side and dative plurals in ις on the other – with further divisions based on the nominative and genitive cases – and fundamentally, you only need the nominative and genitive singular to know the rest of the paradigm. I’ve been imagining pairing what he’s done with a computational syntax parser and seeing what happens.
  2. Neil Rees’ work on bootstrapping concordances was mind blowing. Rick’s summary of it can give you the idea – why reinvent the wheel by writing another summary?
  3. James Tauber’s presentations on Greek language learning and computational linguistics got me a bit fired up for things I was already excited about. I’ve been working alone on Greek morphology for some time in FLEX and the idea of actually collaborating (beyond the annoyingly dead PHLEX Koine Greek list, where nobody’s actually interested in doing actually morphological analysis…) is awesome.

As Rick mentioned, we hung out quite a bit this weekend. That was great. We’ve been working on some projects together for the past year and it was nice to talk about more than just the LXX — though I always enjoy talking about the LXX. Rick was also kind enough to let me hitch a ride with him to Seattle for the flight and send a few hours at his home on Thursday evening through early Friday morning. We kept each other awake on the way there and on the way home.

And…last of all, HUGE thanks to the friend who made this trip possible. Your generosity has both made it possible to present a paper on Greek syntax databases, but probably more long term, created a number of connections with people that I anticipate will bring fruitful development and research in Greek grammar – research which will be beneficial for all Greek students in the long run.