Digital Grammar of Greek Documentary Papyri

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  • Marja Vierros


Taken from the project description (accessed 2019-04-24):

The Digital Grammar of Greek Documentary Papyri (PapyGreek) project fills a void in Greek scholarship: the papyrological corpus represents the post-Classical variety of Greek, a bridge between Classical and Medieval Greek, which has hitherto been difficult to use as a source for studying historical linguistics. The project will develop new digital methods for studying this fragmentary but vast text corpus. In the end, a new descriptive grammar of Greek papyri will answer such questions as how much bilingualism affected Greek in Egypt and which changes were on their way or already happened during the period of study.

The hypothesis of this project is that we can gain significantly more information on the development of Greek language by studying the linguistics variation present in the papyrological material if we can adjust the existing corpus so that it yields to computational linguistic methods. The papyri handled in the project will partly be treated as big data; the whole corpus will, e.g., be morphologically tagged in two layers, one representing the editorial standard language and the other the original, preserved text. This will enable e.g. phonological analyses to be performed in greater accuracy than has been possible before through eliminating the confusion between inflectional morphology and phonological variation. Hence, the digital grammar created during the project will bring the language used in the Greek papyri openly available to the scholarly community. It will include new, more exact analyses of the phonology and morphology of Greek in Egypt, as well as possibility to search both phonological and morphological forms, in combination or in separation, in the whole corpus. Our methodology on how to bring fragmentary corpus of an ancient language into a form that can be studied with several computer linguistic methods is expected to be of interest also to Greek epigraphists and also several other ancient language specialists.


Francesca Dell’Oro, Vanessa Gorman, Marja Vierros, Polina Yordanova (2020), "Using Treebanks", SunoikisisDC. [Available:]