Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The AB Dialect: A Computer Concordance

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The AB Dialect: A Computer Concordance

Article excerpt

The AB Dialect: A Computer Concordance, ed. George Hastings (Albany, New York: The University at Albany, 1997). Three PC diskettes plus explanatory booklet, ii + 25 pp.

The contents of this package represent materials also downloadable to subscribers to the Wordcruncher website (www.wordcruncher.com): subscription currently costs $19.95 a year, the AB material being freeware. Macintosh users will note, however, that neither the disks nor the website provide software that will run on their machines. For PC owners, subscription to the website may represent the more attractive option. At any rate, as far as the diskette package sent to this reviewer goes, there are immediate problems with the installation instructions. When installing into DOS, that is, one needs to create a separate directory 'abetcz' in which to put the contents of disks 'AB1' and 'AB2' (the text and subsidiary material). The instruction booklet, on the other hand, implies these files should be put in a 'wcs' directory along with the Wordcruncher software, something which only results in unlocatable text.

Regarding the software itself, note that the concordance program Wordcruncher (though not designed specifically for the present purpose) allows useful manipulation of the data, including simple and more complex search types involving the combination of lexemes in logical expressions ('or', 'and', `andor', `but not). Lexical tagging is however not, unfortunately, a feature of the program, and so one is obliged to seek for each inflexional form and orthographic variant under a separate head.

For the present concordance, the full 'AB Language' corpus, taken literally to comprise the unemended contents of MSS CCCC. …

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