Romanian Online Dialect Atlas
An experimental presentation of linguistic information
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The Romanian Online Dialect Atlas project proposes applying innovative contemporary methods in dialect geography to an online set of Romanian dialect data.

In part one, we create a computerized version of an existing dialect atlas (The New Romanian Linguistic Atlas. Crisana; see Stan & Uritescu. 1996, ms.). The "Romanian Online Dialect Atlas" will be available on the internet, and it will provide a new interface to the data that allows users to dynamically select and portray aspects of the data, as they choose.

We also plan to add audio clips to the online atlas, illustrating the dialect features of Romanian. The data will be available, without charge, for researchers to use on a wide variety of projects.

In part two of our project, we develop one such use of the data: we apply an advanced statistical technique, called multi-dimensional scaling (MDS), to consolidate large amounts of data into a consistent and comprehensible view (following the earlier successful work of Embleton 1987, 1993; Embleton & Wheeler 1994, 1997a).

Whereas dialect geography has traditionally been able to analyze and present only small amounts of data at one time, with the online data sets, and multidimensional scaling, we (and others) will be able to make interesting and revealing analyses of the complete data set.

Furthermore, the data will be more widely accessible because the user can dynamically select what data to view (for example, phonetic data, or morphological and syntactic data, or even a customized selection of individual items devised by the viewer), and can view it on the internet.

We expect the project not only to contribute to the study of Romanian dialects, and to the advancement of methods in dialect geography, but also to illustrate how information processing tools and methods can provide new approaches to the humanities and social sciences in general.

We are grateful for the help of many people, including our Research Assistants:

In Romania:
Dorina Chiş, Flavia Ancuţa, Valeriu Dorin Chiş, Alin Galaţan, Ozana Străuţ
In Canada:
Lăcrămioara Oprea, Diana Stoica

Our project has been supported with grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


2001, 2007 Eric S. Wheeler   Project page