Exploring the linguistic landscape of Fryslân with LED-A

Activiteit: Toespraak of presentatieAcademisch


In order to explore a dialect landscape and to reveal spatial patterns dialectologists may measure linguistic distances among local dialects. Kessler (1995) found the Levenshtein distance very suitable for measuring linguistic distances among Irish Gaelic dialects using phonetic transcriptions. Other scholars followed him by applying the method to dialects from other language families. The Levenshtein distance is a numerical value of the cost of the least expensive set of insertions, deletions or substitutions that would be needed to transform one string into another (Kruskal 1999).

In this paper we measure Levenshtein distances among language and dialect varieties in the province of Fryslân which include Frisian varieties, Frisian-Dutch contact varieties and Low Saxon varieties. We will show how these distances can easily be calculated and visualized with LED-A. Multiple variants of the Levenshtein distance are available in LED-A. We will especially focus on PMI Levenshtein, which learns segment distances based on the alignments that are generated by the algorithm (see Wieling et al. 2009, Wieling 2012). Both aggregated and individual word distances can be obtained on the basis of whole words or only on the basis of vowel or consonant substitutions or insertions/deletions.

Visalization techniques include cluster analysis, multidimensional scaling, area maps and so called RGB maps in which each variety is assigned a unique color based on the results of multidimensional scaling.
Periode15 sep. 2022
EvenementstitelResilience in Frisian Humanities: 2nd Conference on Frisian Humanities
OrganisatorenFryske Akademy (FA), NHL Stenden Leeuwarden, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân
LocatieLeeuwarden, Nederland
Mate van erkenningInternationaal