Computer-Assisted Language Comparison: Algorithms, Interfaces, Methods, and Software

Official Website Accompanying the Lecture



Introduction to the Seminar Website

What this Website is Supposed to Do

This website should provide orientation to the participants of the lecture on computer-assisted language comparison held at the institute for Anglistics and Americanistics at the FSU Jena. It also offers certain documents which cannot be openly shared and are therefore password protected.

Our GitHub Repository

The lecture is also accompanied by a GitHub Repository at We will use this repository for open discussions (using GitHub's issue feature) and in cases of questions by the participants that are best answered openly, so that we do not need to pose them multiple times. When, for example, running into installation problems, this is not an issue to be addressed to the lectors by writing an email, but should rather be discussed by all seminar participants by posting it as a GitHub issue.

Structure of the Lectures

The sessions will be structured in a rather free form. Each session is accompanied by a so-called Jupyter Notebook. These allow to follow tutorials both by inspecting the static code, but also interactively, provided one has installed the notebook software available from the Jupyter project. Each "handout" we provide is in fact a notebook, and it can both be read in form of printed paper or an electronic version of it, or studied interactively. Information on how to install Jupyter notebooks will be provided during the second session of the seminar.

We may occasionally, but not necessarily always, start with a theoretical background before looking at the coding examples. Having grasped the tasks at hand theoretically may be quite important. Since we do not yet know to which degree our course members are proficient in the basic topics of historical linguistics, we encourage all members of the seminar to raise questions in case some terminology we use is opaque or unknown to them.

We do not give any homework, nor do we plan on providiging too many tasks during the seminar. Instead we encourage all participants to either follow the notebooks directly during the sessions when we introduce them, or to test them at home. We may occasionally ask participants to solve some exercises, but we do not necessarily prepare exercises for all sessions. We encourage all participants to contact us inbetween the different sessions with their individual questions they may have.

We offer, in addition, that participants present data-driven projects they are working on during our seminar, where they describe the problems they have to solve, and all participants as well as the seminar leaders try to discuss whether simple solutions can be found with the tools available for us.