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April 11, 2017

Public Lecture “Linguistic Corpora of Russian and Italian Languages”

Public Lecture “Linguistic Corpora of Russian and Italian Languages”

A corpus is a collection of digitized texts analyzed by a search program.


Karazin University has held the public lecture given by Anna Paola Bonola, a full professor of Slavic Studies of the School of Foreign Languages and Literature of the Catholic University (Milan, Italy), and Maurizia Calusio, an associate professor of Russian Literature of the School of Foreign Languages and Literature of the Catholic University. The organizers of the event were the Ukrainian-Italian Academic Center, the Department of Romance Philology and Translation of the School of Foreign Languages and the School of Philology of Karazin University.

Within the framework of this lecture, Ms. Paola Bonola acquainted the attendees with the concept of the linguistic corpus and the methods of working with it, “A corpus is a collection of digitized texts analyzed by a search program. Internet is the biggest text corpus where search is carried out using words. In the linguistic corpus, search is also conducted using words, grammatical and semantical forms.”

The lecturer pointed out that the first text corpora were developed by English linguists in 1960s. Then, the corpora of other languages appeared, among which there is the Russian National Corpus that became the subject of further discussion. In particular, Mr. Paola Bonola spoke about the peculiarities of building a corpus and its size — a corpus contains more than 600,000,000 words. The speaker stressed that the search system is functioning in two modes: search of an exact form and lexico-grammatical search. The speaker paid special attention to parallel corpora that enable simultaneous search of words in texts written in different languages. The lecturer pointed out that working with parallel corpora is very useful in learning foreign languages, as it allows the learner to see words in a particular context and gives real examples of their use.

Ms. Calusio described the wealth of Italian, variations of the use of words, drawing on the examples of the translations of Nikolai Gogol’s novel “The Overcoat” and the possibilities of the use of parallel corpora by translators, "Using a corpus, you can restore the history of the translation of one text and, in general, the history of the translation of texts from Russian into Italian, which has lasted for century. The speaker emphasized that Italian writers, when translating the Russian works, primarily used French or German translations rather than the original texts. It was not until 1920s that direct translations from Russian into Italian were put into practice.

The lecture ended with a discussion.

Originally posted on univer.kharkov.ua