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William Short

William M. Short's picture
William Michael Short lectures in Classics at the University of Exeter. Building on the foundation of Bettinian historical anthropology – in particular its emphasis on language as probably the most immediate index to culture and its seeking to privilege the “native’s” point of view in ethnographic description – his research extends theories of the second-generation (“embodied”) cognitive sciences to anthropological analysis by using patterns of metaphorical expression in Latin to reconstruct the sorts of conceptual models that organize Roman culture at large. In the area of Digital Humanities, Dr. Short is developing a project that seeks to create an interactive, extensible on-line Latin lexicon that eschews the alphabetic linear ordering of traditional dictionaries to organize the meanings of linguistic expressions in terms of to high-order patterns of figurative structures in Latin’s semantic system. A second project aims to develop a set of ‘next-generation’ corpus search tools by integrating semantic and syntactic information, so that Greek and Latin texts can be searched based on meanings and on grammatical constructions.

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06/07/2019William Short
Can a computer understand the hendecasyllables of Catullus, the declamations of Seneca, or the letters of Pliny? Not yet, and maybe never in any conventional sense of this word. No one has succeeded so far in teaching a computer to comprehend language – that is, to reason about, generate, act upon and, importantly, communicate intentions through symbolic speech – let alone to appreciate texts written in a dead language with a sophisticated literary tradition. (Embodied cognitive science claims, in fact, that without a human body no computer can ever hope to achieve human understanding). But...

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