[open-literature] Open Shakespeare API and canting dictionaries
john at anterotesis.com
Tue Mar 1 11:51:38 UTC 2011
Jonathan Gray suggested I post here concerning a project I'm working on
concerning early modern English canting dictionaries, for which I would
like to use Open Shakespeare .
Cant dictionaries were glossaries of what was purportedly the secret
language of thieves, rogues and vagabonds. The fundamental question is
whether these words were really used, whether by criminals and the
common people, or if they were invented or taken from other sources.
Connected to this is whether the terms, once printed, were taken up, and
if so, who by.
That's the humanistic question. To answer it, I want to check the
dictionaries against large corpuses of texts, in particular plays and
legal testimony (where the criminals' tongue and commoners speech is
recorded). One body of text I want to do this with is Shakespeare, and
Open Shakespeare is, well, open!
Is there an API that allows me to automatically search O.S. for a set of
terms? Is it possible to search by the leme (stem) of a word (for
example, 'nab' can be conjugated as nabbed, nabbing)?
For an example of the dictionaries, I've recently transcribed a small
glossary from Shadwell's play 'The Squire of Alsatia':
johnlevin at joindiaspora.com
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