- Field, Anjalie [Browse]
- Senior thesis
- 50 pages
- Fellbaum, Christiane [Browse]
- Baraz, Yelena [Browse]
- Princeton University. Department of Computer Science [Browse]
- Class year
- Summary note
- The main goal of this study is to analyze the style of Latin authors using automated tools.
Many of the common methods in stylistic analysis are based on lexical measures, which do not
work well with Latin because of the language’s high degree of inflection and free word order.
Thus, this study focuses on analysis at a syntax level by examining two constructions, the ablative
absolute and the cum clause. Because these constructions are both used adverbially, they are
somewhat interchangeable, which suggests an author’s choice of construction is often more stylistic
than functional. We first identified these constructions in hand-annotated texts by relying on the
annotations. Then, we developed two methods for identifying these constructions in unannotated
texts, a purely rule-based method and a method that involved probabilistic morphological tagging.
These methods identified constructions with enough accuracy to distinguish between different
genres and between different authors. In particular, these methods were able to determine which
book of Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico was not written by Caesar. Furthermore, the
usage of ablative absolutes and cum clauses observed in this study is consistent with the usages
previously observed by scholars analyzing the same texts by hand. Overall, this study demonstrates
the usefulness of automated syntax-based analysis in the study of classical literature and proposes a
few methods for conducting this analysis.