The Concordance of Medieval Occitan

Concordance de l'Occitan Médiéval (COM)

The decision was taken, in the late 1960s, to put all the texts of Medieval Occitan (a Romance language still spoken in the south of France), written between 1000 and 1500 into a computer, between five and six million raw words, permitting electronic access to the complete lexicon of the language and to the meaning of items via their context. 

With the advances made in the technology, this project has now been realized: the first part, the poetry of the troubadours (some 2,500 poems), was published on CD ROM by Brepols (Turnhout, Belgium) in 2001. The second, narrative verse texts, will be published in 2003, thanks to the generosity of The Leverhulme Trust, which gave funding for this tranche in the form of two personal grants. The other two tranches will follow in the next four to eight years: prose texts and the texts of the troubadours as contained in the manuscripts.

The work involved is essentially that of inputting the texts by hand or by scanner and then of checking this text against the editions or manuscripts. The processing of the data is achieved by use of software developed specifically for the Concordance here in Birmingham by Alan Reed. This is, however, an international project with collaborators in several countries, including Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA.