If you are interested in collaboration or would like to upload your own graphs, please send a message to Team 1 leader, Saana Svärd.
Looking up the meaning of Akkadian words can be a tedious job: you haul a heavy dictionary volume from the library shelf, flip through its pages until you find the required term, and start reading the seemingly unending attestations, all of which have just a slightly different nuance in meaning. What if we told you there is now a way to do all that with just a few mouse clicks?
The ANEE Lexical Portal is a graphic semantic dictionary that gives you all that information at a glance. It is a digital tool that will help you explore the range of meaning of singular Akkadian words in an easy and visual way. Represented as a network, it will allow you to easily find the syntagmatic and paradigmatic connections of the word(s) that you are interested in (see below for what that means). Moreover, the Portal is built in such a manner that it can accommodate both specialists and those who are unfamiliar with Akkadian language and texts, as it allows you to trace the meanings and attestations of terms in different levels of detail.
As you will have noticed, we created not one but two networks of Akkadian words. That is because we wanted to represent two different types of relationships between words. First, there is the PMI network, in which connections between words are of a syntagmatic semantic nature. This means that relationships appear between words that frequently co-occur. In other words, you can use the PMI network to explore which words often occur together with or near the word you are interested in. For example, in English the word “school” has a strong syntagmatic link to the word “student” and to the word “public” (e.g.in the sentence, “the student goes to the public school”).
The other network is the fastText network, in which the links between words are based on their paradigmatic semantic connections. This means that the words to which your word of interest connects in the network are of the same general category. Often this comes down to the fact that both your word of interest and its relation appear in a similar semantic context. For example, the English word “chair” will have paradigmatic links to the word “sofa” and “bed” (e.g. the person is sitting on the chair/sofa/bed).
Evidently, it is more than possible that the same words appear in both the syntagmatic and paradigmatic networks of your word of interest. For example, the English word “apple” often occurs together with “pear” and thus has a syntagmatic connection to it (e.g. in the sentence, “I must not compare apples and pears”) but it also has a paradigmatic relation to it (e.g. in the sentence, “the apple/pear was too rotten to be eaten”). However, this is certainly not always the case, and the advantage of using both networks is that combined they will give you a wider view on the uses and meanings of the word(s) you are studying.
As a side note it should also be mentioned that “PMI” and “fastText” refer to the two different methods of language technology that we used to create the networks. If you want to know more about that, see the general introduction to the Lexical Portal and the bibliography.
The Lexical Portal contains a total of 4930 Akkadian words. We have retrieved those words from the Akkadian texts that are in Oracc, an online database of cuneiform texts. To keep our dataset statistically relevant, we have included words that appeared five times or more. The fact that our data are retrieved from Oracc means that only what is available there can be found in the Portal. Although this includes a considerable number of Akkadian texts (7346, to be precise), many others are still missing. However, we intend to keep updating the Portal as more texts are added to Oracc. The current Lexical Portal is basedn on a snapshot of Oracc data from February 2019.
Every word comes with a standard translation. To facilitate searches, we have produced networks in both Akkadian and English. You will also find some network properties, such as degree, weighted degree, and modularity class (see the FAQ for what those represent). Finally, there is the ego network of the word you are searching for: a list on the left hand side will show you which words it connects to in the network, and by clicking “ego graph” you can see this visually represented in a network format.
What you will not find in the Lexical Portal is chronological and typological differentiation: the Portal is diachronically “flat”, it does not differentiate between distinct genres, and it puts together words that are written the same way but have different meanings. This is due to the fact that we had to get as large and consistent a dataset as possible in order to be able to use these language technological methods. Nevertheless, we introduced a tool called “Korp” where you can find an overview of all the attestations of a given word. There you may also differentiate between several senses of a word and you can search for specific genres and time periods. In turn, through Korp you can easily access attestations of words in individual texts in Oracc.
After this concise introduction, we hope that you feel exited to go and explore the Lexical Portal of Akkadian! We strongly believe its intuitive and visual nature offers a fun yet scientific approach to lexical semantics in Akkadian.
If you use the Portals for your research, please give credit where credit is due:
Heidi Jauhiainen, Aleksi Sahala, Tero Alstola, Sam Hardwick, Tommi Jauhiainen, Krister Lindén and Saana Svärd “ANEE lexical portal of Akkadian: fastText.” URN http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi:lb-2021060104
Aleksi Sahala, Heidi Jauhiainen, Tero Alstola, Sam Hardwick, Tommi Jauhiainen, Krister Lindén and Saana Svärd “ANEE lexical portal of Akkadian: PMI.” URN: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi:lb-2021060102
For more detailed information, see the general introduction, the articles in the bibliography, and the FAQ.
Work in progress. We hope to make the work publicly available in autumn 2021.