The Menotec project (2010–2012)

Menotec was an infrastructure project funded by the Norwegian Research Council (2010–2012) with the aim of transcribing and annotating a corpus of Old Norwegian texts. (Announcement by NFR 17 Sept. 2010.) The transcribed and morphologically annotated texts have been (and will be) published in the Medieval Nordic Text Archive, while the syntactically annotated texts have been published in the treebank of the PROIEL project, as well as being made accessible through the INESS portal. The funding for the project lasted for the three years 2010–2012, but the project work continues within new contexts.

As a first step, transcriptions were made of eight central Old Norwegian law manuscripts containing approx. 480,000 words. The transcriptions were made by Anna C. Horn, and afterwards proofread by several colleagues at the University of Oslo:

Holm perg 34 4to (hand f, ca. 1276–1300), partly by the scribe Eiríkr Þróndarson (hand f), often regarded as the codex optimus of Magnúss lagabǿtis landslǫg (The Law-Code of Magnús Hákonarson the Lawmender)
AM 78 4to (ca. 1276–1300)
AM 302 fol (ca. 1300), by the scribe Þorgeirr Hákonarson
AM 305 fol (hand a, ca. 1300), by the scribe Þorgeirr Hákonarson (hand a)
AM 56 4to (ca. 1300), by the scribe Þorgeirr Hákonarson
Holm perg 30 4to (hand b, ca. 1300–1325)
AM 60 4to (hand b, ca. 1320), used as the base codex for Magnúss lagabǿtis landslǫg in the edition of Norges Gamle Love, vol. 2
Upps DG 8 I (hands a and b, ca. 1300–1350)

All but AM 78 4to include Magnúss Lagabǿtis landslǫg (concluded in 1276), and most of them also contain several other law texts.

As a second step, a full linguistic annotation was made of four major Old Norwegian manuscripts:

The Old Norwegian Homily Book in AM 619 4to (ca. 1200–1225)
The legendary saga of St Olaf in Upps DG 8 II (ca. 1225–1250)
Strengleikar in Upps DG 4–7 4to (ca. 1270)
Magnúss lagabǿtis landslǫg in the above-mentioned ms. Holm perg 34 4to (ca. 1276–1300)

These four mss. have been annotated morphologically (adding the lemma and the grammatical form of each word) as well as syntactically. The syntactic annotation is based on dependency analysis, as this has been developed in the PROIEL project.

The corpus of these four mss. counts approx. 200,000 words, but will in the coming years be extended by at least ca. 50,000 words. Menotec is the first project offering a syntactic annotation of Old Norwegian. On the PROIEL site, the Old Norwegian texts will join a central Old Icelandic work, the Poetic Edda in GKS 2365 4to (a manuscript often referred to as Codex Regius). The Eddic poems have been annotated along the same lines as the texts in Menotec. Furthermore, several other Early Germanic and Romance texts will be found on the PROIEL site.

The Menotec project was led by Christian-Emil Ore at the University of Oslo, and included several other participants at this university, Karl G. Johansson, Anna C. Horn, Signe Laake, Kari Kinn, Dag Haug and Hanne Eckhoff. The University of Bergen was a partner in the project, and at this university, Odd Einar Haugen was leading the work of linguistic annotation. Also from Bergen, Fartein Th. Øverland, participated in the project, and from Iceland, Haraldur Bernharðsson and Eiríkur Kristjánsson. The name Menotec is not actually an acronym, but is derived from the project name Menota (which in its turn is an acronym for the Medieval Nordic Text Archive)

Guidelines for the annotation have been published by Haugen and Øverland and are available in parallel versions in Norwegian and English, Retningslinjer and Guidelines. These guidelines explain the conventions of the morphological and syntactic annotation and also give a pragmatic introduction to dependency analysis for Old Norwegian, covering a wide range of annotation problems which arose during the project.

Further information on the encoding and annotation of Medieval Nordic sources will be found on the site of the Medieval Nordic Text Archive (Menota). The eight transcribed mss. can all be accessed from the catalogue of Menota.

After the completion of the Menotec project, work on the morphological and syntactic annotation of texts have continued in other projects. Another important law manuscript, Upps DG 8 I (ca. 1300–1350), is being syntactically annotated by Robert K. Paulsen at the University of Bergen, and will probably be completed in 2017. In 2015, a fully annotated version of Pamphilus saga in Upps DG 4–7 was published as a student contribution at the University of Bergen, and other texts are scheduled to follow.


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Opprettet 25.08.2015. Sist oppdatert 26.07.2016. Vevsjef.