Webinars and events

Information about any upcoming events and webinars will be posted on this page.
Recordings from past events are also published here (most recent first).

We are always looking for new ideas and potential speakers for future webinars, so please share your thoughts with us.

You can explore more ways to use the OED through our teaching resources page.

Webinar recordings

Oxford Languages and Prêt-à-Llod’s Cross-Dictionary Annotation Tool

Meritxell Gonzàlez, Language Engineer at Oxford University Press, the creator of the Cross-Dictionary Annotation Tool (XD-AT), presented session about this web-based tool developed as part of the Prêt-à-Llod project.

When aligning senses we can see that they are not always fully equivalent: sometimes one of the senses extends beyond the meaning conveyed by the others. XD-AT was developed to assist lexicographers to classify sense alignment distinctions between senses already aligned. It can also be extended into a general tool for marking up cross-dictionary mappings at the sense level.

Watch the recording of this webinar:

Mama put in the OED: World Englishes and the Oxford English Dictionary

Dr Danica Salazar, OED World English Editor, and Mr Kingsley Ugwuanyi, one of OUP’s valued Nigerian English consultants, discussed how different varieties of World English are being included in the OED, the processes around this, and how researchers can get involved.

Watch the webinar below, and read the accompanying blog piece by Dr Danica Salazar on the OED blog: Circuit breakers, PPEs, and Veronica buckets: World Englishes and Covid-19.

There were many a few questions from the audience which we ran out of time to address on the live webinar. These have been passed on to the panelists and will be posted here soon – watch this space!

Applying a semantic tool to the OED: the Linguistic DNA Project

The Linguistic DNA project has designed a new computational linguistic approach to model historical word meanings by identifying and ranking a specific kind of lexical co-occurrence: co-occurring non-adjacent lexical trios in discursive spans of text.

Dr Seth Mehl, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield, shows us how this tool can be used to mine texts and identify the co-occurrence of specific lemmas, investigate the implication of these patterns on meaning, and inform the way definitions are written and presented by the OED.

Watch the webinar below, and read the associated blog article by Dr Mehl: Investigating the Linguistic DNA of life, body, and soul.

Questions which remained at the end of the webinar are answered below.

Q1. Could you explain about the name ‘Linguistic DNA’? What do you mean by DNA here?

Answer: We’ve described the project as an attempt to pinpoint the ‘building blocks’ of modern discourse, hence the comparison to DNA as the ‘building blocks’ of life. We see the interactions between key words (i.e. their co-occurrences) as constituting these building blocks, and we map them using high-performance computing that’s comparable to what is used by geneticists mapping genomes. 

Q2. As regards Mutual Info, what about asymmetries of Mutual Info within trios?

Answer: Yes, Mutual Information is asymmetrical within trios, and can be measured in multiple ways: between pairs of words A and B, B and C, and A and C, for example. In Fano’s (1960) first explanation of Mutual Information, he also proposes measuring it for trios, based on the probability that event (or word ) C will occur, given that events (or words) A and B occur. That’s how we measure Mutual Information for trios. 

Q3. Can the trios be used to identify corpuses?

Answer: Yes, and there’s a lot of potential here. People already use keywords to build corpora. For example, a researcher might build a corpus of newspaper articles whose titles contain the word ‘crisis’, or whose texts contain any word from a list related to crises. We could use our tool to build corpora that contain specific trios or quads.

Q4. On the slide on sermon trios, the pair ‘heaven-earth’ appears also as ‘earth-heaven’. Is this because you used one of these words as search ‘pivot’ each time? If so, pairings will appear differently, I understand (In the science slide, the ‘body-part’ pair appears always in this order).

Answer: A trio has six different orderings (ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, CBA), and each can have a different Mutual Information score. Our processor identifies a first word (or node word or, as you put it, a pivot), and then identifies all the co-occurring pairs within 50 tokens to each side. Then, it identifies for each pair all co-occurring trios within 50 tokens to each side. So, our raw data outputs will include each ordering of a given trio, with a Mutual Information score. The public interface allows the option of viewing each ordering and its score, or only viewing the order with the highest Mutual Information score. 

Q5: Can you tell us a few of the texts that you are looking at in this project?

Answer: I showed some examples from Speed’s history of the British Isles, and several others, but our data contains over 60,000 texts. Some of them can be viewed here: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebogroup/.

Q6: Could you explain why you have not included adverbs?

Answer: Good question. We automatically identify parts of speech for each word using a tool called MorphAdorner, which was developed for Early Modern English using traditional ‘philological’ parts of speech (rather than more contemporary linguistic analyses of parts of speech). It combines adverbs together with ‘particles’, ‘conjunctions’, and ‘prepositions’. This is a rather large group that contains more than we would ideally want it to. Our statistical analysis is based on frequencies for each part of speech, and we felt that this rather large group was too messy to be viable, so we left it out. 

Q8. Prof. Mehl gave the URL to connect to the trio data, and I neglected to note it down. Could you please let me know the url?

Answer: Yes, you can link to it via the project website, www.linguisticdna.org (which is easy to remember), or go directly to it here: https://www.dhi.ac.uk/ldna/

Using the OED to investigate the implications of Douglas’s lexical choices in the Eneados

The Eneados, written by Gavin Douglas in 1513, is the first full translation of the Aeneid in a form of English and one of the first instances where ‘Scots’ is used as a linguistic identifier. 

Megan Bushnell from the English Faculty, University of Oxford, presented her research into Douglas’ lexical choices through a corpus-based approach.

The OED and historical text collections: discovering new words

This session provided an overview of the University of Helsinki’s research on neologism use, and how the OED can be used in digital humanities research generally.

If you’re interested in historical sociolinguistics, historical lexicology and lexicography, or in the complexities of applying computational methods to historical data, this talk is for you.

This webinar also offers the chance to hear directly from Dr Säily and Dr Mäkelä about what the future holds for this and other projects using the OED, and what they wish they knew before starting the project.

Read about one of the project’s most interesting findings on Cha before tea: finding earlier mentions in a corpus of early English letters (part 1) and on Cha before tea: finding earlier mentions in a corpus of early English letters (part 2).

Making the Most of the Oxford English Dictionary (UK)

Fiona McPherson, Senior Editor – OED New Words at Oxford University Press, presented about exploring the OED to make full use of its resources for research and teaching. She gave a virtual tour of the OED, showing how to unlock the potential of the historical and linguistic data in the dictionary’s entries.

Making the Most of the Oxford English Dictionary (US)

Katherine Martin, Head of U.S. Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, presented about exploring the OED to make full use of its resources for research and teaching. She gave a virtual tour of the OED, showing how to unlock the potential of the historical and linguistic data in the dictionary’s entries. She also provided an overview of some of the OED teaching resources available

Building Dictionaries with Crowdsourcing

Dr Sarah Ogilvie, Director of Global Partnerships at Oxford Languages, Oxford University Press, spoke about how you can get involved in collecting words for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
David Martin, Principal Editor and Head of the New Words Group, OED, explained how a word gets into the dictionary once it is submitted by a member of the public.
Find out how a dictionary is created: now and in the past, without the help of technology. Follow a word’s journey until it is included in the dictionary, the reasons behind it, and why some words will never make it.


We are always looking for new ideas and potential speakers for future webinars, so please share your thoughts below.

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