From: Russon Wooldridge <email@example.com> (27)
Subject: Re: Software for the evolution of words
Isabelle Tellier (Humanist 9.611) asks about "software to simulate the
evolution of words". I have heard this idea discussed in the context of the
Romance languages, where the laws of historical phonetics could be used to
generate hypothetical vernacular forms derived from Latin and a database of
attested forms would show the degree of conformity of the actual to the
virtual (e.g. Lat. *tabula* > It. *tavola*, Fr. *table*, Sp. *tabla*). This
could be a wonderful pedagogical tool which I hope someone -- or a team of
someones, perhaps I. Tellier and her friends -- is working or will work on.
In the meantime, the program Graphist (runs on a PC) is apparently (I have
never received a promised beta version) able to generate Modern French forms
from Renaissance and Classical ones. It was developed to help with the RENA
(Robert Estienne - Nicot - Academie) project on the history of French
orthography. The RENA project has been undertaken -- its main product, a
*Dictionnaire historique de l'orthographe francaise*, was published by
Larousse in 1994 -- at CNRS-HESO, 27 r. Paul Bert, 94200 Ivry-sur-Seine,
tel. 22.214.171.124.12, fax 126.96.36.199.80. The author of Graphist is Laurent
Catach (as of December 1994 at 10 r. Jouye-Rouve, 75020 Paris, tel.
188.8.131.52.64). An article describing Graphist can be found in CCH Working
Papers, vol. 4; it should be reappearing soon in electronic form (for
details of CCHWP see TCHWP at http://www.utoronto.ca:8080/tchwp/).
I hope this information is useful.
Russon Wooldridge, Department of French, Trinity College,
University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 1H8, Canada
Tel: 1-416-978-2885 -- Fax: 1-416-978-4949