Kaj Munk - pencil drawing 1927 by Knud NørholmThe Kaj Munk Research Center
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Research projects at the Kaj Munk Research Center



The Language of Kaj Munk
A Linguistic-Stylistic Analysis of the Drama Niels Ebbesen (1942)

Jesper Valeur Mogensen, MA

Jesper Valeur Mogensen has an MA in Danish Language and Literature, and his masters thesis deals with the development and testing of a specific model for literary analysis (Triadic-Dialectic Literary Analysis) which combines linguistic description and historic understanding with the analysis and interpretation of literary art.

Since 2003 he has been employed as an assistant lecturer at the Aalborg University, and he has been working mainly with project supervising in the Danish Linguistics and Literature.

His primary interests although, lie not so much within the fields of linguistics or literature respectively but rather in their conjunction. It is in this light that his affiliation with the Kaj Munk Research Centre as a research assistant should be seen. During the last couple of years he has been greatly influenced by the stylistic views and methods of Associate Professor Hans Götzsche (Center for Linguistics, Aalborg University) who has developed a fine tuned way of making a solid and detailed capture of style that makes no attempt to explain why a certain stylistic expression has been chosen nor speculate about the possible effects that expression might have on the reader. In rough terms Götzsches method works in two parallel and interacting lines: One that concerns lexico-syntactical choice, and one that concerns trope and scheme. Accordingly, these two dimensions will be the foundation of his investigation.

Since the early 1950′s the national and scholarly interest in Kaj Munk has dropped rapidly coming almost to a hold at the end of the century. At the same time the research and writing about Kaj Munk have primarily focused on his life and doing. This means - from the perspective of research and knowledge - that there is a huge gab concerning the description of the language of Kaj Munk.

There is a saying that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. This, however, cannot be the case when a person is dead. What Jesper Valeur Mogensen says is this: The soul of the deceased is mirrored in the linguistic form his thoughts were given at the time of their materialisation in texts. By this he means that the linguistic-stylistic analysis gets under the authors skin because it provides detailed information about the authors technique and mind. What he is trying to say here is that studies like this one are not at all irrelevant to those who are mostly interested in Kaj Munk, his personality and life.

The much needed long term description and characterisation of the style of Kaj Munk will - so Jesper hopes - take its beginning with his study of the drama Niels Ebbesen. In the production of Kaj Munk this particular drama stands out for a number of reasons. Most important of these is the fact that Niels Ebbesen has four previous versions which allows us to get even closer to the author because it is possible among other things to trace a certain passage′s linguistic transformation from its beginning to its final solution.

The linguistic-stylistic analysis at hand must by no means be seen as more than an indication of the style of Kaj Munk in general. If one wants to know about his style in general or for example to trace stylistic developments or capture typical variations one will have to wait until - in principle - his whole production has been described and characterised - unfortunately!



PhD-project: Annotated text databases: Databasemodels and query languages in the context of the Kaj Munk Archive

Ulrik Petersen, MA, BSc

Ulrik Petersen holds an MA in human-centered informatics and a BSc in computer science and math, and has been working in the field of computational linguistics for nearly a decade.  He is employed as a PhD-stipendiate at the Kaj Munk Research Centre (KMF).  His research within the field of text database systems will support the work of the Centre in making the Kaj Munk Archive available and accessible on the web, especially respect to advanced searches on the Kaj Munk Archive.  His research is carried out in collaboration with the other researchers at the HCI Doctoral School.

The aim of his research is to develop theories, methods, and principles for how to be able to make advanced, yet easily accessible, queries on large amounts of text, especially the Kaj Munk Archive.  The desired results should be so general that they will be utilizable on other large corpora of text.

More concretely, the aim is to be able to perform searches which are more precise than those which the present state of the art in searching technology allow, such as those exemplified by the search engine behind Google.com.  The aim is, ultimately, to produce general theories, methods, and principles for semantic searches, which will enable searches on the Internet with a precision which hitherto has not been available.  The same prinicples will be able to be used in other large corpora of information, such as author-archives, legal texts, news paper articles, collections of books, national archives, local archives, etc.

Ulrik Petersen's research will extend in two directions, which will both meet up in a future version of this site.

One is an automatic analysis of the semantics of Kaj Munk's texts.  For example, it will be possible to search for the word "parish" and then be presented with the possibility of searching for related words such as "church", "church-yard", and "town", even if the word "parish" does not occur in a given document.  This will be done through a dialog-based query interface, which gradually guides the user through the search and negotiates with the user about which meaning is intended.

This is desired to be accomplished through an automatic analysis of the texts, which will include both syntax and semantics.  Morphological, Lexical, Syntactic, and Semantic analyses will be made of the texts.  One of the aims is to produce so-called "clusters" of words, which will need to be "discovered" automatically through various kinds of analysis of the texts, and that "ontologies" (conceptual hierarchies) will play a large role in the queries.  These ontologies will also be "discovered" automatically.

The other direction in which Ulrik Petersen's research will extend is in the development of a query language and a storage model of annotated text (that is, text plus information about that text), which can support the queries on Kaj Munk's texts. Ulrik Petersen's research is already far advanced in that regard, since he has developed, before he was employed, a software system which is already able to do much of what is required of the desired query system.  The software already developed is called "Emdros", and has a home page at http://emdros.org.  Emdros is an "industrial-strength" database system, which has shown its potential by already attracting two companies from the Industry as customers, which have bought licenses to the system.  A part of Ulrik Petersen's research will thus be to develop Emdros further, such that the system can fully support the queries on Kaj Munk's texts.

Emdros has been presented at the COLING 2004 conference and the RANLP 2005 conference, as well as at the FSMNLP 2005 workshop.

The PhD-project is described in more detail in the article
  "Semantic queries in Kaj Munk's textual universe"

See also:
     The Kaj Munk Research Center

Updated: May 5, 2015