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Tenth KB Lecture held by Marc van Oostendorp

Heartbeat of Dutch language uncovered

Linguist and KB Fellow Marc van Oostendorp uncovered the historical developments of rhythm in Dutch texts. The recent mass digitization of texts by the National Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) offered him unique opportunities. 

To mark the end of his KB fellowship Marc van Oostendorp presented his findings in a public lecture, ‘On Passing Time’, January 15th, 2014, at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague. The lecture included a presentation of the scansion software he developed in cooperation with the National Library.

In cooperation with an IT programmer at the KB Marc van Oostendorp compared texts of many genres, like newspapers and radio broadcasts, in order to uncover accent patterns. Van Oostendorp claims that the rhythm of a language, as learned by unborn babies, will surface consciously and unconsciously in written texts.

The KB fellowship is a joint venture of NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences) and KB (Koninklijke Bibliotheek/National Library of the Netherlands) and aims at making known to a wider community of scholars the possibilities of research of the digitized and non-digitized collections of the KB.

Previous KB fellows include Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Robert Darnton, Jonathan Israel and Lisa Jardine. Marc van Oostendorp became the first Fellow ‘Digital Humanities’.

Dutch press release: kb.nl