Funding of €1.8 million by has been secured from the European Research Council for a project that will date a large number of 7th–10th century Irish texts.
Professor Stifter, Head of Maynooth University Department of Early Irish, will lead a team of five researchers on the project known as Chronologicon Hibernicum. This will develop and use innovative methodologies and sophisticated software to perform linguistic analysis on a large body of early medieval texts. By looking for subtle changes in the language over the centuries and by applying advanced statistical methods, Prof Stifter will be able to profile language variations in texts of that period.
The major result will be a ChronHib database, which will serve as the key reference point for the linguistic dating of Irish texts and will then provide a model for other old languages in Europe and beyond. Prof Stifter said researchers around the world will be able to use these new dating methods in a way similar to how tree-rings serve as chronological indicators in archaeology. […]
Such a database is a great idea in any case, but I find it especially exciting because of my love for Old Irish (incomprehensible to anyone who prefers their languages reasonably regular and comprehensible). Thanks, Trevor!