Chronologicon Hibernicum.

Colm Moriarty’s Irish Archaeology blog has a post on a wonderful project:

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!


  1. ” (incomprehensible to anyone who prefers their languages reasonably regular and comprehensible).”

    Some people are satisfied with boxed dry cereal for breakfast, but obviously you prefer Eggs Benedict. Don’t apologize for that.

    Have you seen this? (This may be where I saw this first, come to think of it.)

  2. Not sure; it looks vaguely familiar, but I may be thinking of other similar sites. In any case, thanks for linking to it!

  3. I was hoping they’d have something to show for it after almost a decade, but apparently they’re still refining the methodology.

  4. David Marjanović says

    Amazingly (for a university website), Prof. Stifter’s website is still up. It calls Old Irish “grammatically a particularly complex and challenging language”…

  5. PlasticPaddy says

    The project site has not been updated since 2018 or 2019 (last event in 2018, last scheduled conference in 2019). Either they have abandoned the site or the project.

  6. David Marjanović says

    ERC grants are limited to 5 years (except Synergy Grants to 6).

  7. The ChronHib site begins…

    From 2015 ‒ 2021, the ChronHib Team was working on refining the methodology for dating Early Medieval Irish language developments (ca. 6th–mid 10th century A.D.) and on building a chronological framework of linguistic changes that can then be used to date literary texts within the Early Irish period. A major output of the project is the lexicographic database Corpus PalaeoHibernicum (CorPH) that currently includes over 70 deeply annotated Old and Middle Irish texts.

    …followed by a full list of project outputs.

  8. Ah, so they do have something to show for it — thanks!

  9. Check out various articles and presentations by Elliott Lash:

    (They estimate dates utilizing — Gulp! — Bayesian methods.)

  10. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    @Y: My work here is done.


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