Richard Zimmermann

Blog Post


1 March
2021

"Learning through Research internships" on Middle English

CareerConnect UoM logo
The CareerConnect service at the University of Manchester

CareerConnect UoM logo
The CareerConnect service at the University of Manchester

The University of Manchester career service Career Connect offers (I think relatively well-paid!) internships to first and second year undergraduate students. I will run one of these internships this summer. The successful candidate will work on the transcription and documentation of understudied late Middle English texts. Below is a summary of the internship announcement:

Digitising medieval texts for linguistic research


The aim of this project is to build a corpus of late medieval English prose texts (c. 1350-1550). The corpus can then be used to study many interesting linguistic developments of that time in greater detail than hitherto possible, such as the emergence of modern adverbs (like also, always, or already), the grammaticalization of any (I haven’t got any plans, but not *I have got any plans), or the rise of wh-relative pronouns (he who writes, for earlier he that writes).

The student will create digitisations of modern editions of medieval texts. This involves scanning the actual editions to create an electronic file, then running optical character recognition (OCR) software on the electronic text, and most importantly reading and correcting the text to eliminate errors. Furthermore, the student will add some basic annotations about editorial information (such as page numbers, footnotes) in a format called XML. The result will be a high-quality digital transcription of the text that will be valued by linguists around the world.

  • This project requires great attention to detail.
  • The student should have a passion for working with texts (layout, copying), rather than working on texts (interpretation, literary value).
  • It would be useful to have an interest in medieval history and literature.
  • The student should have his or her own laptop to work with.
  • Familiarity with XML is a plus, but not required.
  • The internship may be particularly suitable for (corpus) linguists, students of digital humanities or medievalists.

  • Students will be engaged as "casual staff" by the University at the Living Wage rate. The internship lasts for 8 weeks, 14/06/2021 - 06/08/2021. Due to the current pandmic, there is a chance that the work will have to be carried out remotely with meetings and hang-outs on zoom. If you're eligible and interested, why don't you apply? Go to the Career Connect page to learn more. The deadline for the application is 11/03/2021.



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