Mountains of Text. Analyzing Alpine Literature from the AAC

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Hanno Biber

    OEAW Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften / Austrian Academy of Sciences

Work text
This plain text was ingested for the purpose of full-text search, not to preserve original formatting or readability. For the most complete copy, refer to the original conference program.

The AAC-Austrian Academy Corpus has already collected and is in the next phase of its development going to collect a considerable number of alpine texts of various kinds from the time between 1848 and 1989. This poster will present a research initiative where the AAC will integrate alpine texts for corpus linguistic research of such a thematic subcorpus, in which the discourse about mountains, that is determined by historical, sociological, cultural and other factors, can be analyzed from various perspectives. Alpine club yearbooks, literature, journals and other related heritage documents will be prepared for analysis. The AAC Alpine collections will follow to some extent the Swiss sister project “”, but with a somehow different research perspective modelled according to the AAC principles. The AAC is a German language corpus of texts from various linguistic domains with around 500 million tokens, operated by the Institute for Corpus Linguistics and Text Technology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The question is how corpus research methods based upon a multidisciplinary combination of corpus linguistic and cultural studies can be applied to gain insights into the textual representations of historical collections, in particular alpine texts. “Quantitative corpus linguistics has proofed to be a valuable technique in many domains of philological, sociological and historical research. The digitized and linguistically annotated corpus is therefore an interesting source for studies in many fields and facilitates the investigation of changing patterns of language use, and how these reflect underlying cultural shifts.” (Volk, M. et al.: “Challenges in building a multilingual alpine heritage corpus”, LREC 2010)

The AAC will go beyond a quantitative approach and integrate text studies into its research. The methodology of corpus based text research is determined by corpus linguistic, lexicographic and analytical procedures. The language in significant alpine texts of certain historical periods will be of interest. The historical condition of Austria during the Habsburg monarchy with its cultural and linguistic diversity and the situation at the time of National socialism have to be taken into consideration as historical changes with significant influences on the language.

A special emphasis will be given to the culturally productive relation between the metropolis Vienna and its surrounding alpine regions. The Alpine Regions as cultural topographies are if one considers only the places and place names objects of interest and points of interest worth being investigated by means of a critical analysis. In the texts the place names and the thematic complexes associated with the various places are substantial elements. These places of interest are constituted in the texts as places with a particular language, with particular vernaculars, with particular styles, of typical modes of speaking, of typical cultural settings, with typical protagonists and so on. In this study they will also be treated in comparison with other highly important places, such as Alpine regions outside Austria as well as with Vienna, and so on. In this paper special emphasis will be given to issues of textual representation in connection with linguistic transformation in a broad sense. Investigations into the use of – to give just one example of the research potential – typical idiomatic expressions, into the properties of multi word units in metaphorical constructions of alpine origin, and into fixed forms in particular can be considered as investigations into the properties of figurative language units in general. The analysis of such constructions can be modelled with the help of new methods making use of digitally available sources and techniques. The exemplary online editions of „AAC-FACKEL“ and “Brenner online” of the Innsbruck based journal offer fully searchable databases of the journals with various indexes and search tools in a web interface, where all pages of the original are available as fully searchable digital texts and as facsimile images, all equipped with various indexes and search tools based upon corpus linguistic research parameters.

AAC-Austrian Academy Corpus: AAC- FACKEL. Online Version: "Die Fackel. Herausgeber: Karl Kraus, Wien 1899-1936". AAC Digital Edition No 1, (Editors-in-chief: Hanno Biber, Evelyn Breiteneder, Heinrich Kabas, Karlheinz Mörth; Graphic Design: Anne Burdick)

AAC-Austrian Academy Corpus und Brenner- Archiv: Brenner Online. Online Version: Der Brenner. Herausgeber: Ludwig Ficker, Innsbruck 1910-1954". AAC Digital Edition No 2, (Editors-in-chief: Hanno Biber, Evelyn Breiteneder, Heinrich Kabas, Karlheinz Mörth; Graphic Design: Anne Burdick)

Biber, H. (2009). Hundreds of Examples of Figurative Language from the AAC-Austrian Academy Corpus. In Corpus-Based Approaches to Figurative Language. A Corpus Linguistics 2009 Colloquium, pages 13-20, University of Birmingham, Cognitive Science Research Papers 09-01.

Dobrovol'skij D., Piirainen E. (2005). Figurative Language: Cross-cultural and Cross-linguistic Perspectives (Current Research in Semantics, vol. 13). Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Volk, M. et al. (2010): “Challenges in building a multilingual alpine heritage corpus”, LREC 2010

Volk, M. et al. (2009): “Classifying Named Entities in an Alpine Heritage Corpus”. Künstliche Intelligenz, 4/2009, S. 40–43.

If this content appears in violation of your intellectual property rights, or you see errors or omissions, please reach out to Scott B. Weingart to discuss removing or amending the materials.

Conference Info


ADHO - 2014
"Digital Cultural Empowerment"

Hosted at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Université de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

July 7, 2014 - July 12, 2014

377 works by 898 authors indexed

XML available from (needs to replace plaintext)

Conference website:

Attendance: 750 delegates according to Nyhan 2016

Series: ADHO (9)

Organizers: ADHO