Laboratoire d'Analye Statistique des Langues Anciennes, University of Liege, Belgium

17 December 77

International Annual General Meeting of ALLC

The International Meeting of the ALLC for 1977 had a unifying theme - the role and organisation of a corpus in literary and linguistic study, hence my presence there. About 70 people, mostly European, attended. In the morning there were brief presentations from (l) Theo Bungarten which was all in German and incomprehensible (2) J. Neuhaus, who is associated with Spevack at Munster, where a lot of interesting work is being done on the Shakespeare corpus, with the aid of the chronological english dictionary, (3) Sture Allen of the Swedish Logotek, an ongoing archive of all Swedish current newspapers, at Goteborg. These were followed by a general panel discussion, in which Charles Muller (Strasbourg) gave a few useful cautions on the indiscriminate use if statistics which I had never heard said in French before, and Prof. Al (Amsterdam) stressed the relevance of a corpus of linguistic practice in view of current thinking about socio-linguistics. There was much discussion on the well-worn theory of corporal homogeneity, but no firm conclusions were reached.

There was a break for lunch during which the serious button-holing of the day began. I met Stan Bootle (who used to work for Univac and now sells a sort of primitive artificial intelligence package to business men) and A. Van Wijngaarden. I tried my best to get Spevack and Neuhaus interested in visiting Oxford, since their research seemed the most interesting currently being undertaken with the use of computers. I exchanged names and addresses with various others.

After lunch we were reconvened as the ALLC AGM, an altogether more parochial affair. There was a certain amount of mutual self-congratulation in evidence, reflecting the various political machinations that have been proceeding in the executive of the Association, Susan has now been elected to the Committee with a large majority: several people also expressed admiration for the work being done at Oxford under her mantle. I spoke briefly on the Archive, and distributed copies of.the Catalogue. I also learned the whereabouts of some other texts previously unknown to me (in Denmark and in Belgium) and made efforts to obtain copies of them.

In the evening the buttonholing resumed, over large quantities of Belgian beer, fruit and nts, and broke up for dinner around 2100h. I was then taken on a tour of the nightspots by John Allen (Manitoba) and his Belgian chums which, however, did not constitute official business.