LINGUIST List 33.568

Mon Feb 14 2022

Software: Diccionario del Español Medieval electrónico (DEMel) - A Database for Medieval Spanish

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 14-Feb-2022
From: Caroline Müller <>
Subject: Diccionario del Español Medieval electrónico (DEMel) - A Database for Medieval Spanish
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The Diccionario del Español Medieval electrónico (DEMel) [URL:] offers a broad, international public free and efficient access to an extensive data archive of medieval Spanish organized according to semantic structure. The archive is based on the extensive and hitherto unpublished data compiled during the preliminary work on the Diccionario del Español Medieval by the late Prof. Dr. Bodo Müller (Heidelberg). It uses a broad range of six hundred books or collections of texts and documents dating from the 10th to the beginning of the 15th century and contains about 700,000 record cards with the medieval word forms as well as information on context, date, grammar, semantic use and etymology for 31,000 lemmata.

Since 2016 the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) has funded the „Cataloguing and Digitisation“ of the archive. From 2016 until 2020, Prof. Dr. Rafael Arnold (University of Rostock), Prof. Dr. Jutta Langenbacher-Liebgott (University of Paderborn), Robert Zepf, M.St. and Karsten Labahn (Rostock University Library) led the DEMel project; since then, it has been directed by Prof. Dr. Rafael Arnold and Karsten Labahn. Currently, the project coordinator Caroline Müller and the software developer Robert Stephan continue working on the DEMel web portal until October 2022.

At the beginning of the project, 865,000 index cards were scanned. To provide an efficient search mechanism, a database schema was designed to enter a – so far limited – selection of information (lemma, documented word form, source and dating). Many students collaborated in the recording of the data and gained thereby insight into academic work. At the same time, Robert Stephan developed the web-based Spanish and German user interface for the DEMel web portal, and optimized it to increase the usability and make the web portal an effective research tool. Now, the archive of the Diccionario del Español Medieval is accessible to the international research community and common users as well.

Public access to the database is an act of paramount importance given the absence of a complete historical dictionary of medieval Spanish. The diversity of genres and registers (literary texts, religious and legal documents, technical and scientific treatises on astronomy, medicine, botany etc.) will enable interested researchers – Hispanists as well as others – to investigate unexplored fields of the Spanish medieval lexicon and provide a valuable source of research not only in Spanish studies, but also in Islamic and Jewish studies, cultural studies, theology etc.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Spanish, Old (osp)

Page Updated: 14-Feb-2022