LexiQamus: An Online Tool for Deciphering Ottoman words

Those who read manuscripts Ottoman Turkish frequently experiences the following problem:

Either the handwriting is so messy, the writing is obscured by ink stain, a certain portion of the paper is folded, or there is a material damage due to tearing or burning. There might be plenty of reasons behind the illegibility of some of the letters of a word.

Extant dictionaries could help only if you cannot the read the letters from the end. However, if there are a few missing or unclear letters from the beginning or middle of the word, they were almost useless for deciphering.

LexiQamus comes into play exactly at this point. By means of a special software, based on the letters filled in and the parts that are not legible, it generates a list of possible words matching the given restrictions. Thus, it allows the researcher to read a word immediately. Otherwise the search process can last quite a long time flicking through voluminous dictionaries.

Ahmet Abdullah Saçmalı (PhD Candidate,Durham University)

Abdullah Sacmali entered Boğaziçi University in 2002. He received double major degrees in Sociology and History departments in 2006. He did his master’s in the History department at the same university. Then he left for the US and joined the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. In 2013, he received his second master’s degree from this institution. Since March 2014, he has been a Ph.D. student in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University in the UK. In 2016, he created and published LexiQamus which is an online tool for deciphering illegible letters in Ottoman manuscripts. He is married and father of a son.

Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017

Time: 7 pm

Venue: 10 Maple Street, London, W1T 5HA


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