Being involved with the Encyclopedia of Shakespeare’s Language project has been a great opportunity. I have been working as an intern for the last 4 weeks developing scripts to improve the efficiency of certain workflows, mainly designing a system to increase the speed that we can write definitions for the encyclopedia. The project has been great for giving me hands-on coding experience in an academic environment, and brushing up on my Bash and Python skills. My particular area of interest is in speech processing, so the invitation to improve my computational skills is something I am grateful to have received.
I found Shakespeare’s tendency to create neologisms through the prefix ‘un-’ particularly interesting, suggesting a vast proportion of his neologisms are just negations of words he didn’t invent. Where I once thought Shakespeare invented thousands of neologisms, it appears that this is a myth, largely predicated on the OED’s use of Shakespeare as first user for many terms that simply haven’t been tested for antedating. This has been a fantastic experience and I’m excited to see what the final results are and what percentage of the initial claims of approximately 1,500 neologisms are actually words Shakespeare invented.