About the department – University of Copenhagen

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About the department

The department has research, education and communication as its primary purpose. It is home to 1600 students and 160 members of staff - comprising teachers, researchers, librarians, student assistants and administrative staff. The Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics provides the setting for international research and education from BA- to PhD studies within language, literature, media, culture and gender studies.

At NorS we do research, dissemination and teaching in the areas of Nordic cultural heritage and in modern sociolinguistic and technological approaches to language. We work with philological disciplines such as manuscript and literature studies, with name research and language change, human language technology and data science.

A central role of NorS is to manage and develop comprehensive physical and digital collections of text and speech. These range from the UNESCO-listed ancient Scandinavian manuscripts over digital, semantically annotated corpora and spoken language collections such as the multimodal NOMCO corpus, to one of the world's largest transcribed corpora of spoken language, LANCHART. Further, we compile large lexicographical resources, such as a dialect dictionary (Ømålsordbogen), collections of many classes of names, a dictionary of Old Norse prose and several computational lexicons (STO, DanNet). We develop language technology tools (taggers, parsers) and machine learning algorithms to enable digital processing of these and other data collections.

A recurrent methodological approach at NorS is the empirical one involving active research in the field of digital humanities. Thus, we make extensive and innovative use of digital methods, resources, and infrastructures, and we manage the technological platform CLARIN-DK which constitutes the Danish contribution to a European, digital research infrastructure for the humanities.

Department history

NorS is a result of a series of department mergers, the latest one taking place on 1st of September 2017 when the Department of Nordic Research (NFI) was merged with the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics (INSS). The new department kept the name of the latter but changed its acronym to NorS.

Before the merger in 2017 the two departments had various common projects, among others the LANCHART Centre. And both departments had their own history of mergers behind them.

The Department of Nordic Research (NFI) was established in 2003 as a conglomerate of the former Arnamagnaean Institute, Institute of Dialectology and Institute of Name Research, each of them becoming sections under the department. The Dictionary of old norse prose became a part of NFI in 2010, though still affiliated with The Arnagmagnaean Commission. And on the 1st of January 2015 the Center for Language Technology (CST) became the department's fourth section.

Correspondingly, the merger history of INSS included, most notably, the merger of the Department of Nordic Philology and the Department of General and Applied Linguistics (IAAS) as well as a series of independent research centres.