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The Virginia Discourse Lab

Headshots of Alexa Kamm, Lloyd Sy, and Maddie Stokes; header for the Virginia Discourse Lab

The Virginia Discourse Lab

The Virginia Discourse Lab is an attempt at fostering the "lab" scientific model in the humanities. Our object of study is novelistic conversations: as of now, we are focusing exclusively on the direct discourse acts in Jane Austen's six novels. Over the course of several years, the project's founder, English PhD candidate Lloyd Alimboyao Sy, constructed a well-structured dataset of every single speech act in Austen's oeuvre—divided into conversations and marked up by speaker, verb, and adverb. Two research assistants—Neeka Samimi and Maddie Stokes—are trawling through this dataset with Lloyd in the hopes of finding interesting trends, semantic or otherwise. Another research assistant, Alexa Kamm, works exclusively on front-end HTML/CSS design for the website. While the dataset itself is free and open to the public, we're hoping to create original scholarship out of it ourselves—research papers and presentations. We're hoping others will do the same in the future, too.