About the department – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Nordic Research > About the department

About the department (NFI)

The department consists of four sections:

At NFI 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 NFI 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 NFI 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.


Our vision is to explore the fields of linguistic heritage and language technology in a broad sense, partly from a historical perspective in relation to where and how our language and names have evolved, partly in a contemporary perspective in terms of how spoken and written language today can be described and processed under conditions such as urbanization, globalization and new digital forms of communication.

We explore new approaches to language and textual heritage within the broad terms of digital humanities and data science. We develop strong profiles within those areas which are internationally well-known and which can attract collaborative research projects and research groups both nationally and across countries.

We aim for a cross-institutional, international and interdisciplinary research approach. We collaborate closely with relevant institutions in Denmark and the Nordic countries which manage linguistic heritage or work with humanities research infrastructure, and we are in close dialogue and cooperation with research institutions and enterprises nationally and abroad which work with language technology.

Our vision is to achieve excellency within our disciplines and to attract the best international scholars as visiting professors, postdoctoral fellows and PhD students; for instance via EU programs such as Marie Curie and ERC. We wish to continue our extensive participation in EU research and infrastructure projects and thereby maintain and extend our large number of international contacts.

We wish to offer high-quality educations/courses - preferably international - in language technology, data science, cognition, sociolinguistics, digital humanities and manuscript studies. We aim for a dynamic learning environment where students collaborate closely with NFI's researchers in research projects and thereby achieve strong and relevant skills which are in demand in society.