For a digital edition of Ferdinand de Saussure's manuscripts
Type of Project: 
Funding Body: 
Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca
Funding Programme: 
PRIN 2008
Start Date: 
End Date: 
Project Coordinator: 
Università della Calabria
Project Chair: 
Daniele Gambarara
ILC Research Unit Chair: 
Nilda Ruimy
Andrea Bozzi

The PRIN 2008 project "For a digital edition of Ferdinand de Saussure's manuscripts", coordinated by Professor Daniele Gambarara of the Università della Calabria, started in October 2010 with the overall objective of creating a Web application for studying and editing Ferdinand de Saussure's manuscripts.

The project ended in September 2012.


  • Università della Calabria;
  • Università di Firenze;
  • Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale "Antonio Zampolli" - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (ILC-CNR, Pisa);
  • Università di Salerno.

The work was divided into the following stages:

  • digitalization of the manuscripts and their edition in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) format [Università della Calabria and Università di Firenze];
  • creation of a text management system allowing the parallel visualization of the manuscripts and the respective digitalized texts, their annotation, their processing, the consultation and query of the corpus of texts, the automatic creation of indices of forms [ILC-CNR];
  • creation of an electronic thesaurus-lexicon of the saussurian terminology [ILC-CNR].

Text management system for the parallel visualization of the facsimile and textual content of the manuscripts

The Saussure Web Application developed within the project is available here.

Electronic thesaurus-lexicon of the saussurian terminology

One of the innovative aspects of the project consisted in the creation of an electronic thesaurus-lexicon of Saussure’s linguistic terminology. For the first time, the overall structure of the Genevan master’s terminology is made explicit and the semantic import of its component terms as well as the network of their relationships are defined. Such a lexicon, based on a multidimensional structuring of the domain specific concepts and that offers a highly structured, rich and explicit semantic representation is, in our opinion, a most valuable lexical research tool. It offers many interesting possibilities of investigating lexical data since every single piece of information - be it a semantic relation, a semantic feature or a lexical unit - is queryable, either alone or in combination. Performed in a formalized environment that ensures the completeness of results, the different typologies of queries enable to acquire a deeper understanding of the componential and relational nature of meaning. They should therefore contribute to a better comprehension and a correct interpretation of the most original and complex aspects of the author’s thought.

The thesaurus-lexicon of the Saussurean terminology was elaborated in Pisa, at ILC-CNR, by Nilda Ruimy, Silvia Piccini and Emiliano Giovannetti for the technical aspects. The interface for the query of the lexicon in natural language was realized by Andrea Bellandi.