Jacob Thaisen

Image of Jacob Thaisen
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22845882
Room NT 627
Visiting address Niels Treschows hus Niels Henrik Abels vei 36
Postal address Postboks 1003 Blindern 0315 OSLO

Short biography

I grew up in suburban Copenhagen, write about medieval England, and live in present-day Norway.


My surname is pronounced [ˈtɑ̈jˀsən]. It is spelled with <sen> rather than <son>, as is common for Danish and Norwegian surnames.

Academic interests

History of the English language, Manuscript studies, Dialectology, Sociolinguistics, Written language, Quantitative methodologies

PhD in Medieval English, De Montfort University, Leicester, supervised by Norman F. Blake

Master's in English and Humanities Computing, University of Copenhagen, supervised by Arne Zettersten

Associate Professor, University of Stavanger, 2010-16

Lecturer, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, 2005-10


I have rarely taught computational linguistics/digital humanities, although I have some professional and educational background in commercial machine translation and machine-assisted translation as well as in electronic editing, markup languages, and language models.

Variationist sociolinguistics and dialectology inform my research and publications, which have focused on orthographic and paleographical variation in medieval English and have usually employed quantitative analysis of quantitative data. It seems to me that the availability of diplomatic electronic transcripts of complete manuscripts opens up possibilities that have yet to be fully explored. In particular, NLP tools and multivariate statistical testing (such as regression) are standard tools in other areas of linguistics but are not yet commonly applied in studies of the scribal copy. They can help us identify the true predictor variables.

New projects and new collaborations are of potential interest by definition. Feel free to contact me.

Courses taught

I have taught and examined a variety of courses at BA, MA, and PhD levels. At UiO, I regularly teach these ones:


  • Residential Fellowship, Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Residential Fellowship, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame
  • MSCA Individual Fellowship (as supervisor)


  • Coordinator of the doctoral programme in Literacy Studies, University of Stavanger, 2011-14


Useful links




R (software environment for statistical computing)

SRILM (SRI Language Modeling Toolkit)


Advisory boards

Studia Neofilologiczne

Studia Anglica Posnaniensia


Former and current doctoral students

Hildegunn Støle

Kjetil Thengs

Geir Bergstrøm

Sara Alban Barcia

Sabina Nedelius

Nora Dörnbrack


Tags: English, English language, Language history, Writing systems, Dialectology, Sociolinguistics, Manuscript culture, Computational linguistics, Middle Ages


View all works in Cristin

  • Thaisen, Jacob Stig Rønnow & Rutkowska, Hanna (ed.) (2011). Scribes, printers, and the accidentals of their texts. Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-3-631-60712-1.  209 s.

View all works in Cristin

  • Thaisen, Jacob (2017). Mediaeval Texts in their Material Context.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2017). Medieval Texts in Their Material Context.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2017). Quantitative Analysis of Middle English Palaeographical Data.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2017). Secretary letter-shapes in County Durham.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2017). Some remarks on the diffusion of letter shapes in late medieval England.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2016). Northern Middle English Palaeography.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2016). Palaeographical Innovation and the Late Middle English Dialect Map.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2016). Quantitative Modelling of Middle English Palaeography.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2013). Obituary: Norman Francis Blake (1934-2012). English Studies: A Journal of English Language.  ISSN 0013-838X.  94(1), s 120- 122 . doi: 10.1080/0013838X.2012.732770
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2012). Are letter shapes universal, regional, local, or idiosyncratic?.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2012). How Middle English Scribes Avoided Eyeskip When They Copied Texts.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2012). Initial Position in the Middle English Verse Line.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2012). N-gram modelling of Middle English spelling.
  • Thaisen, Jacob (2012). Standardising Usages and the Auchinleck Manuscript.
  • Thaisen, Jacob Stig Rønnow (2012). The Tale of Gamelyn of the Canterbury Tales. Studia Anglica Posnaniensia.  ISSN 0081-6272.  47(1), s 73- 80 . doi: 10.2478/v10121-010-0021-6
  • Thaisen, Jacob Stig Rønnow (2011). Modelling Middle English.
  • Thaisen, Jacob Stig Rønnow (2011). Modelling Middle English.
  • Thaisen, Jacob Stig Rønnow (2011). Probabilistic Modelling of Middle English: The Auchinleck manuscript.
  • Thaisen, Jacob Stig Rønnow (2011). Scripts, Maps, and Manuscripts.

View all works in Cristin

Published Mar. 2, 2016 10:08 AM - Last modified July 2, 2021 10:51 AM