Working with The Latin Library Corpus in CLTK, pt. 3

code, tutorial

In the previous two posts, I explained how to load either the whole Latin Library or individual files from the corpus. In today’s post, I’ll split the difference and show how to build a custom text from PlaintextCorpusReader output, in this case how to access Virgil’s Aeneid using this method. Unlike Catullus, whose omnia opera can be found in a single text file (catullus.txt) in the Latin Library, each book of the Aeneid has been placed in its own text file. Let’s look at how we can work with multiple files at once using PlaintextCorpusReader .

[This post assumes that you have already imported the Latin Library corpus as described in the earlier post and as always that you are running the latest version of CLTK on Python3. This tutorial was tested on v. 0.1.42.]

We can access the corpus and build a list of available files with the following commands:

from cltk.corpus.latin import latinlibrary
files = latinlibrary.fileids()

We can then use a list comprehension to figure out which files we need:

print([file for file in files if 'vergil' in file])
>>> ['vergil/aen1.txt', 'vergil/aen10.txt', 'vergil/aen11.txt', 'vergil/aen12.txt', 'vergil/aen2.txt', 'vergil/aen3.txt', 'vergil/aen4.txt', 'vergil/aen5.txt', 'vergil/aen6.txt', 'vergil/aen7.txt', 'vergil/aen8.txt', 'vergil/aen9.txt', 'vergil/ec1.txt', 'vergil/ec10.txt', 'vergil/ec2.txt', 'vergil/ec3.txt', 'vergil/ec4.txt', 'vergil/ec5.txt', 'vergil/ec6.txt', 'vergil/ec7.txt', 'vergil/ec8.txt', 'vergil/ec9.txt', 'vergil/geo1.txt', 'vergil/geo2.txt', 'vergil/geo3.txt', 'vergil/geo4.txt']

The file names for the Aeneid texts all follow the same pattern and we can use this to build a list of the twelve files we want for our subcorpus.

aeneid_files = [file for file in files if 'vergil/aen' in file]

>>> ['vergil/aen1.txt', 'vergil/aen10.txt', 'vergil/aen11.txt', 'vergil/aen12.txt', 'vergil/aen2.txt', 'vergil/aen3.txt', 'vergil/aen4.txt', 'vergil/aen5.txt', 'vergil/aen6.txt', 'vergil/aen7.txt', 'vergil/aen8.txt', 'vergil/aen9.txt']

Now that we have a list of files, we can loop through them and build our collection using passing a list to our raw, sents, and words methods instead of a string:

aeneid_raw = latinlibrary.raw(aeneid_files)
aeneid_sents = latinlibrary.sents(aeneid_files)
aeneid_words = latinlibrary.words(aeneid_files)

At this point, we have our raw materials and are free to explore. So, like we did with Lesbia in Catullus, we can do the same for, say, Aeneas in the Aeneid:

import re
aeneas = re.findall(r'\bAenea[e|n|s]?\b', aeneid_raw, re.IGNORECASE)

# i.e. Return a list of matches of single words made up of 
# the letters 'Aenea' followed by the letters e, m, n, s, or nothing, and ignoring case.

>>> 236

# Note that this regex misses 'Aeneaeque' at Aen. 11.289—it is 
# important to define our regexes carefully to make sure they return
# what we expect them to return!
# A fix... 

aeneas = re.findall(r'\bAenea[e|n|s]?(que)?\b', aeneid_raw, re.IGNORECASE)
>>> 237

Aeneas appears in the Aeneid 237 times. (This matches the result found, for example, in Wetmore’s concordance.)

We are now equipped to work with the entire Latin Library corpus as well as smaller sections that we define for ourselves. There is still work to do, however, before we can ask serious research questions of this material. In a series of upcoming posts, we’ll look at a number of important preprocessing tasks that can be used to transform our unexamined text into useful data.


Working with the Latin Library Corpus in CLTK

code, tutorial

In an earlier post, I explained how to import the contents of The Latin Library as a plaintext corpus for you to use with the Classical Language Toolkit. In this post, I want to show you a quick and easy way to access this corpus (or parts of this corpus).

[This post assumes that you have already imported the Latin Library corpus as described in the earlier post and as always that you are running the latest version of CLTK on Python3. This tutorial was tested on v. 0.1.41. In addition, if you imported the Latin Library corpus in the past, I recommend that you delete and reimport the corpus as I have fixed the encoding of the plaintext files so that they are all UTF-8.]

With the corpus imported, you can access it with the following command:

from cltk.corpus.latin import latinlibrary

If we check the type, we see that our imported latinlibrary is an instance of the PlaintextCorpusReader of the Natural Language Toolkit:

>>> <class 'nltk.corpus.reader.plaintext.PlaintextCorpusReader'>

Now we have access to several useful PlaintextCorpus Reader functions that we can use to explore the corpus. Let’s look at working with the Latin Library as raw data (i.e. a very long string), a list of sentences, and a list of words.

ll_raw = latinlibrary.raw()

>>> <class 'str'>

>>> 96167304

>>> Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris

The “raw” function returns the entire text of the corpus as a string. So with a few Python string operations, we can learn the size of the Latin Library (96,167,304 characters!) and we can do other things like print slices from the string.

PlaintextCorpusReader can also return our corpus as sentences or as words:

ll_sents = latinlibrary.sents()
ll_words = latinlibrary.words()

Both of these are returned as instances of the class ‘nltk.corpus.reader.util.ConcatenatedCorpusView’, and we can work with them either directly or indirectly. (Note that this is a very large corpus and some of the commands—rest assured, I’ve marked them—will take a long time to run. In an upcoming post, I will both discuss strategies for iterating over these collections more efficiently as well as for avoiding having to wait for these results over and over again.)

# Get the total number of words (***slow***):
ll_wordcount = len(latinlibrary.words())
>>> 16667761

# Print a slice from 'words' from the concatenated view:

# Return a complete list of words (***slow***):
ll_wordlist = list(latinlibrary.words())

# Print a slice from 'words' from the list:

# Check for list membership:
test_words = ['est', 'Caesar', 'lingua', 'language', 'Library', '101', 'CI']

for word in test_words:
    if word in ll_wordlist:
        print('\'%s\' is in the Latin Library' %word)
        print('\'%s\' is *NOT* in the Latin Library' %word)

>>> 'est' is in the Latin Library
>>> 'Caesar' is in the Latin Library
>>> 'lingua' is in the Latin Library
>>> 'language' is *NOT* in the Latin Library
>>> 'Library' is in the Latin Library
>>> '101' is in the Latin Library
>>> 'CI' is in the Latin Library

# Find the most commonly occurring words in the list:
from collections import Counter
c = Counter(ll_wordlist)
>>> [(',', 1371826), ('.', 764528), ('et', 428067), ('in', 265304), ('est', 171439), (';', 167311), ('non', 156395), ('-que', 135667), (':', 131200), ('ad', 127820)]

There are 16,667,542 words in the Latin Library. Well, this is not strictly true—for one thing, the Latin word tokenizer isolates punctuation and numbers. In addition, it is worth pointing out that the plaintext Latin Library include the English header and footer information from each page. (This explains why the word “Library” tests positive for membership.) So while we don’t really have 16+ million Latin words, what we do have is a large list of tokens from a large Latin corpus. And now that we have this large list, we can “clean it up” depending on what research questions we want to ask. So, even though it is slow to create a list from the Concatenated CorpusView, once we have that list, we can perform any list operation and do so much more quickly. Remove punctuation, normalize case, remove stop words, etc. I will leave it to you to experiment with this kind of preprocessing on your own for now. (Although all of these steps will be covered in future posts.)

Much of the time, we will not want to work with the entire corpus but rather with subsets of the corpus such as the plaintext files of a single author or work. Luckily, PlaintextCorpusReader allows us to load multi-file corpora by file. In the next post, we will look at loading and working with smaller selections of the Latin Library.

CLTK: Importing the Latin Library as a Corpus


Here is quick tutorial to help users import the Latin Library as a corpus that they can use to explore the Latin language with the Classical Language Toolkit. [This tutorial assumes that you are running Python3 and the current version of the CLTK on Mac OS X (10.11). The documentation for Importing Corpora can be found here.]

Let’s begin by opening up a new session in Terminal and running Python. Type the following:

from cltk.corpus.utils.importer import CorpusImporter
corpus_importer = CorpusImporter('latin')

First, we start by importing the CLTK CorpusImporter. This is the general class used for importing any of the available CLTK corpora in any language. Next, we create an instance of the class that will specifically help us to import Latin materials. Note that CorpusImporter takes the language you want to work with as an argument, here ‘latin’.

You can get a list of the corpora for this language that are currently available by typing the following:


At the time of writing, the following corpora are available:

['latin_text_perseus', 'latin_treebank_perseus', 'latin_text_lacus_curtius', 'latin_text_latin_library', 'phi5', 'phi7', 'latin_proper_names_cltk', 'latin_models_cltk', 'latin_pos_lemmata_cltk', 'latin_treebank_index_thomisticus', 'latin_lexica_perseus', 'latin_training_set_sentence_cltk', 'latin_word2vec_cltk', 'latin_text_antique_digiliblt', 'latin_text_corpus_grammaticorum_latinorum']

We want to import  ‘latin_text_latin_library’. This corpus can be downloaded by passing the name of the corpus we want to download to the following CLTK function:


(When given a single argument, this function downloads the corpus from from the CLTK Github repo [see here] if it is available. Note that corpora can also be loaded locally by providing the filepath to the corpus as a second argument. This is covered in the documentation.)

Assuming everything runs properly, you should now have a new folder in your user directory called cltk_data and inside that directory you should have the following path: /latin/text/latin_text_latin_library/. This is where your new local Latin Library corpus is located. If you explore this folder, you will find hundreds of text files from the Latin Library ready for you to work with. In an upcoming post, I will explain some strategies for working with this corpus in CLTK projects.