Re: Corpora: rotagraph

From: Martin Wynne (
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 12:31:31 MET DST

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    I thought this would be a good chance to try out a web search engine as
    a lexicographic research tool.

    I searched for the word 'rotagraph' on altavista (over the whole web,
    in any language) and didn't come up with any uses in the sense which
    Pieter described. There were however the following:

    Rotagraph appears to be in current use as a mathematical term, especially used
    in optical technology - from :

    Rotagraphs and Fasciagraphs

    Further on we shall assume the uniformity of the monographs and edges
    connecting them (e.g. all monographs should be the same and all the
    sets of edges should be the same). An appropriate polygraph with closed
    ends is called a rotagraph and an appropriate polygraph with open ends
    is called a fasciagraph.

    A rotagraph can be constructed using cycles as well: we take a cycle on
    n vertices as a skeleton graph and replace each vertex with a
    monograph. We add a set of edges between two adjacent monographs and,
    voila, a rotagraph. A fasciagraph can be obtained in a similar way,
    only using a path on n edges as a skeleton graph.

    And also in cinema animation, from an interview with a
    Hollywood animator

    The Site: How have things changed over those 90 years? How did
    they use to do it in the early 1900s?

    Loeb: In the early 1900s, things were just getting invented, so
    things worked in all sorts of ways. People would just cut where the
    animation came in, or later on, a technique was invented by Max
    Fleischer called Rotagraph, where they actually projected the live
    action film onto a screen, and then they would put the animated
    drawing on top of it, and then it was re-photographed frame by
    frame. So it was sort of mixed right there on a piece of glass.

    I tried all of the other search engines listed at
    Some came up with different hits but no new meanings.
    Direct hit ( came up with an
    apparently unrelated but orthographically close trademark

    Rotagraphics, the three sided moving message/graphics display system
    designed to give maximum of space. The unique cascading effect provides
    a constantly changing attention generating visual that attracts your
    target market.

    Perhaps we can conclude that while the web certainly has its uses for
    this sort of thing, it is not the best place to search for terms
    associated with early 20th century technology!

    Martin Wynne
    Coordinator, TRACTOR Network

    Institut für Deutsche Sprache & Corpus Research Group, School of English, Birmingham University

    Tel: 0121 414 2763 Fax: 0121 414 5668


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