Please join us on Oct 28 from 4-5 PM on Zoom for a talk by Dr. Patrícia Amaral (Indiana University): "Lexical and grammatical change in Spanish: Some insights from distributional semantics."
Abstract: In recent years, researchers investigating changes in word meaning have employed computational methods to identify instances of change and to obtain objective and replicable measures of semantic shifts over time (Hamilton et al. 2016, Rodda et al. 2017; see Tang 2018, Tahmasebi et al. 2018 for overviews). Distributional methods, based on the seminal work of Harris (1954), rely on the assumption that semantic similarity among words is measured by similarity in contexts of use. In this talk I will present findings from some of my recent work on semantic change in Spanish using distributional methods, specifically word embeddings. I will present results from a study on the diachrony of algo as well as on the grammaticalization of some concessive connectives in Spanish. I will also discuss how these methods compare to other more established methodologies in the field (e.g. variationist studies of language change) and their potential contributions to historical linguistics.
Given the novelty of word embedding models in historical research, assessing the validity of these methods, especially given the reduced corpora available for older stages of the languages, has been one issue of concern. I will mention some recent work addressing this problem and the results obtained so far for Portuguese and Spanish data.
This talk will be held on Zoom. Please register in order to receive the Zoom link: