22 August: William Hamilton

16 August 2017  •  Svenja Wagner

Negativity and Semantic Change

William L. Hamilton (Stanford University)

Tuesday 22 08 2017, 11:00–12:30
1.17 Dugald Stewart Building

It is often argued that natural language is biased towards negative differentiation, meaning that there is more lexical diversity in negative affectual language, compared to positive language. However, we lack an understanding of the diachronic linguistic mechanisms associated with negative differentiation. In this talk, I will review key concepts related to negative differentiation and discuss how I am using diachronic word embeddings to test whether negative lexical items are more semantically unstable than positive ones. Preliminary results suggest that rates of semantic change are faster for negative affectual language, compared to positive language. I will finish my talk by discussing some practical consequences of this positive/negative asymmetry for sentiment analysis tools.

PhD for Mark Atkinson

31 October 2016  •  Kenny Smith

Congratulations to Dr Mark Atkinson, who was formally awarded his PhD today – Mark’s thesis was titled “Sociocultural determination of linguistic complexity”, he was supervised by Kenny Smith and Simon Kirby and examined by Rick Dale and Joe Fruehwald.

We’re evolving!

6 May 2016  •  Jon Carr

The Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit was established back in 1997 by Jim Hurford and Simon Kirby, and has grown substantially since then to become (we think) the world’s leading group of researchers working on language origins and evolution. To reflect our increased size, and also the increased breadth of the techniques we use (we still build computational models, but it’s not all we do), we’ve decided to rebrand as the Centre for Language Evolution.

Welcome to our new home on the internet!