“Vaderland”, “Volk” and “Natie”: Semantic Change Related to Nationalism in Dutch Literature Between 1700 and 1880 Captured with Dynamic Bernoulli Word Embeddings

Marije Timmermans*, Eva Vanmassenhove, Dimitar Shterionov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Languages can respond to external events in various ways - the creation of new words or named entities, additional senses might develop for already existing words or the valence of words can change. In this work, we explore the semantic shift of the Dutch words “natie” (“nation”), “volk” (“people”) and “vaderland” (“fatherland”) over a period that is known for the rise of nationalism in Europe: 1700-1880 (Jensen, 2016). The semantic change is measured by means of Dynamic Bernoulli Word Embeddings (Rudolph and Blei, 2018) which allow for comparison between word embeddings over different time slices. The word embeddings were generated based on Dutch fiction literature divided over different decades. From the analysis of the absolute drifts, it appears that the word “natie” underwent a relatively small drift. However, the drifts of “vaderland” and “volk” show multiple peaks, culminating around the turn of the nineteenth century. To verify whether this semantic change can indeed be attributed to nationalistic movements, a detailed analysis of the nearest neighbours of the target words is provided. From the analysis, it appears that “natie”, “volk” and “vaderland” became more nationalistically-loaded over time.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLChange 2022
Subtitle of host publication3rd International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change 2022
EditorsNina Tahmasebi, Syrielle Montariol, Andrey Kutuzov, Simon Hengchen, Haim Dubossarsky, Lars Borin
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages125-130
Number of pages6
Volume3
ISBN (Electronic)9781955917421
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event3rd International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change, LChange 2022 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 26 May 202227 May 2022

Publication series

NameLChange 2022 - 3rd International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change 2022, Proceedings of the Workshop

Conference

Conference3rd International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change, LChange 2022
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period26/05/2227/05/22

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