Metaphor, popular science, and semantic tagging: Distant reading with the Historical Thesaurus of English

Alexander, M. , Dallachy, F. , Piao, S., Baron, A. and Rayson, P. (2015) Metaphor, popular science, and semantic tagging: Distant reading with the Historical Thesaurus of English. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, (doi: 10.1093/llc/fqv045)

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The use of metaphor in popular science is widespread to aid readers’ conceptions of the scientific concepts under discussion. Almost all research in this area has been done by careful close reading of the text(s) in question, but this article describes—for the first time—a digital ‘distant reading’ analysis of popular science, using a system created by a team from Glasgow and Lancaster. This team, as part of the SAMUELS project, has developed semantic tagging software which is based upon the UCREL Semantic Analysis System developed by Lancaster University’s University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language, but using the uniquely comprehensive Historical Thesaurus of English (published in 2009 as The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary) as its knowledge base, in order to provide fine-grained meaning distinctions for use in word-sense disambiguation. In addition to analyzing metaphors in highly abstract book-length popular science texts from physics and mathematics, this article describes the technical underpinning to the system and the methods employed to hone the word-sense disambiguation procedure.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Alexander, Professor Marc and Dallachy, Dr Fraser
Authors: Alexander, M., Dallachy, F., Piao, S., Baron, A., and Rayson, P.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
Publisher:Oxford University Press on behalf of EADH
ISSN (Online):2055-768X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Author
First Published:First published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
648941Semantic Annotation and Mark Up for Enhancing Lexical Searches (SAMUELS)Marc AlexanderArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/L010062/1CRIT - ENGLISH LANGUAGE