Statistic and Statistical Mechanics Approach to Semantic Drift of Words in Modern and Contemporary Languages

Project Leader
MOCHIHASHI Daichi (The Institute of Statistical Mathematics)
Project Period
April 2019 - March 2022


The meaning of words in modern or contemporary languages is not temporally uniform but is continually changing over time. Therefore, it is of great importance to empirically investigate (a) which words are changing their meanings and (b) how these changes have occurred.

By using diachronic corpora, such as those provided by NINJAL, we can approach the problems above quantitatively through text analysis. In this project, we plan: (1) to develop a novel statistical model to enable these analyses and (2), as a theoretical basis for this approach, to build a statistical mechanics model of numerous language users who change the meaning of words due to a neighbors’ influence. Research will be conducted by a cross-sectional team from the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Tokyo Metropolitan University, and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

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