Mining the UK Web Archive for Semantic Change Detection

Semantic change detection (i.e., identifying words whose meaning has changed over time) started emerging as a growing area of research over the past decade, with important downstream applications in natural language processing, historical linguistics and computational social science. However, several obstacles make progress in the domain slow and difficult... These pertain primarily to the lack of well-established gold standard datasets, resources to study the problem at a fine-grained temporal resolution, and quantitative evaluation approaches. In this work, we aim to mitigate these issues by (a) releasing a new labelled dataset of more than 47K word vectors trained on the UK Web Archive over a short time-frame (2000-2013); (b) proposing a variant of Procrustes alignment to detect words that have undergone semantic shift; and (c) introducing a rank-based approach for evaluation purposes. Through extensive numerical experiments and validation, we illustrate the effectiveness of our approach against competitive baselines. Finally, we also make our resources publicly available to further enable research in the domain. read more

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