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Conference Paper

Semantic Change and Emerging Tropes In a Large Corpus of New High German Poetry


Haider,  Thomas
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Haider, T., & Eger, S. (2019). Semantic Change and Emerging Tropes In a Large Corpus of New High German Poetry. In Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change, Florence. https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W19-4727 (pp. 216-222).

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-6F86-7
Due to its semantic succinctness and novelty of expression, poetry is a great test bed for semantic change analysis. However, so far here is a scarcity of large diachronic corpora. Here, we provide a large corpus of German poetry which consists of about 75k poems with more than 11 million tokens, with poems
ranging from the 16th to early 20th century. We then track semantic change in this corpus by investigating the rise of tropes (`love is magic') over time and detecting change points of meaning, which we find to occur particularly within the German Romantic period. Additionally, through self-similarity, we reconstruct literary periods and find evidence that the law of linear semantic
change also applies to poetry.