Searching for linguistic signs of cognitive deterioration

In our research group, we are exploring ways of analysing language to find early signs of possible cognitive impairment, which may develop to dementia. Dementia is a condition that affects people all around the world, and the risk of developing it increases with age. There are several different types of dementia, but the most common one is Alzheimer’s disease. This disease causes deterioration of cognitive functions, and one of the first symptoms tends to be problems with short-term memory. Language is also …

Grym och häftig ordförändring

Ord kan förändra sina betydelser. Man behöver inte en doktorgrad i språkvetenskap för att upptäcka att grym i (1) betyder inte samma sak som i (2). (1) — Ja, så här grym kan fotbollen vara. Tyvärr, menade Gefles tränare Lennart ’Liston’ Söderberg. Dagens Nyheter 1987-05-18 (2) Jag hörde inte vad mina lagspelare sa, om de kallade på mig eller minsta lilla, för det var en sådan skön och grym stämning. Svenska Dagbladet 2013-09-03 Det finns dock en del svårare frågor. Finns det …

Using Språkbanken corpora in NLTK

At Språkbanken we collect resources, mainly lexica and corpora, most of them in Swedish. So far we have collected Swedish corpora totalling 13 billions of words, in all kinds of genres and from all time periods. Most of our corpora are not manually annotated, and the ones that are annotated usually have only one kind of annotation (e.g., part of speech, lemmas, dependency structures, constituent structure, etc). To be able to use the same tools to analyse any corpus, we have devised …

The Kubhist corpus of Swedish newspapers

Among the flurry of Språkbanken’s historical resources we find the Kubhist corpus – a diachronic collection of historical newspaper texts – in two versions: Kubhist 1 spanning the time period of 1750–1950, and Kubhist 2 spanning the time period of 1645–1926. Historical corpora of this kind, especially when available in searchable format, are valuable sources of information for learning about our history, language and culture. These are especially appealing for researchers coming from the digital humanities who study history, literature, linguistics, sociology …

How difficult is a word?

One of the most central aspects of language learning is the learning of words. Casual observation tells us that a learner with a knowledge of the relevant words can get a message across to native speakers, even without much grasp of grammatical structure above word level, whereas for somebody with the opposite distribution of language skills, this will typically not work out. Learners can be beginners, intermediate or advanced in their studies of a language. When creating exercises for language learners, it …

Vad är en tsunami för slags våg egentligen?

Ordet tsunami var helt okänt för de flesta i Sverige före julhelgen 2004. Då inträffade ju det som så småningom kom att kallas tsunamikatastrofen, en förfärlig naturkatastrof som skördade otaliga dödsoffer i Sydasien och Sydostasien. Det är klart att en tsunami är en sorts våg, men vilken sorts våg handlar det om? Hur talade man om detta naturfenomen på svenska före 2004? I fackkretsar – bland seismologer, etc. – har man förstås länge känt till ordet tsunami, men även i allmänspråket dyker …