Digital Humanities Marathon: Digital Linguistics

Disciplinary Frontiers

Digital Humanities and Disciplinary Frontiers

Dr Simon Musgrave, Monash University

Interdisciplinarity is seen as central to Digital Humanities by many practitioners, but not all possibilities for collaboration are seen as equally central. I will explore this issue by introducing three areas of my current research which use Vector Space Models, a mathematically rigorous implementation of distributional semantic analysis built using machine learning techniques. One project looks at word formation and semantics and is very much internal to the discipline of linguistics; one looks at the relation between semantics and cognition and is located at the boundary of linguistics and cognitive science; the third uses semantic analysis to explore literary texts, an interdisciplinary endeavour. I think of each project as part of Digital Humanities, but I am not sure that others would agree, and I will end by speculating about perceptions of interdisciplinarity as essential to the Digital Humanities enterprise: what are our expectations about the nature of such frontier-crossing?

Simon Musgrave is a lecturer in linguistics at Monash University who locates much of his work in recent years in the field of Digital Humanities continuing a longstanding interest in the use of computational tools for linguistic research. This interest has been focused recently on the use of Vector Space Models for semantic analysis, including collaborating in textual analysis with scholars in other disciplines. Other current research projects include developing combinatorial search strategies for corpus-based study of pragmatic phenomena and exploiting the affordances of online presentation to make grammatical description more accessible.

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