Digital Text Analysis Working Group: Matt Munson, "Automatically Detecting Semantic Drift using Collocation Analysis"
If it is true, as J.R. Firth famously said, "You shall know a word by the company it keeps!," then it should be possible to track historical changes in word meaning by tracking changes in the "company the word keeps," i.e., its significant collocates. In this talk, I will present my research into tracking semantic drift in Greek words between the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the Greek New Testament. I expect that by tracking changes in word meaning as revealed in changing collocation fields I should be able to pinpoint words whose change in meaning allowed the New Testament writers to achieve the theological developments that we see from the Old Testament to the New. The talk will focus mainly on the analytical methods chosen and some very preliminary results.