[Corpora-List] Network analysis

Alexander Mehler Mehler at em.uni-frankfurt.de
Fri Nov 14 18:57:57 CET 2008

Dear Albrecht,

may I mention that empirical studies on linguistic networks show that they behave quite differently as "small worlds" so that they can be made an object of "network classification". I have recently studied this in a paper:

Alexander Mehler (2008): Structural Similarities of Complex Networks: A Computational Model by Example of Wiki Graphs. Applied Artificial Intelligence 22(7&8), 619-683. http://valian.kgf.uni-frankfurt.de/mehler/pdf/Applied_Artificial_Inteligence.pdf

May I also mention a handbook article on linguistic networks in which I summarize approaches to linguistic networks:


author={Alexander Mehler},

title={Large Text Networks as an Object of Corpus Linguistic Studies},

booktitle={Corpus Linguistics. {An} International Handbook of the Science of

Language and Society},

publisher={De Gruyter},



address={Berlin/New York},

editor={Anke L{\"u}deling and Merja Kyt{\"o}}, } http://valian.kgf.uni-frankfurt.de/mehler/pdf/Mehler_2007_a.pdf

I hope this helps a little bit to get information about this kind of research.

Best wishes,


Zitat von "Dom Widdows" <widdows at google.com>:

> Dear Albrecht,
> In general I share you skepticism about finding small world networks
> everywhere, it seems to have become quite the in thing. (I happen to
> know that there are more than 6 degrees of separation between myself
> and Julius Caesar.)
> However, I wouldn't be too hasty to use ambiguity as evidence against
> a networked model of the lexicon. A good piece of work that analyzed
> this can be found in the PNAS paper of Sigman and Cecch:
> http://www.isrl.uiuc.edu/~amag/langev/paper/sigman02pnas.html
> Beate Dorow and I have worked on this over the years, Beate's
> dissertation and Chapter 4 of "Geometry and Meaning" summarize a lot
> of findings. During this time, I started referring to ambiguous words
> in graphs as "semantic wormholes" - the fact that "change" can refer
> to different things enables you to join very distant parts of semantic
> space in a couple of hops. Ambiguity actually contributes to the
> connectedness of the graph - the thing you have to give up is the
> notion of transitivity in relationships, or any kind of triangle
> inequality in measuring distance. Either you need to split all your
> ambiguous words into separate nodes in the graph, or alternatively,
> accept that if nodes represent words which are ambiguous, distances
> are not measuring anything like distances in a metric space.
> This phenomenon is often used in making jokes, as your change example
> demonstrates.
> Perhaps my favourite of these goes something like this:
> Eager Young Minister: "Day to day, I find all the inspiration I need
> in the words of John and Paul."
> Elderly Bishop: "I quite agree ... though in my old age I've also come
> to a fresh appreciation for the words of George and Ringo."
> I like this one particularly because you have two semantic wormhole
> nodes pivotting in phase with each other ... though I suspect this
> analysis would rather ruin the joke for most people (which I why I put
> the joke first!)
> Best wishes,
> Dominic
> On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 3:51 PM, Albretch Mueller <lbrtchx at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Even though small-world networks may suffice to model some network
>> connections, in general and in particular regarding linguistics, I
>> could simply see some, as they say, "questionable" issues regarding
>> the relationships among words, in a dictionary or in corpora, as
>> "small-worlds networks" and I would assume you mean the direct (,
>> naive) and straight word-to-word immediate connection of words. Here
>> are just two points:
>> ~
>> * researchers have long suspected that just immediate, consecutive
>> immediacy does not best describe NLs even if text and talk are are
>> sequential. This is one of the reasons why they use Syntax Trees
>> ~
>> * also, even if you would build a DS to describe the huge amount of
>> Direct (or inverted) Acyclic Graphs (ADGs) sprouting out of and
>> sinking into every word, many relationships stated and/or latent (yet
>> describable) happen while communicating which are neither direct nor
>> acyclic, e. g., jokes and metaphors
>> ~
>> The other day I saw a homeless person on the streets with a sign,
>> that read: "I am like Obama, I want change."
>> ~
>> change as meant by Obama: in the US government/society
>> ~
>> change as it pertains to money: a small amount (a few coins) you may spare
>> ~
>> Now, this person was using more than just a sentence -language- to
>> persuasively entertain a joke (, which could be read differently by
>> different kinds of people) and the relationship he expressed was quite
>> a bit more engaging than the Aristotelian, linear/proportional one in
>> "the spring of life ..." referring to our youth ...
>> ~
>> How well -if possibly- would SWNs model these NL expressions?
>> ~
>> lbrtchx
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-- Dr. Alexander Mehler Abteilung für geisteswissenschaftliche Fachinformatik / Department for Computing in the Humanities Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main Georg-Voigt-Straße 4 D-60325 Frankfurt am Main Postfach / P.O. Box: 154 Tel.: +49-69-798-28921 Fax.: +49-69-798-28931 Email: Mehler at em.uni-frankfurt.de Web: http://hucompute.org

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