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Semantics in Storytelling in Swedish Fiction

Conference paper
Authors Dimitrios Kokkinakis
Mats Malm
Jenny Bergenmar
Ann Ighe
Published in Proceedings of the Digital Access to textual Cultural Heritage (DATeCH).
Pages 6
ISBN 978-1-4503-2588-2
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Department of Swedish
Department of Economy and Society, Economic History
Pages 6
Language en
Keywords interpersonal relationships, named entity recognition, gender, social relationships, prose fiction, text mining
Subject categories Language Technology (Computational Linguistics), Computational linguistics, Linguistics


In this paper, we aim to define foundations and research questions for future large scale exploration of various types of semantic relationships in literature, namely Swedish prose fiction. More specifically, we are interested to get an in-depth understanding of storytelling in Swedish fiction by analyzing and mining the narrative discourse in a small sample of such data, focusing on interpersonal relationships and answering various questions such as how to recognize and assess gender patterns. Our intention is to apply our findings into a much larger scale in the near future in order to obtain useful insights about the social relations, structures, behavior and everyday life of characters found in literary works, thus enhancing the use of prose fiction as a source for research within the humanities and social sciences. Our work is inspired by the notions of distant reading and macroanalysis, a relatively new and often contested paradigm of literary research. In order to achieve our goal we strive for a combination of natural language processing techniques and simple visualizations that allow the user to rapidly focus on key areas of interest and provide the ability to discover latent semantic patterns and structures.

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