One of the areas which some computational linguists are interested in is what is sometimes calledstylometrics. In this field, linguistic features of texts are analysed to make attributions of authorship. The use of computers has made it possible to apply these techniques in a precise and quantitative way.
Although J.K.Rowling has outed herself as author of the novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, in the period where this was a matter for speculation a leader in the field of stylometrics looked at the evidence. Patrick Juola has written an account of his investigation published via the wonderful Language Log.
Juola looked at a rather small body of data (by the standards of computational linguists these days), but he did include samples from a number of writers for comparison (known in the trade as ‘distractors’). His results, as he explains scrupulously, do not lead to a clear attribution of authorship; they do point to Rowling as the most likely author, and they pretty much rule out all the other authors included.
It’s an interesting read, giving a flavour of what people do with computers and language, and also the limitations of this sort of approach. Any students (or potential students) reading this and feeling twinges of interest should note that I teach an introduction to computational linguistics every second year (offered again in 2014). Feel free to enrol!
Monash Chinese Studies students awarded study scholarships in language competition
Last week saw Monash Arts students win the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Language Proficiency Competition for Foreign University … Continue reading Monash Chinese Studies students awarded study scholarships in language competition
Strong Monash line-up at the Melbourne Writers Festival
Monash University academics are well represented at the Melbourne Writers Festival, a two-week celebration of … Continue reading Strong Monash line-up at the Melbourne Writers Festival
Research Interview: Japanese Studies’ Jason Jones
Dr Jason Jones, Japanese Studies lecturer at Monash University. Want to know how the Japanese language, … Continue reading Research Interview: Japanese Studies’ Jason Jones
Grey dawn or the twilight years? Let’s talk about growing old
Kate Burridge, Monash University and Réka Benczes, Monash University The most recent National Press Club … Continue reading Grey dawn or the twilight years? Let’s talk about growing old
Slanguage and ‘dinky di’ Aussie talk in elections
Howard Manns, Monash University Co-written with Kate Burridge Bill Shorten’s been telling us he wants … Continue reading Slanguage and ‘dinky di’ Aussie talk in elections
Hustings and human speech (failings) in a 24/7 campaign
Kate Burridge, Monash University Co-authored with Howard Manns Lengthy elections grow tedious for everyone and, … Continue reading Hustings and human speech (failings) in a 24/7 campaign
The vaudeville, impact and substance of political name-calling
Howard Manns, Monash University Scott Morrison would have us think politics is more war than … Continue reading The vaudeville, impact and substance of political name-calling
The ‘wells’, ‘looks’ and vibe of Australian debating: language to look for on Sunday
Howard Manns, Monash University I would never claim to be a suppository of wisdom but … Continue reading The ‘wells’, ‘looks’ and vibe of Australian debating: language to look for on Sunday
Monash Chinese Studies students win first and second places in language competition
Two of Chinese Studies’ students, Sean Hyatt and Tristan McCarthy, recently won the first and second places respectively at the 15th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Language Proficiency Competition for Foreign University Students.
Good political slogans and this year’s, meh, yawn, failings
Howard Manns, Monash University, (Co-written with Kate Burridge) One of this piece’s authors (Howard Manns), … Continue reading Good political slogans and this year’s, meh, yawn, failings
Monash in Focus: Kate Brabon, Vogel’s Award winner
Monash in Focus recently featured Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner Kate Brabon. Kate is a PhD … Continue reading Monash in Focus: Kate Brabon, Vogel’s Award winner
The linguistic dirt on that dirty little word tax
By Kate Burridge and Howard Manns The word tax (and words derived from it like … Continue reading The linguistic dirt on that dirty little word tax