Mind, Technology, and Society Talk Series

Dan Jurafsky
Professor and Chair of Linguistics, Stanford University
Time/Date: 3-4:30 p.m. Monday, September 28, 2015

Chancellor’s Conference Room, KL 232

Extracting social meaning from language: the computational linguistics of food, innovation, and community


Understanding the way language reflects social meaning and interfaces with the social sciences is one of the exciting challenges of linguistics.  In this talk I apply computational linguistics to help extract and understand social meaning from texts of different sorts.  I’ll show how language can signal the crucial role that interdisciplinarity plays in the history of scientific innovation, study the way economic, social, and psychological variables are reflected in the language we use to talk about food, and show what the language of online communities can tell us about the nature of linguistic innovation across the lifespan.

Suggested reading:
Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Cristian; Robert West; Dan Jurafsky; Jure Leskovec; and Christopher Potts. 2013. “No country for old members: User lifecycle and linguistic change in online communities.” Proceedings of WWW, 2013. Best Paper Award.

Dan Jurafsky is professor and chair of linguistics and professor of computer science at Stanford University.  He is a computational linguist, with special interests in the automatic extraction of meaning from speech and text in English and Chinese, and on applying computational linguistics to the behavioral and social sciences. Dan is a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship recipient. His latest book, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, was a finalist for the 2015 James Beard Award.  He is currently working on the 3rd edition of his co-authored textbook, Speech and Language Processing. His website is http://web.stanford.edu/~jurafsky/.