Research Seminar Abstracts

Fall 2016

Existential questions about the digital

Kim Solin (Uppsala University)


The existentialist philosophers of the last century dealt with questions concerning our authentic existence. The basis is the insight that man is not just an object among other objects. Related to this are questions of peripheral and ultimate interests, of authentic versus inauthentic language, acts, and relations to others, and of identity. What does this mean in the digital age? I shall sketch a few of the basic existentialist themes and consider how they manifest themselves in our contemporary digital existence.

Contexts and cotexts: What changes when a word’s meaning changes

Antti Kanner (University of Helsinki)


In the coming presentation with the subtitle What changes when a word’s meaning changes” I have meant two different things: the first one has to do with intensional content of the concept of meaning change and the other one with changes in statistics that are used to infer that a meaning change has occured, especially in corpus linguistics. While I concentrate mostly on the latter I try to deal with the first one as well. My approach is closely tied to distinction referred to in the main title.

Context and cotext are concepts in the forefront of computational methods used in studying semantics. In the field of computational linguistics - maybe following the Firthian tradition - the term context is used to refer to what I in this presentation will describe as a cotext: an immediate textual environment of the tokens of the researched items. More common in humanities in general is an interpretation which gives context the meaning of everything that is relevant to the context beside the linguistic form itself: medium, mode and participators of interaction, conceptual structures and social connotations implied by the linguistic forms present and so forth.

In my presentation I will look at some computational methods, especially ones utilising the so called word space approach, used to study semantics and try to address their interpretations in terms of questions relating to cotexts and contexts. Besides referring to studies by others, I will also present some preliminary results from my own research on a meaning change seen in the Finnish 19th century Newspaper Corpus.

On innovation and education

Inés Matres (University of Helsinki)


I will introduce my research on how digital cultural heritage knowledge is produced in lukio classrooms and my current fieldwork. I will start by some concept definitions: what is digital cultural heritage for me and for the participants of my study (so far only a handful of teachers but soon, their students) and I will then present my ongoing collaboration with the National Library of Finland, which has taught me a lot about how newspapers and historical newspapers fit in the scenario presented by my main research question.

I will be glad to discuss about these concepts with the group, especially teaching and learning, concepts I am still developing, which is why I have invited two professionals on educational research: Sirkku Kupiainen, from the University of Helsinki and Miikka Salavuo, founder of Tabletkoulu.