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How Computers Parse the Ambiguity of Everyday Language

June 29, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If you’re one of the 2.4 million Twitter followers of the Hamilton impresario Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’ve come to expect a delightful stream of observations, including tweets capturing conversations with his son Sebastian, now 3 years old. Earlier this month, Miranda offered one such exchange under the title, “S’MORES. A Real-Life...

Why Would the President of the United States, Like, Tweet This Way?

January 8, 2018 Donald Trump triggered yet another round of furious Twitterology this weekend when, in the midst of a tweetstorm defending himself against Michael Wolff’s blockbuster book, Fire and Fury, Trump declared that “throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” That, plus the...

Can Forensic Linguistics Pin Down the Author of a Trump Tweet?

December 8, 2017 On Saturday, a single tweet from Donald Trump—or at least one from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account—seemed to turn everyone into an amateur forensic linguist, sifting for textual clues. Forty words (and an exclamation point) were enough to set off a frenzy of analysis: “I had to fire General Flynn because...

Bigger, better Google Ngrams: Brace yourself for the power of grammar

October 18, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Back in December 2010, Google unveiled an online tool for analyzing the history of language and culture as reflected in the gargantuan corpus of historical texts that have been scanned and digitized as part of the Google Books project. They called the interface the Ngram Viewer, and it was launched...