Shifts in language and culture: computational approaches to variation and change
October 5-7, 2022
, Tallinn University, Estonia

Variation and change are universal phenomena of both language and culture. The research objects of humanities – human culture, behavior and communication – are by nature continually undergoing diversification and shifts. Additionally, the rise of global online communication in recent decades has added an unprecedented dimension to these dynamics, as access to wider public outside one’s immediate communities is in everyone’s reach, digital channels have taken over some of the functions of oral communication, and new ways of interaction have evolved. These new channels and modes of communication – chat and comment platforms, online and hybrid gaming, teaching, events and metaverses – present researchers of human behavior with new opportunities and challenges, both conceptual and methodological.

Born-digital data may be easier to collect, but its volumes often require considered decisions in sampling the material for research purposes and curating collections of the digital era in archives and museums. It may also demand computational skills and resources to adequately quantify, analyze and interpret. The development and adoption of methods for the study of big data enables not only new avenues of linguistics and cultural data analysis, but the methodological advances are likely to be applicable to the study of more traditional, historical and digitized sources of humanities data.

The conference has three interrelated aims: to provide a platform for presenting computational humanities research in an multidisciplinary setting, provide digital methods training in the form of practical workshops, and foster networking and collaboration between diverse researchers in the local, regional and global scope.