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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Shakespearean Authorship Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0772  Wednesday, 4 April 2001

From:           Paul Maddox <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Mar 2001 22:19:56 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 12.0728 Re: Shakespearean Authorship Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0728 Re: Shakespearean Authorship Research

Hi Mike,

> > However my program does not compare words, it compares word catagories.
> > Hence such things as spelling errors and rare words are minimised.
> Why is this desirable?  If Shakespeare, to cite a common example, tends

Using word catagories rather that words makes the comparison more
generic.  This is particularly useful for comparing documents with
slightly different content.

> to spell the word *Oh* with the first letter only (O), your program
> tends not to take this fact into account.  Is that correct?  If so, what
> is the advantage of this when making your authorship comparisons?

Interestingly, the tagger I use defines 'o' and 'oh' differently, hence
my program would take that into consideration. I think that's more
through luck than anything else.

> down in the specific, let's have a peek at the general.  If in those 14
> lines you find several other poetic conventions common at the time, you
> will still get a low statistical number (meaning a high degree of
> linguistic commonality).  True?  If so, your program may still suggest
> common authorship, but might it not instead suggest two authors who used
> si

Yes, you're right in saying this. I've yet to compare various sonnets by
hand to see if the tagger negates this problem. For instance it may be
that a common convention may be:

(determiner) (adjective) (adjective) (noun) (verb)

However, my program may classify this as:

(determiner) (adjective superlative) (noun plural) (verb, past
participle)

which is very different to:

(determiner) (adjective comparative) (noun singular) (verb past tense)

In literary terms however, both of my complex examples may be considered
similar. This is perhaps the advantage of my program: that it compares
on a purely scientific basis.

> About your comparison of Shakespeare with Shakespeare, Bacon with Bacon,
> etc., Did you compare every Shakespearean sonnet with every other?
> Every de Vere?  Every Bacon?  Then every poem by one author, with every
> poem by the others, or did you just sample?

I compared every sonnet with every other, for the sets you describe. I
thought I sent a mail out with the results of those tests, it may have
been moderated though.

On a general note, my apologies to anyone expecting a reply, I've not
been rude, I have replied to all emails I've received. I think replying
to multiple posters in one email may have come back to haunt me in the
moderating process.

All the best,
Paul

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