Change is Key! is a research program in which we aim to create computational tools to turn text into a story of both our language, our societies and culture and how these have changed over time.

Firstly, we will develop corpus-based methods for detecting semantic change (over time) and variation (across social groups and media types). This will create general tools for the study and detection of language change at large-scale and directly benefit historical linguistics and lexicography. Secondly, in collaboration with researchers from each field, we aim to answer research questions in social sciences, gender studies, and literary studies.

The program spans six years (2022 - 2027) with a total of 11 researchers, one research engineer and six partner universities.

In 2023, we will co-organize the fourth edition of International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change, (LChange'23) that will be co-located with EMNLP'23. We co-organized the third workshop edition (LChange'22) held at ACL2022.

This research program is funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond under reference number M21-0021 for a total of 33.5 Million SEK.


Diachronic Semantics and Lexical Variation
July 2023 – July 2023 Braga Summer School in Linguistics 2023, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Dirk Geeraerts gave this course introducing diachronic (lexical) semantics to an international audience of PhD students. Descriptively speaking, the course integrated a semasiological and an onomasiological perspective and theoretically speaking, it explored the impact of cognitive linguistics on historical semantics. The framework was illustrated with case studies focusing on prototypicality effects, and on metonymical and metaphorical patterns. In addition, the course introduced current methodological developments that exploit computational distributional methods for modelling semantic change.
Bill Noble is joining Change is Key!
August 2023 – August 2023 Gothenburg, Sweden
Bill Noble is joining Change is Key! as a researcher. In May, he completed his PhD with the Centre for Linguistic Theory and Studies in Probability (CLASP) at the University of Gothenburg, where he worked on semantic change in interaction. At Change is Key! he will work on developing models and datasets for many-timepoint change detection.
We are presenting at DH2023
July 2023 – July 2023

We are pleased to announce the acceptance of a paper titled “Going to the market together: A presentation of a mixed methods project” by Claes Ohlsson, Shafqat Mumtaz Virk, Henrik Björck, Leif Runefelt, and Nina Tahmasebi in the project “The market language”, which is one of the associated projects of the ChangeIsKey. The paper has been selected for presentation at the workshop “Twin Talks DH2023” to be held on 10 July at the University of Graz.

The paper describes collaboration between researchers in history of concepts, linguistic discourse analysis and computational linguistics. The workshop “Twin Talks DH2023” serves as an exceptional platform for sharing and exchanging ideas within the digital humanities domain. Held at the University of Graz, the event brings together scholars, experts, and enthusiasts to explore emerging trends and engage in meaningful dialogues.

We are hiring
April 2023 – May 2023 Gothenburg, Sweden
David Alfter is joining as postdoc
March 2023 – February 2025 Gothenburg, Sweden
David Alfter joins the project as a postdoc. David received his PhD in Language Technology in 2021 from the University of Gothenburg and has been working as postdoc in Belgium from 2021 to 2023. Within the project, David will work on sense differentiation.
Francesco Periti is visiting us
February 2023 – May 2023 Gothenburg, Sweden
Francesco Periti is visiting us in Gothenburg during the spring semester. Francesco is a 2nd-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science, from the University of Milan interested in Computational Approaches for Lexical Semantic Change Detection (LSCD). During his visit, Francesco will investigate the use of contextualized language models for LSC detection.
Pierluigi Cassotti is visiting us
February 2023 – May 2023 Gothenburg, Sweden
Pierluigi Cassotti is visiting us in Gothenburg during the spring semester. He is a 3rd-year Ph.D. student from the University of Bari interested in Computational Approaches for Lexical Semantic Change Detection (LSCD). While at Change is Key!, he will work on LSCD in a multilingual setting, exploiting and analyzing state-of-the-art LSCD approaches to overcome recurrent issues emerging when the approaches are evaluated.
We are looking for a Postdoc for Change is Key!
May 2022 – May 2022 Gothenburg, Sweden
We announced a 2-year postdoc position at the University of Gothenburg within the Change is Key! program. The theme is lexical semantic change detection for multiple (up to hundreds of) time periods. You can either have an NLP background with interest in graph models and probabilistic methods, or, be a mathematician with interest in state-of-the-art NLP. The position is to start in August 2022 or upon agreement.
LChange'22 in conjunction with ACL2022
May 2022 – May 2022 Dublin, Ireland

LChange'22 is the third workshop for computational approaches to historical language change with the focus on digital text corpora. This year, the workshop will feature a shared task on semantic change detection for Spanish.

Come join us for this exciting adventure!

Blog entry for Change is Key!
November 2020 – November 2020 Gothenburg, Sweden
There is a blog entry describing some of our program goals.
Change is Key! got funded!!
October 2020 – November 2020
We got funding for our program from RJ! A total of 33.5 Million SEK (3.2 Million euro) over 6 years. We will start in 2022.

Recent Events and Talks

Recent Publications

(2023). XL-LEXEME: WiC Pretrained Model for Cross-Lingual LEXical sEMantic changE. XL-LEXEME.

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(2023). Human and Computational Measurement of Lexical Semantic Change. University of Stuttgart.

(2023). A Survey on Contextualised Semantic Shift Detection. Survey of Contextualized Semantic Shift Detection.

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(2023). Computational modeling of semantic change. Computational modeling of semantic change.

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(2023). The Finer They Get: Combining Fine-Tuned Models For Better Semantic Change Detection. The Finer They Get.

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(2022). DiaWUG: A Dataset for Diatopic Lexical Semantic Variation in Spanish. DiaWUG.

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(2021). LSCDiscovery: A shared task on semantic change discovery and detection in Spanish. LSCDiscovery.


(2021). Survey of computational approaches to lexical semantic change detection . Survey of semantic change.