Research Initiative for Computational Analysis of Linguistic Development (CALD)

Research Initiative for Computational Analysis of Linguistic Development (CALD)

The Research Initiative for Computational Analysis of Linguistic Development (CALD) at the University of Konstanz brings together researchers from three disciplines:

  • Computational Linguistics
  • Databases, Data Mining, and Visualization
  • Typology & Historical Linguistics.

In recent years a new interdisciplinary field sometimes referred to as “evolutionary dynamics” has increasingly attracted the joint attention of researchers from a variety of established disciplines such as historical linguistics, computer science, evolutionary biology, genetics, anthropology, and archaeology. One of the most interesting and challenging issues out of this field is the evolution of human language which shows to have some similarities with biological evolution but some crucial differences as well.

The amount and complexity of languages as well as their complex relations and interactions make the exploration of language evolution a demanding challenge for research. Computer modelling and visualization of linguistic developments are therefore gaining importance, possibly revealing developmental patterns whose perception would otherwise remain vague and impressionistic or go unrecognized in the sea of detail. Both internal and external history, relating to mental grammars and speech communities respectively, are of interest.

In a joint effort we aim to develop new analytic and visualization techniques for relating the available data on speech-community and grammar/lexicon histories, to measure structural and historical "distances", and to model linguistically realistic developmental scenarios.

CALD Research Initiative Members

Research Directors


Prof. Dr. Miriam Butt, Computational Linguistics
Department of Linguitics
Prof. Dr. Daniel Keim, Databases, Data Mining, and Visualization
Department of Computer and Information Science
Prof. Dr. Frans Plank, Typology and Historical Linguistics
Department of Linguistics

Staff Members


Annette Hautli, Computational Linguistics, Lexical Semantics
Department of Linguistics

Christian Rohrdantz, Databases, Data Mining, and Visualization
Department of Computer and Information Science

Florian Schönhuber, Typology and Language Change
Department of Linguistics

Thomas Mayer, Computational Linguistics, Typology
Department of Linguistics

Former Members


Astrid Kraehenmann, Phonetics and Phonology, Language Change, Germanic Languages
Manu Raster, Computational Linguistics, and Indo-European Linguistics
Michael Spagnol, Semitic Linguistics and Typology
Tikaram Poudel, South Asian linguistics, with a particular emphasis on the languages of Nepal.

Publications & Talks

Rohrdantz, Christian, Annette Hautli, Thomas Mayer, Miriam Butt, Frans Plank and Daniel A. Keim. 2011. Towards Tracking Semantic Change by Visual Analytics. In Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (Short Papers), 305--310, 2011. [pdf]

Mayer, Thomas, Christian Rohrdantz, Frans Plank, Miriam Butt, & Daniel A. Keim. 2011. A Quantitative Approach to the Contrast and Stability of Sounds. Talk at the 4th Conference on Quantitative Investigations in Theoretical Linguistics, 28-31 March 2011. [pdf]

Mayer, Thomas. Automatically extracting place features from the distribution of consonants in corpora. Talk at the Workshop on "Cross-linguistic and language-internal variation in text and speech: focus on the joint analysis of multiple characteristics", 9-11 February 2011.

Mayer, Thomas, Christian Rohrdantz, Miriam Butt, Frans Plank, & Daniel A. Keim. 2010. Visualizing Vowel Harmony. Journal of Linguistic Issues in Language Technology (LiLT), Vol. 4 Issue 2. [pdf]

Mayer, Thomas, Christian Rohrdantz, Miriam Butt, Frans Plank, & Daniel A. Keim. Experiments in Visualizing Vowel Harmony. Talk at the Workshop on Interactive Visual Analysis for Natural Language Processing 2010 in Stuttgart. 17 September 2010.

Mayer, Thomas, Christian Rohrdantz, Frans Plank, Peter Bak, Miriam Butt, & Daniel A. Keim. 2010. Consonant co-occurrence in stems across languages: Automatic analysis and visualization of a phonotactic constraint. In Proceedings of the ACL 2010 Workshop on NLP and Linguistics: Finding the Common Ground (NLPLING 2010), 67-75, 2010. [pdf]

Rohrdantz, Christian, Thomas Mayer, Miriam Butt, Frans Plank & Daniel A. Keim. 2010. Comparative visual analysis of cross-linguistic features. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (EuroVAST 2010), pages 27-32. [pdf]

Raster, Manu, Thomas Mayer, Christian Rohrdantz: Stammbildungswechsel starker Verben. Postersession der Sektion Computerlinguistik der Deutschen Gesellschaft fuer Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS) 2009, Osnabrueck.

Wanner, Franz, Christian Rohrdantz, Florian Mansmann, Daniela Oelke & Daniel A. Keim. 2009. Visual sentiment analysis of RSS News feeds featuring the US Presidential Election in 2008. Workshop on Visual Interfaces to the Social and the Semantic Web (VISSW). [pdf]

Keim, Daniel A., Daniela Oelke & Christian Rohrdantz. 2010. Analyzing document collections via context-aware term extraction. In 14th International Conference On Applications Of Natural Language To Information Systems (NLDB 2009) (Lecture Notes In Computer Science (LNCS 5723)), 154-168. Heidelberg: Springer. [pdf]