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Introduction to text analysis (Part I)

How Tropes operates

To process a text, Tropes operates in 6 stages:

Words are grouped together in several main Word categories. Among these, six are of interest to us:

To achieve an analysis, the software carries out a complex processing aiming at: assigning all the significant words to the above categories; analyzing their distribution into subcategories (Word categories, Equivalent classes); examining their occurrence order, both within the propositions (Relations, Actants and Acted) and throughout the text (Distribution graph, Bundles, Episodes, Most characteristic parts of text).

Propositional hashing

To simplify the analysis, Tropes divides the text into propositions (simple sentences). This first stage is based on a scrutiny of the punctuation, and on complex syntax analysis functions, which will not be detailed here.

Thus, you obtain co-occurrence statistics (Relations) of high reliability, since it is not possible for two words to fit into the same grammatical proposition if they are not closely connected.

Propositional hashing is bound to involve errors (propositions that are either too short or too long), but this does not alter the results.

Ambiguity solving

The automatic interpretation of words in any living language, either written or spoken, requires the solving of numerous ambiguities:

One of the main functions of this software is to solve these ambiguities by means of several problem-solving algorithms. Though a perfect result is impossible to achieve, the error rate is low enough to guarantee an accurate analysis of your text.

Word categories

The verbs are either:

Connectors (coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, conjunctive phrases) link together various parts of the discourse through concepts of:

Personal pronouns are displayed in gender ("I", "You", "He", etc.) and in number ("They", "We", etc.) The middle/old English "Thou" form is also detected here.

Modalities (adverbs or adverbial phrases) enable the speaker to get involved in what he says, or to locate what he says in time and space, through concepts of:

Adjectives are either:

  • objective, i.e. enabling to characterize beings or objects, regardless of the speaker's standpoint (color adjectives, for example),
  • subjective, i.e. indicating judgment on something or on somebody, thus enabling to express the speaker's standpoint ("beautiful", "small", "nice", etc.),
  • or numeral, i.e. grouping together numbers (in letters or in figures), along with ordinal and cardinal adjectives.

Other word categories include pronouns, articles, prepositions and non-qualifying adjectives. Do not take these categories into account, because they are used only for ambiguity solving.

Broadly speaking, we can say that:

  • time and place connectors and modalities provide the means to locate the action,
  • intensity and negation modalities provide the means to dramatize the discourse,
  • cause and condition connectors provide the means to construct a chain of reasoning,
  • addition connectors provide the means to enumerate facts or characteristics,
  • opposition connectors more specifically provide the means to argue, to put things into perspective and to set out conflicting standpoints.

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