The paper “Scent and Sensibility: Perception Shifts in the Olfactory Domain” authored by Teresa Paccosi, Stefano Menini, Elisa Leonardelli, Ilaria Barzon and Sara Tonelli has been accepted at the 4th International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change 2023 (LChange’23). 

This workshop explores state-of-the-art computational methodologies, theories and digital text resources on exploring the time-varying nature of human language. Our paper is one of the outcomes of the Odeuropa project aimed at analysing intangible heritage like smells using AI technologies


In this work, we investigate olfactory perception shifts, analysing how the description of the smells emitted by specific sources has changed over time. We first create a benchmark of selected smell sources, relying upon existing historical studies related to olfaction. We also collect an English text corpus by retrieving large collections of documents from freely available resources, spanning from 1500 to 2000 and covering different domains. We label such corpus using a system for olfactory information extraction inspired by frame semantics, where the semantic roles around the smell sources in the benchmark are marked. We then analyse how the roles describing Qualities of smell sources change over time and how they can contribute to characterise perception shifts, also in comparison with more standard statistical approaches.


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