(Not so) Elementary, my dear Watson! A different perspective on medical terminology

Federica Vezzani, Giorgio Maria Di Nunzio


Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle was an esteemed and highly experienced physician and much of his medical knowledge spreads into his literary works. In this paper, we propose to study the medical terminology in the stories of Sherlock Holmes through the combination of a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative analysis. Our approach is based on 1) the automatic extraction of medical terminology throughthetidytextR package for text analyses, 2) a terminological analysis by means of the model of terminological record designed fortheTriMED database, and 3) the study of collocations through the linguistic tool Sketch Engine. Thanks to this approach, we perform a linguistic analysis in order to evaluate different terminological aspects such as: the semantic variation due to temporal and historical factors, the difference of the context of use, the change of meaning based on the reference corpus, the variation of use depending on speakers/writers register and, finally, the relationship between terms and their collocations from the syntactic viewpoint.


Computational Terminology; Medical terminology; Quantitative analysis; Qualitative analysis

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2532-8816/8632


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Copyright (c) 2019 Federica Vezzani, Giorgio Maria Di Nunzio

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