We present RuSemShift, a large-scale manually annotated test set for the task of semantic change modeling in Russian for two long-term time period pairs: from the pre-Soviet through the Soviet times and from the Soviet through the post-Soviet times. Target words were annotated by multiple crowd-source workers. The annotation process was organized following the DURel framework and was based on sentence contexts extracted from the Russian National Corpus. Additionally, we report the performance of several distributional approaches on RuSemShift, achieving promising results, which at the same time leave room for other researchers to improve.
We measure the intensity of diachronic semantic shifts in adjectives in English, Norwegian and Russian across 5 decades. This is done in order to test the hypothesis that evaluative adjectives are more prone to temporal semantic change. To this end, 6 different methods of quantifying semantic change are used. Frequency-controlled experimental results show that, depending on the particular method, evaluative adjectives either do not differ from other types of adjectives in terms of semantic change or appear to actually be less prone to shifting (particularly, to ‘jitter’-type shifting). Thus, in spite of many well-known examples of semantically changing evaluative adjectives (like ‘terrific’ or ‘incredible’), it seems that such cases are not specific to this particular type of words.