Tracking Semantic Shifts in German Court Decisions with Diachronic Word Embeddings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Language and its usage change over time. While legal language is arguably more stable than everyday language, it is still subject to change. Sometimes it changes gradually and slowly, sometimes almost instantaneously, for example through legislative changes. This paper presents an application of diachronic word embeddings to track changes in the usage of language by German courts triggered by changing legislation, based on a corpus of more than 200,000 documents. The results show the swift and lasting effect that changes in legislation can have on the usage of language by courts and suggest that using time-restricted word embedding models could be beneficial for downstream NLP tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2022
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
EventNatural Legal Language Processing Workshop, NLLP 2022 - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 8 Dec 20228 Dec 2022


WorkshopNatural Legal Language Processing Workshop, NLLP 2022
Abbreviated titleNLLP Workshop 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi

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