Extracting semantic relations using syntax

An R package for querying and reshaping dependency trees.


  • Kasper Welbers
  • Wouter van Atteveldt
  • Jan Kleinnijenhuis


Automatic content analysis, dependency trees, syntax


Most common methods for automatic text analysis in communication science ignore syntactic information, focusing on the occurrence and co-occurrence of individual words, and sometimes n-grams. This is remarkably effective for some purposes, but poses a limitation for fine-grained analyses into semantic relations such as who says what to whom and according to what source. One tested, effective method for moving beyond this bag-of-words assumption is to use a rule-based approach for labeling and extracting syntactic patterns in dependency trees. Although this method can be used for a variety of purposes, its application is hindered by the lack of dedicated and accessible tools. In this paper we introduce the rsyntax R package, which is designed to make working with dependency trees easier and more intuitive for R users, and provides a framework for combining multiple rules for reliably extracting useful semantic relations



How to Cite

Welbers, K., Atteveldt, W. van, & Kleinnijenhuis, J. (2021). Extracting semantic relations using syntax: An R package for querying and reshaping dependency trees. Computational Communication Research, 3(2), 180–194. Retrieved from https://computationalcommunication.org/ccr/article/view/51