Dialects of Discord: Changing vocabularies in the Dutch Cruise Missile discussion

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This paper investigates the changing vocabulary used in Dutch parliamentary debates during the cruise missile controversy and its immediate aftermath (1970-1990). Using word embedding models (WEMs), we show that while declared policy preferences were rigid throughout the period, the preferred terminology of politicians changed markedly under the influence of public protests and the thawing of Soviet-US relations during the 1980s. We show how application of a Word Embedding Model (WEM) can be used to reveal, in a systematic manner, changes in tone in historical political vocabulary.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Digital History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2023


  • Word embeddings
  • word2vec
  • nuclear weapons
  • popular protest
  • parliamentary history


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