Loser(s): Some background reading

On its face, this is a problem of word-sense disambiguation. For an overview, see the Wikipedia article on Word-sense disambiguation. For a detailed review, see Roberto Navigli, "Word Sense Disambiguation: A Survey", ACM Computing Surveys, February 2009.

When we ask whether the writer or speakers intends to disparage the loser(s), we're doing a kind of sentiment analysis, which is another one of the types of analysis that we'll study this semester. For an overview, see the Wikipedia article on Sentiment analysis. And for a detailed review, see Bo Pang and Lillian Lee, "Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis", Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval, 2008.

Other aspects of what we do to solve this problem involve kinds of analysis known as topic modeling; text classification; (co-)reference resolution; and so on. We'll take these up later on.