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Research Center for Language and Cognition

Linguistics Lunch 2019

Monthly on Thursday, 12.00-12.45:

12.00 - 12.15: Walk-in with coffee/tea and homemade cake
12.15 - 12.30: Presentation 1
12.30 - 12.45: Presentation 2

Date Speaker & Title of Presentation
April 18

Marije Michel, Neurolinguistics and Language Development  - "Second language (writing) processes and development: Alignment in digitally mediated L2 interaction"

Andreas van Cranenburgh, Computational Linguistics - "Dutch weak and strong pronouns as a stylistic marker of literariness"

May 23

Tomasso Casseli, Computational Linguistics

Giulia Sulis (visiting researcher), Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University - "Motivation and engagement in the L2 classroom: micro and macro perspectives "

June 6 Antonio Toral Ruiz, Computational Linguistics - "Can machines translate like humans?"


Frank Tsiwah, PhD Neurolinguistics and Language Developement - "Time reference in a grammatical tone language speakers with Aphasia

September 26

Lasha Abzianidze, Computational Linguistics - "Natural Logic for Natural Language and Reasoning"

Jana Declercq, Discourse and Communication - "The discourses and pragmatics of constructing illness and the body when talking about chronic pain"

Oktober 21

Vera Hukker, PhD Neurolinguistics and Language Developement - "Children’s understanding of ironic responses to violations of social norms and personal preferences"


Lotte van Poppel, Discourse and Communication - "Argumentation and metaphor: commitments and criticism"

November 4 Johan Bos, Computational Linguistics - "Interpreting Dutch Tombstone Inscriptions"
December 9

Teja Rebernik, PhD Computational Linguistics - TBA

Ting Huang, PhD Neurolinguistics and Language Developement - TBA

Note: This schedule is subject to change.

Abstracts

Natural Logic for Natural Language and Reasoning

Natural logic attempts to study reasoning in natural language using logical forms as close as possible to surface forms. During the talk, I will present a version of natural logic which comes with its own proof system based on a semantic tableau method. The terms of the logic are simply typed lambda terms that are built from lexical constants. In this way, I employ higher-order logic to study semantics and reasoning in natural language. The tableau proof system consists of a bunch of rules modelling various algebraic, semantic and syntactic phenomena. In order to show the theory in action, I will give a short demo of an automated tableau theorem prover for natural language that can proof or refute arguments written in English. In the end, the performance of the theorem prover on standard benchmarks for natural language inference will be reported.  

Dutch weak and strong pronouns as a stylistic marker of literariness (Andreas van Cranenburgh)

The Dutch language (along with other languages) has full and reduced versions of some of its personal pronouns. Full pronouns are also called emphatic or strong, while in Dutch the reduced pronouns are weak pronouns. On the one hand the distinction follows linguistic rules and cues, related to contrast and salience of discourse referents (Bresnan 1998; Kaiser 2010). On the other hand the distinction can also be a stylistic choice, when both options are available. Weak pronouns are more informal and are required in fixed expressions such as dank je (thank you), whereas strong pronouns can be used for emphasis or refer to a less salient referent; strong pronouns are required when expressing contrast or in comparisons (e.g., jij en ik, you and me). The distinction also turns out to correlate with the perceived literariness of novels. In the project The Riddle of Literary Quality, readers from the general public rated 401 recent Dutch-language novels on a Likert scale of 1-7 (not at all literary to very literary). This allows us to estimate the relation between perceptions of literariness and stylistic markers in the texts. We find a striking correlation for the proportion of strong pronouns and literariness. We perform a corpus linguistic study to investigate possible explanations for this pattern.

"Motivation and engagement in the L2 classroom: micro and macro perspectives" (Giulia Sulis)

The past few years have seen a vast growth of research exploring changes in second language (L2) motivation over different timescales. However, the construct of engagement and its relationship with motivation in the L2 classroom have remained relatively underresearched in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) from a dynamic perspective to date. Drawing on the principles of Complex Dynamic System Theory (CDST; Larsen-Freeman and Cameron, 2008), the present study seeks to examine dynamic variability in L2 motivation and four subsets of student engagement (i.e. behavioural, cognitive, emotional and social) over the course of the single lesson and throughout the academic year, and to explore the interrelationship between the two constructs.

The research comprises a set of data drawn from five classes of French and Spanish at different proficiency levels at a British university. Inspired by MacIntyre and Legatto’s (2011) ‘Idiodynamic Method’ and by Waninge, Dörnyei and de Bot’s (2014) ‘Motometer’, the research method developed for the present study allowed (a) to capture micro- and macro-fluctuations in motivation and engagement; and (b) to explore the complex interplay of variables that mediate this relationship by means of stimulated recall procedures, classroom observations and cued interviews. The participating students rated their motivation every 2.5 minutes based on a replay of the lesson on a tailor-made chart. During follow-up cued interviews they were asked to provide a rationale for their changes in motivation and engagement during the lesson. Classroom observations were also conducted to complement the interview data. Data was analysed qualitatively by means of a thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

Findings suggest that both motivation and all four subsets of engagement were subject to dynamic variability over time, due to the complex interaction of situation-specific variables at both timescales. Furthermore, the relationship between the two constructs also appeared as dynamic and non-linear. This was mediated by a number of interrelated variables which were personal, social and contextual in nature, each subject to change over different timescales.

"Interpreting Dutch Tombstone Inscriptions"

What information is provided on tombstones, and how can we capture this information in a formal meaning representation?  In this talk I will discuss an annotation scheme for semantically interpreting inscriptions of Dutch gravestones. I will also present a new corpus of tombstone images with gold-standard interpretations represented as directed acyclic graphs.

Laatst gewijzigd:28 november 2019 14:02