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Projects

Discourses around LGBT ideology-free zones in Poland (Joanna Chojnicka)

In 2019, municipality and district councils located mostly in south-eastern Poland started issuing resolutions, declarations, or statements “in support of traditional Polish families”, promising to protect them from “LGBT ideology”. By the first half of 2020, over 30% of Poland’s territory was ostensibly “LGBT-ideology free”. The story became an international scandal, with the EU taking a harsh stance, regional grants from EU and Norway funds being revoked, and sister towns in Germany, Italy and other countries terminating partnerships with the respective localities. As of 2024, most resolutions have been withdrawn by the councils themselves or invalidated by the administrative court.

While a plethora of academic and media articles have been written about these zones, few have taken linguistic or discursive aspects into account or contained textual analyses of the actual resolutions, declarations and statements issued by the local councils. Joanna’s current project aims to address this gap. She has undertaken a digital investigation to find texts of the original documents; in the resulting corpus of more than twenty original documents published on selected councils’ official websites, she examines framing devices (including metaphors), argumentation strategies, and lexical choices that construe “the LGBT ideology” and its opponents in particular ways.

Trans (on) YouTube (Joanna Chojnicka)

This project explores genres and narratives of gender transition on two Polish YouTube channels (forming one collective) to illustrate negotiations between transnational and local understandings, performances and interpretations of (trans)gender identity. “Trans YouTube” is a valuable performative and discursive space, allowing (especially young) trans creators to maintain, present and communicate the desired sense of self. The project explores multilingual and multimodal practices on Polish trans YouTube, and discusses their role in localizing the “global” (or American disguising as global) LGBTQ+ sociolect within the local socio-cultural context. Applying the perspective of translation and exploring its role in localizing the transnational concepts of gender and sexuality makes it possible to trace the process of trans-creating the new language of the Polish trans community, a language that emphasizes trans social media users’ agency and better expresses their individualized and localized gender transition experiences.

Gender-Fair Language (Morana Luka─Ź)

Morana’s primary research endeavors focus on gender-fair language reforms across languages. She is especially interested in studying the ongoing changes in Dutch, and the acceptance of and attitudes toward pronouns used for non-binary individuals, namely “die/diens” and “hen/hun.” Additionally, she is also exploring gender-fair language reforms within Croatian (her L1), English (especially among LX speakers of the language), and German. These languages, while typologically belonging to the grammatically gendered languages, exhibit significant differences in their morphological marking. For instance, English and Dutch predominantly feature gender marking in their pronominal systems and in the suffixes of some nouns denoting professions, whereas Croatian encompasses gender-marked morphemes across nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Furthermore, these languages are situated within distinct socio-cultural milieus, each presenting varying degrees of visibility of discussions surrounding gender diversity. All this paints a complex picture and allows for exploring how and if at all gender-fair language reforms occur across languages. In her current research on Dutch, she employs different framing practices to explore their potential impact on individuals’ attitudes and behaviors regarding gender-neutral pronouns. By proposing distinct framing strategies tailored to both liberal-leaning supporters and conservative skeptics of gender-neutral language reforms, she seeks to elucidate pathways towards fostering broader acceptance and engagement with inclusive linguistic practices.

Maximising the potential of L2 input for early L3 development: The case of plurilingual audiovisual input for newcomers in the Netherlands (2022–2025) (Anastasia Pattemore)

Subtitled original version audiovisual input with an English soundtrack and Dutch subtitles is widely available in the Netherlands, and it forms a part of Dutch society and culture. While for Dutch L1 speakers this type of L1 subtitling has been proven beneficial for English learning (Peters, 2018), for adult learners of Dutch this kind of on-screen support ceases to be L1 subtitling. For many Dutch learners English is not their native language either. Therefore, this type of audiovisual input becomes an unexplored type of input with L2 English audio and L3 Dutch on-screen text, which Anastasia labels as plurilingual subtitled input (Pattemore et al., under review). To date, it is unclear to what extent this type of authentic multilingual input in Dutch culture could support simultaneous (L2+L3) language acquisition. Furthermore, this type of subtitling introduces the cognitive challenge of processing plurilingual input where none of the languages is the viewer’s native language. Therefore, it is important to understand how this plurilingual subtitled input is processed by the viewers. To do so, Anastasia implements eye-tracking methodology to shed light on viewers’ division and shifting of attention in the complex task of processing image, L2 English sound, and L3 Dutch text simultaneously.

Cognitive processing of bilingual subtitling (2023-2025) (Anastasia Pattemore)

This project is a collaboration with Hihaho interactive video platform. It was funded by the YARN Humanities Engage with Local Level Organizations (HELLO) grant. One of the goals of an educational media platform is its accessibility to a wider public, which can be achieved by the availability of content in multiple languages. A possible solution is providing multiple subtitle lines in different languages to facilitate content comprehension, as it is done in Flanders with Dutch and French subtitles. However, the only studies that have explored bilingual subtitles looked at Chinese and English, languages with different writing systems (Lion, 2020; Wang & Pellicer-Sánchez, 2022). Accordingly, it remains an empirical question whether the availability of dual subtitles promotes or hinders comprehension, especially for foreign languages with the same script. This study aims to explore the simultaneous processing of bilingual subtitles (e.g. Dutch-Engish) through eye-tracking methodology.

Foreign language learning from audiovisual input: The role of original version television (2023-2024) (Anastasia Pattemore)

This Springer edited volume co-edited by Anastasia offers a comprehensive evaluation of the potential of original version television for foreign language learning. It features contributions by international scholars from various regions, caters to diverse target languages, and addresses a range of linguistic features. The book is anticipated to be available in early 2025.

IncLLinGS – Inclusive Literary and Linguistic practices on Global and local Scales: Native speakerism and Second-Language Literary Creativity in Popular Genres (Tekla Mecsnóber)

This project continues the exploration of literary creativity in the context of conflicting language ideologies that gave rise to my monograph entitled Rewriting Joyce’s Europe: The Politics of Language and Visual Design in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake (2021). Shifting the focus to 21st-century popular texts (such as romances and fanfiction) by second-language or multilingual authors writing in English, the new project aims to investigate the ways in which attitudes and discourses pertaining to nonnative speakers – including the “mother tongue” ideology and native speakerism – influence how writers negotiate their often very complex linguistic identities in creative texts and paratexts (such as online profiles and commentary), what gets published in the global literary ecosystem through traditional publishers, author-driven collaborative presses, self-publishing, and digital social platforms, and how knowledge about second-language creativity may be used to create better pedagogical, institutional and, ultimately, more inclusive societal practices for nonnative language users.

Co-speech gesture and cognitive conceptualisation (Alexandra Lorson)

This research project focuses on utilising co-speech gestures to gain insights into how comprehenders conceptualise and interpret ambiguous aspects of meaning, such as quantifiers (i.e. "some", "a few", etc.). Collaborating with Dr. Bodo Winter, Dr. Vinicius Macuch Silva (University of Birmingham), and Prof. Christopher Hart (Lancaster University), Alex explored the impact of co-speech gestures on the comprehension of the quantifier "several." A key finding of the study revealed that gestures indicating size can influence individuals' numerical estimations, with participants perceiving higher quantities associated with "several" when accompanied by gestures indicating a large size. Further investigations, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Bodo Winter (University of Birmingham), Dr. Stephanie Solt (ZAS, Berlin) and Dr. Takanobu Nakamura (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation; University of Amsterdam), delves into the significance of semantic concepts like monotonicity, distributivity, and individuation in quantifier interpretation, employing co-speech gestures. The aim is to explore whether comprehenders consider these concepts when interpreting quantifiers.

Intelligence interviews (Alexandra Lorson)

In collaboration with Dr. David Neequaye (Lancaster University), Alex is exploring strategic communication in intelligence interviews. This research examines the impact of various questioning strategies on interviewee responses and investigates how the interviewer's communicative objectives, such as resistance to disclosing information, shape their answers. The findings from this study will contribute to understanding how pragmatic factors affect dynamics in intelligence interviews and inform the development of interrogation strategies.

Cognitive biases in language (Alexandra Lorson)

Alex has recently initiated a project focused on examining how cognitive biases are manifested in language. The initial phase of this project will explore whether discourse reinforces biases like base rate or denominator neglect using corpus analysis methods. For instance, during the first COVID waves, numerous vacuous comparisons were made, such as "Germany has 100,000 cases compared to the UK, which has 92,000 cases," omitting the denominator ("out of 83m." / "out of 67m."). In a subsequent phase, the project will experimentally investigate whether omitting the base rate or denominator is a deliberate strategy employed by speakers to frame numerical c.

NWO Vidi project: Language Learning Never Gets Old: Foreign language learning as a tool to promote healthy aging (Merel Keijzer)

This project comprises an epidemiological part about
PhDs on this project: Floor van den Berg; Jelle Brouwer

NWO Sustainable Humanities project Genetics, Language and Aging Project (G-LEAP) (Merel Keijzer)

Modifiable life experiences, including multilig
PhD on this project: Janine Rook

Ammodo project (Merel Keijzer)

Apart from these larger project, Merel is also involved in the supervision of the following projects: Language, speech and motor function in MCI due to AD and AD (PhD: Marlies Oegema; in collaboration with Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen)

Cicero, Leader of the Republic. Exemplary Statesmanship in Roman Historiography (Brill, prov. publ. date 2025) (Leanne Jansen)

Leanne Jansen is currently preparing the monograph Cicero, Leader of the Republic. Exemplary Statesmanship in Roman Historiography (Brill, prov. publ. date 2025), which is a revised version of her dissertation.

Her new research project, as part of the sectoral plan, contextualizes rhetoric and historiography produced in the Hellenistic areas of the Roman empire as part of a broader process of cultural assimilation between Greek and Roman culture and political participation in the Roman government.

She is preparing a VENI project on second-century views on empire, in particular in the work of Appian of Alexandria. In second-century oratory and historiography, local histories are continually compared, contrasted, and blended with the universal narrative of Rome’s rise to power. The project will examine to what extent these literary texts have performative power in establishing and negotiating Roman moral values and identity.

She is also preparing the edited volume, with Dr Christoph Pieper (Leiden University) Reinventing Cicero. The Scholarly Reception of his Speeches, Letters and Dialogues between 60 and 50 BCE (Bloomsbury, 2025). This volume is concerned with Ciceronian strategies of self-fashioning and its effects on the canonization of Cicero as one of Rome’s most famous orators and as a philosopher and writer of great significance in the western literary tradition.

Projects of Renata (de Figueiredo) Summa

Renate is working on displacement, homing and space-making in two different contexts:

1. A long-term approach towards post-war displacement related to the Bosnian-Herzegovinian case

2. Urban displacement - House evictions in favelas in Rio de Janeiro due to international mega-events

Her previous work also dealt with borders, boundaries and everyday places. Theoretically, she is close to debates in critical IR and critical geography. Methodologically, she leans towards ethnography, fieldwork, interviews, observation and the use of literature and art to think about international politics.

Project CELEBRATE: Cultivating Equitable Learning Environments, Building Readiness, Advancing Teacher Education (Josh Prada)

Co-Principal Investigator (w/ Annela. Teemant and Brandon Sheerman, Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Education, 2022-2027). Funding Agency: US Department of Education - Funded Amount: $2,999,077 - Geared towards helping schools become more welcoming and sustainable for multilingual students, this project supports the implementation of high-impact practices among primary childhood educators in two Indianapolis school districts.

Transnational Encounters for Critical Language Teacher Education (Josh Prada)

Co-Principal Investigator (w/ Lisa Brinkman, University of Hamburg) Funding Agency: DAAD - Funded Amount: €49K, 2022-2024). This project aims to develop critical consciousness among pre-service language teachers through a transnational, hybrid, exchange program. The program integrates immersive learning, study abroad, arts-based approaches, and ethnography with theoretical readings and discussions and iterative cycles of reflection. Thus far, TECLTE has been implemented in Indianapolis (USA), Melilla (Spain), Hamburg (Germany), and Groningen (The Netherlands).

Last modified:11 April 2024 3.10 p.m.