Category Archives: Seminars 2017

RGCL welcomes Javier Pérez-Guerra

On Wednesday 7 June, RGCL welcomed Javier Pérez-Guerra from the University of Vigo in Spain. Javier is currently a Visiting Researcher at Linguistics and English Language Department, Lancaster University and we were very pleased that he could spare the time to visit and to give a talk to our Research Group. The talk was well attended and very well received!

TITLE: Coping with markedness in English syntax: on the ordering of complements and adjuncts

ABSTRACT:

This talk examines the forces that trigger two word-order designs in English: (i) object-verb sentences (*?The teacher the student hit) and (ii) adjunct-complement vs. complement-adjunct constructions (He taught yesterday Maths vs He taught Maths yesterday). The study focuses both on the diachronic tendencies observed in the data in Middle English, Early Modern and Late Modern English, and on their synchronic design in Present-Day English. The approach is corpus-based (or even corpus-driven) and the data, representing different periods and text types, are taken from a number of corpora (the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English, the Penn Parsed Corpus of Modern British English and the British National Corpus, among others). The aim of this talk is to look at the consequences that the placement of major constituents (eg. complements) has for the parsing of phrases in which they occur. I examine whether the data are in keeping with determinants of word order like complements-first (complement plus adjunct) and end-weight in the periods under investigation. Some statistical analyses will help determine the explanatory power of such determinants.

RGCL Staff Research Seminar

This week Dr Constantin Orasan gave a staff research seminar profiling his current and future research on the Feedback Analysis Tool.  The paper was well received and there was an interesting debate and questions afterwards.

Title:  Presentation of the Feedback Analysis Tool

Abstract: 

The Feedback Analyser is an open source intelligent tool designed to analyse feedback provided by participants in various activities. The tool relies on set of modules to analyse the sentiment in unstructured texts, identifies recurring themes that occur in them and allows easy comparison between various activities and users involved in these activities. The tool produces reports fully automatically, but the real strength of the tool comes from the fact that it allows an analyst to drill down into the data and identify information that otherwise cannot without significant effort. The idea of the tool started from a discussion with the University Outreach team who wanted to extract changes in feelings and aspirations towards Higher Education, by processing hundreds of pieces of free text student data in a matter of minutes.

This talk will provide an overview of the modules currently incorporated in the system and present the results on a small scale pilot. The possibility to develop this tool further will be discussed with the audience being invited to give suggestions.

RGCL Welcomes Lut Colman

Last week Lut Colman visited RGCL from the Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal, Leiden (INT).

The main objective of Lut’s visit was to gain a deeper understanding of Corpus Pattern Analysis (CPA), a corpus-driven technique developed by Prof. Hanks and implemented in the Pattern Dictionary of English Verbs (PDEV), and to test the lexicographic tools used for PDEV in order to establish whether or not they are suitable for her Dutch pilot project.  Whilst Lut was here, she gave a talk on her upcoming research project.

Title: Dutch Verb Patterns Online: A Collocation and Pattern Dictionary of Dutch Verbs

Abstract:

Dutch Verb Patterns Online is a project to be developed at the Dutch Language Institute (INT) in Leiden. A pilot will consist of a collocation and pattern dictionary of a selection of verbs for advanced learners of Dutch as a second language. For that purpose, the institute will form a consortium with two partners who have expertise in developing e-learning material for language learners.

The aim of the project is a database and web application with information sections on verbs for language learners:

1) collocations: semi-fixed lexical combinations and fixed grammatical collocations that need not be defined, such as een fout {maken, begaan} (make a mistake), vertouwen op (rely on), etc.

2) idioms: expressions that have to be defined because the meaning is opaque, such as de strijdbijl begraven (bury the hatchet)

3) GDEX-examples. GDEX stands for good dictionary examples: short, representative and illustrative example sentences from a corpus

4) verb patterns: semantically motivated pieces of phraseology in which the valency slots of the verb are occupied by arguments of a particular semantic type (e.g. human, location). Semantic types are realized by lexical sets: lists of words and phrases that occur as collocates. Each pattern corresponds to a meaning. Patterns are identified by means of Corpus Pattern Analysis (CPA), a lexicographical technique used by Patrick Hanks in the Pattern Dictionary of English Verbs, PDEV (http://pdev.org.uk/ ) and based on his Theory of Norms and Exploitations (Hanks 2013).

The Dutch project wants to combine a pattern dictionary and a collocation application like SketchEngine for Language Learners (SkeLL)(Baisa & Suchomel, n.d.). The SkeLL can be developed for Dutch before we get started with the more labour-intensive pattern descriptions. Eventually, both functionalities can be merged and included as a plug-in resource in the language material for second language learners. Students will not only have access to patterns or collocation lists separately, but will be able to see which collocations fill in a semantic type in a pattern.

References

Baisa, V., & Suchomel, V. (n.d.). SkELL: Web Interface for English Language Learning.

Hanks, P. (2013). Lexical Analysis. Norms and Exploitations. MIT Press.

 

RGCL welcomes Ximena Gutierrez-Vasques

Ximena Gutierrez-Vasques is currently visiting the Research Group in Computational Linguistics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico to collaborate with members of the group. On the 25th April, Ximena presented the group with a talk about her subject area.

Title: Bilingual lexicon extraction for a low-resource language pair

Abstract:

Bilingual lexicon extraction is the task of obtaining a list of word pairs deemed to be word-level translations. This has been a NLP active area of research for several years, especially with the availability of big amounts of parallel, comparable and monolingual corpora that allow us to model the relations between the lexical units of two languages.

However, the complexity of this task increases when we deal with typologically different languages where little data is available.

We focus on the language pair Spanish-Nahuatl. These two languages are spoken in the same country (Mexico) but they are distant from each other, they belong to different linguistic families: Indo-European and Uto-Aztecan. Nahuatl is an indigenous language with around 1.5M speakers and it is a language with a scarcity of monolingual and parallel corpora.

Our work comprises the construction of the first digital publically available parallel corpus for this language pair. Moreover, we explore the combination of several language features and statistical methods to estimate the bilingual word correspondences.

Welcome to Prof. Mikel Forcada

On Wednesday 6th April, RGCL were very pleased to welcome Prof. Mikel Forcada from the University of Alicante, Spain. Mikel is currently undertaking a sabbatical in England and we were very pleased that he could spare the time to visit and to give a talk to our Research Group. The talk, about translation technologies, was well attended and very well received!

Title: Towards effort-driven combination of translation technologies in computer-aided translation

Abstract:

The talk puts forward a general framework for the measurement and estimation of professional translation effort in computer-aided translation. It then outlines the application of this framework to optimize and seamlessly combine available translation technologies (machine translation, translation memory, etc.) in a principled manner to reduce professional translation effort. Finally, it shows some results that point out at existing challenges, particularly as regards to machine translation.

RGCL welcomes Eveline Wandl-Vogt

It was a great privilege to welcome Eveline Wandl-Vogt from the Austrian Academy of Sciences to RGCL this week.  Eveline is a Research Manager from the Lexicography Laboratory at the Academy who came to RGCL to discuss possible future collaborations with members of the Research Group. During her stay, Eveline carried out a seminar on her research for members of the group.

Title: Computational Linguistics and Digital Humanities- Designing Joint Discovery on the example of lexicography laboratory @ ACDH @ AAS

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