Dr Josef Ruppenhofer will visit the University of Birmingham
28 July to 29 August 2014, hosted by Professor John Barnden and Dr Andrew
Gargett within Computer Science, and Professors Susan Hunston and Jeannette
Littlemore within English Language and Applied Linguistics.
Political conflict is a central, if regrettable, aspect of
human experience. Discourse surrounding political conflict provides a window
into how such conflict emerges, how it may be sustained or intensify, and even
how it may attenuate and finally be resolved. Understanding the patterns of
such discourse is, on the one hand, a key aim of academic disciplines such as
linguistics and discourse studies, while, on the other hand, automatic
discourse understanding is a key goal within Natural Language Processing (NLP).
An on-going collaboration between UoB's departments of
Computer Science and English Language and Applied Linguistics aims to combine
state-of-the-art technologies to build a corpus recording the syntactic and
semantic features of political conflict discourse. To this end, researchers at
UoB seek to combine Pattern Grammar (PG) with FrameNet (FN), the former modelling
the syntax of individual lexical items, the
latter modelling their meaning. Stage 1 of this project saw the
collection of a corpus of online forums involving political conflict discourse and
the start of annotation of this corpus for patterns. Stage 2 aims to annotate
the corpus for frames, and the results of both stages will yield a unique
resource, enabling, for example, investigations of how metaphor and metonymy
are used in political conflict discourse (a key research theme at UoB).
In order to achieve the FrameNet annotation, the UoB group
is collaborating with Dr Josef Ruppenhofer, a leading FrameNet researcher in
Europe. Dr Ruppenhofer is a researcher in the department of Information Science
and Natural Language Processing at Hildesheim University, Germany. He works on
corpus linguistics and computational linguistics, with a special interest in
the development of lexical resources. Beginning with his graduate studies at UC
Berkeley, Dr Ruppenhofer has been intensely involved with the FrameNet project
and Frame Semantics, a key theoretical cornerstone of FrameNet. More recently,
he has focused on sentiment / subjectivity analysis with the goal of extending
the FrameNet resource with information relevant for sentiment analysis.
The expertise of Dr Ruppenhofer's hosts at the University of
Birmingham in the areas of metaphor and metonymy on the one hand, and
evaluation on the other, points to key directions for joint research, such as
an investigation of patterns of sentiment and figurative language in political
discourse. Discourses of political conflict will constitute the focus of joint
analysis efforts that are meant to interact with work on political conflict
that is on-going in various units at the University of Birmingham, such as the
UoB’s Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security.