Dr Josef Ruppenhofer

ruppenhoferDr 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.