Sara Budts

I work as a PhD student on the To do or not to do project. The focus of my PhD research is on cognitive and social mechanisms underlying language change across the lifespan. My particular focus lies on the development of periphrastic do in Early Modern English and its relation to the modal auxiliaries will, shall, may, can and must. I will investigate the analogical relations between these constructions in a data-driven, bottom-up way, using computational techniques from the field of representation learning.

In addition to (historical) variational linguistics, my research interests include computer science in general and text mining in particular. My background in Artificial Intelligence made me acquainted with a number of techniques for Big Data Analysis and I would like to explore how these techniques can complement traditional methods of historical corpus research.

In 2014 I obtained an MA in Linguistics from the University of Leuven, with a specialization in English historical linguistics. The year after I completed the advanced MA of AI (Speech and Language Technology) at the same university. As part of this MA, I worked as an intern for Nuance Communications (Aachen, Germany), building a language model for compounds in German and Dutch speech recognition. From August to November 2015, I developed a website and search tool for the Uitleenwoordenbank at the Meertens Insitute (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).