Research team

Centre for Computational Linguistics and Psycholinguistics (CLiPS)

Expertise

Sociolinguistic study of online communication, with a focus on gender and age related variation patterns and the impact of educational background. Adolescent peer group language and the present day dynamics of Dutch.

Accommodation and non-accommodation in adolescents' informal online writing: Social determiners and linguistic effects. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

The proposed study will analyze how teenagers adapt their informal online writing to their conversation partner, and by which social and contextual factors this process of accommodation is influenced. Since linguistic accommodation remains largely un(der)explored for social media writing, the project fills a gap. It will investigate the impact of multiple aspects of adolescents' socio-demographic profile and their interaction on a wide range of linguistic and pragmatic features. We will examine whether divergent patterns of linguistic adjustment can be observed for teenagers with distinct socio-demographic profiles, and which language features appear to be most or least affected. A major distinction will be made between analyses of robust intergroup accommodation and in-depth diachronic analyses of accommodation between particular individuals. This unique design might lead to challenging sociolinguistic findings with respect to the profile of (non-)accommodators. While it will primarily increase our understanding of the social, linguistic and pragmatic parameters that govern accommodative language behavior, it may in the end also open up a unique perspective on language change. Moreover, on a more general, theoretical level, this project aims to accurately delimit the concept of accommodation, in order to answer the fundamental question of whether we can unambiguously discriminate between true accommodation and other instances of linguistic adaptation.

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Errors outside the lab: the interaction of psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic variables in the production of verb spelling errors in informal computer-mediated communication. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

We will investigate how social and mental processes interact in the production of spelling errors in informal computer-mediated communication (CMC). Unlike many CMC-studies, the research will not focus on prototypical CMC-features, but on unintentional spelling deviations on verb forms whose pronunciation corresponds to two spelling forms (homophones). We will study an extensive corpus of informal CMC produced by Flemish adolescents. The correct rendering of verb homophones presupposes the time-consuming application of grammatically informed spelling rules. Psycholinguistic findings show that, when working memory runs out of resources, the higherfrequency homophone can cause intrusion errors. While we expect social variables to affect (1) the NUMBER of spelling errors, we assume that they are less likely to affect (2) the PATTERN of these errors. Hypothesis (1) is inspired by sociolinguistic findings on gender and age differences with respect to norm sensitivity. Norm sensitivity should affect working-memory (conscious processing); hence, only error rates. We will also include the youngsters' educational track. Hypothesis (2) is related to the online writing process, which triggers speedy interaction. We will investigate whether the CMC-context leads to the same intrusion errors that writers find so hard to control under time-pressure. This interdisciplinary approach should lead to innovative contributions to psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and CMC-studies. -

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The interaction of gender and social class in Flemish online teenage talk. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

Social class differences in teenage speech remain largely unexplored, while gender has been focused on in quite a lot of sociolinguistic research on adolescent peer group language. The interest in gender differences has also pervaded the research on informal computer-mediated communication (CMC) and more specifically on the online writing practices of adolescents in chat or texting media, but then again, the link with social class is generally absent. Yet some studies (though not on CMC) suggest that gender differences manifest themselves in different ways in different social class groups. The present research is a first attempt to fill this gap, by focusing on the interaction between social class and gender in Flemish chat language produced by adolescents with a low versus a high level of education.

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Audio-description in Dutch: A corpus-based study into the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The project presented here is a corpus-based study of the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type within Audiovisual Translation (AVT): Audio-description (AD) for the blind and visually impaired. The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to describe the lexico-grammatical features of AD-scripts and examine the role they play in the specific communicative function of the text. The object is to explore one of the key-issues in AD research: How are images put into words and what are the implications for the language use in AD? A recent pilot study confirmed the hypothesis that the language of AD contains distinctive grammatical (morpho-syntactic) and lexical features and that these specific patterns can be identified by corpus analysis. Firstly, the current project aims to develop an extensive and varied text corpus of AD scripts of Dutch audio-described films and series. Secondly, this text corpus will provide the basis for quantitative linguistic research, aiming to identify the prominent lexico-grammatical features of the text type. Finally, the quantitative analysis will be combined with a qualitative analysis of the (communicative) function of these features. In this last stage, special attention must be paid to the multimodal nature of the text type, since the AD-script only makes sense in combination with the dialogues, music and sound effects of the original film or series with which it forms a coherent whole. A qualitative analysis into the (communicative) function of the features will explore the unique interaction between the language of AD and the other channels of the audiovisual text. Ultimately, the project's ambition is to conduct an extensive linguistic audience design oriented analysis of the AD-discourse. This will allow us to identify the features that characterise the AD text type, will clarify how these linguistic and stylistic features are used to ensure maximum communicative efficiency, and how these features are related to the function and multimodal character of AD. The project presented here is a pioneer in the field: AD has become an international research topic recently but for Flanders and the Netherlands no study of AD is available yet. In addition, it can offer the basis for future application-oriented studies. AD in Flanders is in its infancy (public broadcaster VRT only started with its first audio-described series in January 2012). In brief, basic research projects like the one presented here support the development of a local AD tradition in Flanders that meets international quality standards.

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Understandable Dutch: the accessibility of the language of the news for different audiences. 14/09/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other VRT. UA provides VRT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Adolescent chat language in Flanders: the language geography of Flemish (sub)standardization processes againts the background of the international chat scene. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

RESEARCH QUESTIONS: -To what extent do Flemish teenagers integrate morpho-syntactic and phonological features of the Brabantic regiolect in their chat language: what are the relative frequency scores of the Brabantic regiolect variants, the non-Brabantic regiolect variants and the Standard Dutch variants for several variables? -What is the impact of the independent variable 'hometown'? Is there a correlation between the relative representation of Brabantic regiolect features and the region where the chatters come from? To what extent do teenagers from the provinces of West-Flanders, East-Flanders and Limburg integrate morpho-syntactic and phonological features from the Brabantic regiolect in their chat language? In other words: to what extent do the data reveal an expansion of Brabantic features? -What is the impact of local versus supraregional communication? Do teenagers who do not live in the Brabantic dialect area use more morpho-syntactic and phonological Brabantic features in 'interregional' than in 'intraregional' or local chat communication? Do the answers to the previous questions confirm the hypothesis that the linguistic situation in Flanders is marked by an autonomous informal standardisation process which is marked by a generalization/increasing use of the Brabantic 'tussentaal' (regiolect, intermediate language)? What are the implications of this study with respect to the relevance/applicability of chat data for the study of language variation and language change in progress? -What is the pragmatic function of several varieties? What is the position and function of English in the linguistic repertoire of Flemish teenagers? How does the chat language of Flemish teenagers connect with the international chat culture? What kind of appropriation (localization processes) can be discriminated?

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Project MIDP IV (Multilingual Information and informatics Development) : Multilingualism from below. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

In standard accounts of language policy and language planning, language users are too often viewed as the 'passive receivers' of linguistic decisions taken at the highest levels of state organization. In defiance of this tendency, the MIDP IV project wants to accentuate that subalternity involves, rather than excludes, agency. Through their everyday language practices and their discursive perceptions and interpretations of linguistic realities, those who are supposed to 'live' the language policies never submissively 'implement' them, but, appropriating them, steer them in novel, unforeseen directions. It is these dialectic processes of interaction between what is designed from above and how it is responded to from below which give shape to societies' overall patterns of multilingualism. This is the focus of the MIDP IV-fieldwork in the Xhariep (Free State Province, South Africa) and also the focus of the publication in which this research and other international research on the topic is reported on.

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Adolescent chat language in Flanders: the language geography of Flemish (sub)standardization processes. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

research questions: -To what extent are morpho-syntactic Brabantic regiolectic features integrated in the chat language of Flemish adolescents? -What is the impact of the regional background of the chatters? -Do the analyses confirm the hypothesis that Flanders is subject to an autonomous informal standardisation process characterized by an increasing supraregional use of Brabantic regiolect? -Does chat language offer us a new possibilities and challenges for the study of language variation and language change in progress?

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The desirability of intralingual Dutch subtitling in television programmes in Flanders. 01/01/2006 - 31/12/2007

Abstract

This research project investigates a new development on Flemish television, i.e. the increasing occurrence of Dutch-Dutch subtitled programmes. It aims to investigate the desirability of this trend with respect to the way in which Flemish viewers experience their linguistic identities, that is, which "Dutch" or "Flemish" they consider to be their mother tongue, which variants are readily understood (and which are not), and which are experienced as "foreign".

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    Project MIDP III (Multilingual Information and informatics Development) : Multilingualism and exclusion. 28/04/2005 - 31/12/2007

    Abstract

    Whether globalisation, localisation and regionalisation processes of the last decades have led to more linguistic diversity or not, is a matter of on-going dispute – one reason being the changeable, language-ideological ways in which language practice is categorised and essentialised into countable linguistic units. In contrast, it is less controversial that they have led to an increased visibility and awareness of linguistic diversity, as well as to a growing sensitivity and sensibility towards this diversity – in short, to a growing number (and a wider range) of meaning-ascribing discourses surrounding multilingualism. The research project on Multilingualism and exclusion starts from the hypothesis that such discourses do not invariably reflect on, or give rise to, realities of societal integration and emancipation. In practice, they often follow, and are followed by, the mechanisms and effects of exclusion at different levels of society. The research project and the book which results from the project aims at critical analyses of multilingual communities (with special focus on South Africa and the Free State province) and the way they challenge language planners, of the actual management of multilingualism and the individual language user's experience and especially of 'tools' that have been mobilised to effectuate exclusion, forced monolingualism being an obvious one.

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    The purpose and desirability of Dutch-Dutch subtitling of tv programmes in Flanders: an audience-focused investigation. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2006

    Abstract

    This research project investigates a new development on Flemish television, i.e. the increasing occurrence of Dutch-Dutch subtitled programmes. It aims to investigate the desirability of this trend with respect to the way in which Flemish viewers experience their linguistic identities, that is, which 'Dutch' or 'Flemish' they consider to be their mother tongue, which variants are readily understood (and which are not), and which are experienced as 'foreign'.

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