Linguistics Events Abstracts

September 21, 2015 - Dr. Francisco Iacobelli

"Large Scale Classification of Personality in Bloggers" - Student Union (SU) 216, 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Previous work on automatic personality classification has emerged from disparate sources: Varieties of algorithms and feature-selection across spoken and written data have made comparison difficult. Here, we use a large corpus of blogs to compare classification feature selection; we also use these results to identify characteristic language information relating to personality. We obtained accuracies of personality classification that range from 84.36% (openness to experience) to 70.51% (neuroticism). To achieve these results, the best performing features were a combination of: (1) stemmed bigrams; (2) no exclusion of stopwords and (3) the presence or absence of types, rather than their frequency. We take these findings to suggest that both the structure of the text and the presence of common words are important. To get a better sense of how personality is expressed in the blogs, we explore the best performing features and discuss how these can provide a deeper understanding of personality language behavior online.



“Null v. Overt:  Subject/Topic Effects on Determining the Referent of Vietnamese
Prononus” - 
 Student Union (SU) 214, 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Pronoun resolution refers to determining the referent of pronouns, e.g. what potential referents of words like she are.  Pronouns are among kinds of nominal structures that can be referential, although not all kinds of NPs are equally referential.  A hierarchy of referential forms regarding discource saliency has been proposed:  Null anaphors > pronouns > ... > full NPs, with full NPs being the most referential (Givón, 1983a; Ariel, 1990).  This study focuses on the use of the null anaphor vs. overt pronoun.


"Where You Can be South but not Downriver of a Tree: Observations on Spatial Language in Australia”

A common distinction concerning the usage of different Frames of Reference within one language is based on scale, where large-scale descriptions might utilize absolute terms, e.g. go two blocks east, then head north, but not for small-scale (table-top) descriptions, e.g. the cup is east of the saucer.  However, differences in usage within orientation (I am facing the house) and FoR settings (I am in front of the house) have, to my knowledge, not been described so far. Thus, the aim of this paper is to describe and analyze a curious restriction on the use of different types of absolute terms within FoR and orientation settings in three Australian languages MalakMalak, Jaminjung, and Kriol. All three employ landmark-based ‘un-fixed’ absolute terms based on river-flow and prevailing winds restricted to orientation settings and those where the the speaker is also the deictic center (ground) from which angles are projected. If a language also utilizes cardinal directions based on the direction of the rising and setting sun, no such restrictions are observed.

This paper thus aims to provide a thorough usage-based analysis of Frames of Reference and Orientation in two Indigenous and one creole language of traditionally highly settled, non-nomadic hunter-gatherer societies.

February 25, 2016 - LEWIS GEBHARDT
“Crow Determiners and DP Across Languages"

Some researchers have posited a universal Determiner Phrase while other researchers have suggested that some languages might have a DP and others not. Crow provides evidence for a universally available DP. First, it has five suffixal determiners which are more or less optional. Second, facts about plural and definiteness marking suggest that Number may be a determiner, correlative with the behavior of bare plurals in English-type languages. Further, Crow has an obligatory indefinite determiner on relative clauses, where English doesn’t, but the similar semantics suggest that English has a silent form of this Crow determiner. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - DR. VANDANA PURI
"Focus in Hindi and Indian English Late and Simultaneous Bilinguals"
In American and British English, focus is the relative metrical strength manifested as a pitch accent, increase in duration, amplitude, fundamental frequency and by deaccenting other elements.  In Hindi, focus has been associated with greater pitch excursion and longer duration, post focal pitch compression, but not with an increase in amplitude. This study examines duration, RMS amplitude and F0 in late and simultaneous bilinguals of Hindi and English to explore if there is any language interaction in focus conditions in the two groups.