Projects

This project aims to investigate the oral language development of congenitally hearing-impaired children with an auditory brainstem implant (ABI). ABI is a relatively new development to restore the hearing of children with a severe-to-profound hearing loss due to i.a. the absence of the auditory nerve. The speech perception outcomes of children with ABI have been investigated, but detailed linguistically underpinned studies of their speech production are virtually lacking. The goal of the...
01/10/2017 - 30/09/2020
Until recently children who were born "deaf" remained "deaf", and thus were unable to acquire spoken language. Fortunately nowadays deaf children with a cochlear deficit can be helped with a surgical intervention: they receive a cochlear implant (CI) very early in life so that they can "hear", i.e., can experience sound sensations. The first concern that the parents of these children phrase, is: "will my child hear with an implant?" The answer is definitely positive. The second question...
01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019
  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...
01/09/2015 - 31/08/2018
In the dominant approach in stylometry, superficial linguistic characteristics are often used, e.g. frequencies of words and character sequences. Although such features have been proven to work well on various tasks in stylometry, the issue of explanation often arises: it can be difficult to explain why certain superficial features perform well e.g. in a complex task such as authorship attribution. Moreover, such shallow features can be difficult to interpret from a linguistic point of view....
01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018
Our aim is to implement commercial web services for automatic opinion detection and author profiling in text. In this project we will develop the core technology: data mining and annotation, machine learning and setting up the server. In a follow-up project we will then launch a spin-off company. This kind of language technology is useful for a wide range of big data applications, and does not yet exist for Dutch, and only in part for English. https://www.textgain.com
01/02/2014 - 31/01/2015
The acquisition of abstract linguistic categories is investigated. Computational models of bootstrapping operations are constructed in order to investigate how knowledge from one domain can be instrumental in acquiring knowledge of another domain. In our simulations the language addressed to very young children is used in an attempt to elucidate how grammatical categories and grammatical gender are acquired given a combination of distributional, phonological and morphological bootstrapping.
01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017
 The research project has two major objectives: 1. An in-depth study of cognitive control in the process of visual word recognition 2. The integration of research on intralingual and interlingual lexical processing   1. The process of cognitive control in visual word recognition has almost exclusively focussed on an unconscious suppression process. For instance, it has been shown that such a process inhibits irrelevant representations when bilinguals read interlingual homographs (...
01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017
Newborn babies have been shown to be sensitive to the speech melody of the language that they hear: they recognise the word stress patterns of their mother''s language, and they are sensitive to the rhythm of that language (for instance, babies can distinguish what has been called the ''Morse Code'' rhythm of Germanic languages and the ''Machine Gun'' rhythm of Romance languages). Thus, already in the first year of life, infants seem to know a lot about how their ambient language sounds....
01/11/2013 - 31/10/2017
The main objective of this study is to investigate the acquisition of "lexical" stress and rhythm in the period when children produce canonical babbling and their first identifiable words. A good understanding of these phenomena in children''s speech is of prime importance because it has been shown that prosody plays a cardinal role in children''s language acquisition.
01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015
 The AMiCA (“Automatic Monitoring for Cyberspace Applications”) project aims to mine relevant social media (blogs, chat rooms, and social networking sites) and collect, analyse, and integrate large amounts of information using text and image analysis. The ultimate goal is to trace harmful content, contact, or conduct in an automatic way. Essentially, we take a cross-media mining approach that allows us to detect risks “on-the-fly”. When critical situations are detected (e.g. a very...
01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016
The project 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...
01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016
The aim of the current project is to investigate early sound development in two populations differing in access to spoken language: children with normal hearing (NH) and congenitally deaf children with "received hearing" due to cochlear implantation (CI) at an early age. In comparing speech accuracy of these two groups with "different degrees of hearing", we aim to gain a better insight into the role of the auditory perception system in language development.
01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016
The research project focuses on the authorship, composition and textual interconnectedness of three 16th-century mystical texts, all of which are believed to have emerged from a group of female/male writers we now call “the Arnhem mystics”. These texts, Die evangelische peerle, Vanden tempel onser sielen and the Arnhem mystical sermons, are all in some way connected to the St. Agnes convent in Arnhem. Similarities between the three can be found on a lexical, semantic, conceptual and stylistic...
01/07/2012
Homophone intrusions in the spelling of regularly inflected Dutch verb forms are used to address a central question in psycholinguistics – and cognitive science in general: do people rely on symbolic mental rules or on a knowledge base that captures the co-occurrence probabilities in the learning domain (statistical learning)? Earlier findings in our research group indicated an effect of homophone dominance in the pattern of intrusion errors when spelling homophonic verb forms: such errors...
01/01/2012 - 31/12/2015
  How can we explain the apparently delayed language development of children whose parents can be said to have a low socioeconomic status (lowSES)? Why does a child with, say, a mother who is on public assistance have a poorer language proficiency than a child with a mother who has a university degree and a professional occupation? Previous research has shown that the linguistic environment (the language the child hears, the conversations and interactions that adult and child have) of the...
01/12/2011 - 30/11/2015
Masked priming is a commonly used technique in psycholinguistics to investigate how words are stored in our Mental Lexicon. This technique, developed by Forster & Davis (1984), investigates the effect of one word on another without participants’ awareness. Preceding a target in uppercase, a prime in lowercase is presented for a very short duration. Participants have to respond to the target, but the prime, which cannot be seen consciously, can influence the processing of the target. An...
01/10/2011 - 30/09/2015
In this project, we investigate a methodology for the automatic extraction and analysis of style that we want to apply to both individual authors (authorship attribution, both fiction and non-fiction) and groups of authors (extraction of stylistich characteristics associated to gender and age). This methodology covers several aspects: (1) Automatic linguistic analysis of documents by means of available text analysis tools on the level of morphological structure, part of speech, global syntactic...
In this project we investigate the applicability of machine learning techniques (supervised and unsupervised methods) to various language technology problems for African languages. 
We conduct research into text analytics (e.g., do adults use more punctuation than adolescents?) and its real-world applications (e.g., can we predict age by punctuation?). Many of our resources are freely available. Here are some reads on how we constructed or applied such resources, for example for sentiment analysis, demograpy prediction, and detection of subversive behavior (cyberbullying, grooming, hate speech, ...).  We frequently release open source tools, such as...