Language in Webcare: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

22-Nov-2018 – 23-Nov-2018, Ghent, Belgium

With the rise of digital business communication, end-users of products and services can now easily communicate positive and negative feedback to other customers and organizations on social networking and (micro)blogging sites, the sheer amount of which is hard for corporations to monitor, let alone respond to. As negative word-of-mouth on both the issue at hand and the way it has been tackled may have detrimental consequences in terms of reputation and sales (Luo 2009), organizations now have to access these social platforms as well and engage in a very delicate type of online service encounter (i.e. webcare) with the prime intention of nursing customer relationships and monitoring reputation management (Van Noort and Willemsen 2011). The success of this type of interaction depends on many different aspects, including the linguistic realization of both the original message by the customer and the ensuing webcare itself. However, context-specific knowledge on what constitutes the most appropriate, effective communicative strategies during critical moments – both from the customers’ and the companies’ perspective – is lacking (Lee and Song 2010) or proves to be somewhat contradictory.

As organizers of this symposium, we believe that research into the communicative challenges of digital business communication would greatly benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, combining theories and methods from linguistics, service-oriented marketing and public relations (see also Holmqvist et al. 2017; Carnevale et al. 2017). Therefore, this symposium aims to bring together scholars in language, communication and marketing studies who all share an interest in the linguistic and communicative intricacies of online service management. We invite papers focusing on consumer reviews, complaints, webcare and/or crisis communication from different theoretical and methodological perspectives.

We invited five speakers with an expertise in discourse- and communication-related approaches to online consumer complaints, reviews, and webcare: Camilla Vasquez (University of South Florida), Valerie Creelman (Saint Mary’s University), Guda Van Noort (University of Amsterdam), Rob Le Pair (Radboud University Nijmegen), An-Sofie Claeys (University of Leuven).

We ask scholars attending the conference (except for BA and MA students) to pay a registration fee of 100€ (excluding dinner on November 22).

For further information please contact sofie.decock@ugent.be, bernard.declerck@ugent.be and/or rebecca.vanherck@ugent.be.

Program:

The program can be found on: http://www.webcare2018.ugent.be/programme/

Dialectologie zonder dialecten?

Op vrijdag 7 december viert het tijdschrift ‘Taal & Tongval – Language Variation in the Low Countries’ z’n 70ste jaargang met een colloquium gewijd aan de vraag ‘Dialectologie zonder dialecten?‘. Het colloquium vindt plaats in de Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, Koningstraat 18 in Gent (België).

Deelname kost 20 Euro. Inschrijven kan via valerie.bouckaert@ugent.be of door overschrijving op het nummer BE40 0682 1390 8063 vóór 30 november.

Programma:

9:15 – 9:45:
ontvangst met koffie

9:45-10:00:
Gunther De Vogelaer (Münster) & Chris De Wulf (Zürich): welkomstwoord

10:00 – 10:40:
Dirk Geeraerts (Leuven): Er zit systeem in. Taalvariatie in de taalkundige theorievorming

10:40 – 11:20:
Frans Hinskens (Meertens Instituut / VU): De toekomst van de dialecten en de dialectologie van de toekomst

11:20 – 12:00: R
oeland van Hout & Stef Grondelaers (Radboud Universiteit): Dialect zonder ruimte? De nieuwe dimensionaliteit van taalvariatie

12:00 – 14:00: lunchpauze

14:00 – 14:40:
Jacques Van Keymeulen (Gent): De digitalisering van de dialectverzamelingen van de UGent

14:40 – 15:20:
Marjo van Koppen (Meertens Instituut / Utrecht), Kristel Doreleijers (Meertens Instituut) & Jos Swanenberg (Tilburg): De dynamiek van geslachtsmarkering in Noord-Brabantse dialecten en het Nederlands

15:20 – 15:50: koffiepauze

15:50 – 16:30:
Arjen Versloot (UvA): De lege dialectkaart en wat er rest

16:30 – 17:10:
Antal van den Bosch (Meertens Instituut): Toeval of geen toeval? Variatie in dialectgebruik op Twitter

17:10:
receptie

Job: Swedish Computational Linguist, Acapela Group (Mons, Belgium)

We are looking for a Swedish Computational Linguist.

The candidate will be part of a team that designs, develops, tests, and deploys Text-To-Speech technologies supporting a range of products and services in a large portfolio of languages. With other members of the team, he/she will be able to develop advanced solutions that will help a large number of people around the world.

Job description:
• New languages/voices development
• Linguistic services
• Update linguistic components/data

Requirements:
• A degree in Computational Linguistics
• Native Swedish, additional Nordic languages are an asset
• Fluent in English
• Good scripting language knowledge (like Python/Perl)
• Curiosity about phonetics and languages
• Working knowledge of Windows and/or Linux
• Team player with good interpersonal skills
• Strong commitment to the job

About Acapela Group
Acapela Group brings together talented people from very different backgrounds and areas of expertise, resulting in a rich cultural and multilingual environment. We work on voices and languages, we look at the whole world and all application fields to help us create authentic and genuine voices that change or simplify people’s daily lives.

URL: https://www.acapela-group.com/about-us/jobs/swedish-computational-linguist-text-to-speech/

CogLing8 programme and registration

Dear colleague,

We are pleased to announce you that the registration for CogLing8 is now open. We kindly request you to register before 15 November through the following link (also available via the conference’s webpage): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdlEROqzjyA44yVDQB7pQxTD60cNFJwlN0y8A-UNmgh3GQxrQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

A provisional programme is now available on the conference website https://cogling2018.wordpress.com/

It is still possible to book a hotel room at the university rate via the link provided on our website https://cogling2018.wordpress.com/travel-and-accommodation/. Please note that it is compulsory to use the link and form mentioned on this page in order to obtain the university rate. A limited number of rooms is available in both hotels (please note that the offer for the Ibis hotel is valid only for bookings made before 12 November). Our website also includes a link to other accommodation options in the numerous B&Bs in Louvain-la-Neuve, as well as travel information.

Kind regards,

The organizing committee

Barbara De Cock, Liesbeth Degand, Gaëtanelle Gilquin, Sara Jonkers, Julien Perrez, Kristel Van Goethem

Advance notice: ‘Corpus Linguistics with R’ and ‘Statistics for linguistics with R’ bootcamps by S.T. Gries

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, August 2019

The Linguistics Research Unit of the Institute of Language and Communication (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) will be hosting two 30-hour bootcamps by Stefan Gries next summer.

The ‘Corpus Linguistics with R’ bootcamp (12-16 Aug 2019) is a hands-on introduction to using the programming language R for the analysis of textual data (mostly corpora, but theoretically also literary works, web data, etc.). It is based on the second edition (2016) of Gries’s textbook Quantitative corpus linguistics with R and introduces a variety of programming constructs required for text processing and corpus exploration including

  • building word frequency lists and computing type-token ratios;
  • computing dispersion and key words statistics;
  • extracting concordance lines.

For that, we will discuss different relevant functions and data structures, control flow structures such as loops and conditionals, and a sizable number of regular expressions; in addition and time permitting, we will also cover very elementary basics of data visualization. The kinds of data dealt with in this course come from a variety of differently formatted/annotated corpora and will also include 1-2 examples of literary works and/or XML processing.

The ‘Statistics for linguistics with R’ bootcamp (19-23 Aug 2019) is a hands-on introduction to statistical methods for both graduate students and seasoned researchers and is based on the second edition (2013) of Gries’s textbook Statistics for linguistics with R. The course is intended for linguists who already have a basic knowledge in statistics and some experience using R, and who wish to improve their proficiency in statistical analysis of linguistic data. Using the open source software and programming language R, we will:

  • briefly recap basic aspects of statistical evaluation as well as several descriptive statistics;
  • briefly discuss a selection of monofactorial statistical tests for frequencies, means, correlations and how they constitute special (limiting) cases of regression methods;
  • explore different kinds of multifactorial and multivariate methods, in particular different kinds of regression approaches (fixed-effects only and mixed-effect modelling) as well as classification trees and random forests.

Details about the previous edition of the ‘Statistics for linguistics with R’ bootcamp in LLN are available at: https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/ilc/cecl/rling2017.html. For info about the prerequisites, visit https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/ilc/cecl/prerequisites.html.

The website of the two events will be online in early 2019 and online registration will start on 1 March 2019. It will be possible to register for one event only but priority will be given to people who register for both. The number of participants is limited. If you would like to participate, mark the date in your diary!

Contact email: magali.paquot@uclouvain.be

Magali Paquot
Convenor

6th International Conference on Statistical Language and Speech Processing

October 15-16, 2018, Mons, Belgium

Co-organized by:

NUMEDIART Institute, University of Mons
LANGUAGE Institute, University of Mons
Institute for Research Development, Training and Advice (IRDTA), Brussels/London

Website: http://slsp2018.irdta.eu/

Program:

Monday, October 15

09:00 – 09:30 Registration

09:30 – 09:40 Opening

09:40 – 10:30 Thomas Hain. Crossing Domains in Automatic Speech Recognition – Invited lecture

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:15

Amal Houidhek, Vincent Colotte, Zied Mnasri and Denis Jouvet. DNN-based Speech Synthesis for Arabic: Modelling and Evaluation

Antoine Perquin, Gwénolé Lecorvé, Damien Lolive and Laurent Amsaleg. Phone-level Embeddings for Unit Selection Speech Synthesis

Raheel Qader, Gwénolé Lecorvé, Damien Lolive and Pascale Sébillot. Disfluency Insertion for Spontaneous TTS: Formalization and Proof of Concept

12:15 – 13:45 Lunch

13:45 – 14:35 Simon King. Does ‘End-to-End’ Speech Synthesis Make any Sense? – Invited lecture

14:35 – 14:50 Break

14:50 – 16:05

George Christodoulides. Forced Alignment of the Phonologie du Français Contemporain Corpus

Ruei Hung Alex Lee and Jyh-Shing Roger Jang. A Syllable Structure Approach to Spoken Language Recognition

Gueorgui Pironkov, Sean Wood, Stéphane Dupont and Thierry Dutoit. Investigating a Hybrid Learning Approach for Robust Automatic Speech Recognition

16:05 – 16:20 Break

16:20 – 17:30 Poster session I

17:30 – 19:30 Touristic visit

Tuesday, October 16

09:00 – 09:50 Isabel Trancoso. Analysing Speech for Clinical Applications – Invited lecture

09:50 – 10:20 Break

10:20 – 11:35

Jan Vanek, Josef Michalek, Jan Zelinka and Josef Psutka. A Comparison of Adaptation Techniques and Recurrent Neural Network Architectures

Andris Varavs and Askars Salimbajevs. Restoring Punctuation and Capitalization Using Transformer Models

David Awad, Caroline Sabty, Mohamed Elmahdy and Slim Abdennadher. Arabic Name Entity Recognition Using Deep Learning

11:35 – 11:50 Break and Group photo

11:50 – 13:05

Pratik Doshi and Wlodek Zadrozny. Movie Genre Detection Using Topological Data Analysis and Simple Discourse Features

Daniel Grießhaber, Thang Vu and Johannes Maucher. Low-resource Text Classification Using Domain-adversarial Learning

Manny Rayner, Johanna Gerlach, Pierrette Bouillon, Nikolaos Tsourakis and Hervé Spechbach. Handling Ellipsis in a Spoken Medical Phraselator

13:05 – 14:35 Lunch

14:35 – 15:50

Laura García-Sardiña, Manex Serras and Arantza Del Pozo. Knowledge Transfer for Active Learning in Textual Anonymisation

Fernando Gomes and Juan Manuel Adán-Coello. Studying the Effects of Text Preprocessing and Ensemble Methods on Sentiment Analysis of Brazilian Portuguese Tweets

Daniel Lichtblau and Catalin Stoean. Text Documents Encoding through Images for Authorship Attribution

15:50 – 16:05 Break

16:05 – 17:05 Poster session II

17:05 – 17:15 Closing

Discourse Perspectives on Technical Communication

03 Jun 2019 – 05 Jun-2019
Leuven, Belgium

The overarching aim of this panel session of DICOEN 2019 is to advance interdisciplinary research in the field of technical communication. More specifically, this session aims to bring together researchers, practitioners and professionals with an interest in discourse aspects of technical communication, addressing the role of language-in-use and the way in which language is embedded in technical communication settings. Unlike other institutional contexts such as politics, the media, the workplace, healthcare etc. (for other “real-world contexts”, see e.g. Tannen et al. 2018), the study of technical communication discourse has so far received little attention. This is somewhat surprising in view of our highly technologized society and the increasing importance of communicating effectively about technology in order to bridge the gap between users and (the functionalities of) technical products.
Discourse analysis encompasses a broad range of theories, topics and approaches for explaining language-in-use. In line with Bloor and Bloor (2015), we understand discourse as “symbolic human interaction in its many forms”, whether through spoken or written language or via non-linguistic resources such as image, symbol, sound, and gesture. We welcome contributions that address various discourse aspects in technical communication settings. Contributions may focus on a range of linguistic (grammatical, semantic, pragmatic, stylistic, rhetorical, conversational, narrative, intercultural, critical, cognitive discourse) and non-linguistic phenomena that may be used to examine the relationship between form and function in any technical communication genre across the product life cycle (e.g. instructions for use, technical procedures, warning notices, FAQs, training documents, …). For example, contributions may focus on how language is used to communicate and interact in technical communication contexts or on how semiotic modes such as text, speech, image, symbol, graphics, and sound interact in technical communication outputs. Given that discourse does not only refer to actual ‘text’ but may also incorporate the whole communicative act involving production and comprehension, viz. “peoples’ actions, interactions, values, beliefs, and uses of objects, tools and environments within social or institutional settings” (Gee 2011: 181), contributions may also address matters such as context, background information, conventions, or other shared knowledge between the writer and his (increasingly multicultural or international) audience (Bloor and Bloor 2015), hence widening the scope from micro to macro levels of discourse.

Theme session organizers:
Parthena Charalampidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Birgitta Meex (KU Leuven) <birgitta.meex@kuleuven.be>

References:
Bloor, Meriel & Bloor, Thomas (2015). The Practice of Critical Discourse Analysis: An Introduction. London and New York: Routledge.
Gee, James P. (2011). How to do Discourse Analysis: A toolkit. London and New York: Routledge.
Tannen, Deborah, Hamilton, Heidi E. & Schiffrin, Deborah (eds.) (2018). The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. 2nd edition. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Call deadline:
If you are interested in participating, please send a provisional title or topic proposal by 8 October. Abstracts of 400 words maximum are due by 15 November 2018, if the theme session is accepted.

The Language of Recruiting: Caught between Persuading and Gatekeeping

03 Jun 2019 – 05 Jun-2019
Leuven, Belgium

Recruitment in professional contexts occurs through many different communicative genres, ranging from job ads (e.g. Verwaeren et al., 2017) over CV’s and cover letters (e.g. Waung et al., 2017) to job interviews (e.g. Timming, 2017) and assessments. Focusing on the perspective of the recruiter, an interesting tension is seen in these genres between the need to persuade well-suited candidates to apply for the vacant position and the need for gatekeeping, viz. the need to prohibit unsuited candidates access to the position and the firm.

Although the job ad can be seen as typically tailored to persuading (see e.g. van Meurs et al. 2015) and job interviews are primarily known for their gatekeeping function (Kerekes 2007), both genres nevertheless portray a notable tension between the two communicative goals. As previous research reveals, this tension can be uncovered through quantitative and qualitative analysis of the language variants and varieties used in these genres. For instance, as van Meurs (2010) and Zenner et al. (2013) discuss, gatekeeping can occur in job ads through the use of English as language of communication, restricting the position to applicants who master the language. Additionally, as e.g. Van de Mieroop & Schnurr (2018) and Roberts & Sarangin (1999) discuss, job interviews are hybrid activity types, where more institutionally oriented discourse types (foregrounding the exchange of information) and more relational discourse types (foregrounding personal information) occur. Both discourse types reveal a tension between gatekeeping (only candidates that fit in both in terms of skills and in terms of personality will be considered) and persuading (candidate’s that actually fit in need to be convinced that the firm is a place they want to work).

Theme session organizers:

Eline Zenner (KU Leuven) and Frank van Meurs (Radboud University Nijmegen)

References:

Kerekes, J. A. 2007. The co-construction of a gatekeeping encounter: An inventory of verbal actions. Journal of Pragmatics 29: 1942-1973.
Roberts, C., Sarangi, S. 1999. Hybridity in gatekeeping discourse: issues of practical relevance for the researcher. In: Sarangi, S., Roberts, C. (Eds.), Talk, Work and Institutional Order: Discourse in Medical, Mediation and Management Settings. Berlin/New York. Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 473–503.
Timming, A. R. 2017. The effect of foreign accent on employability: A study of the aural dimensions of aesthetic labour in customer-facing and non-customer-facing jobs. Work, Employment and Society, 31(3), 409-428.
Van de Mieroop, D. & S. Schnurr. 2018. Candidates’ humour and the construction of co-membership in job interviews. Language & Communication 61, 35-45.
van Meurs, F., H. Korzilius & L. Bergevoet. 2015. English words and phrases in Dutch job advertisements: Do they function as peripheral persuasion cues? Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics 4(1): 21-38.
van Meurs, F. 2010. English in job advertisements in the Netherlands: Reasons, use and effects. Nijmegen: LOT.
Verwaeren, B., Van Hoye, G., & Baeten, X. 2017. Getting bang for your buck: The specificity of compensation and benefits information in job advertisements. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(19), 2811-2830.
Waung, M., McAuslan, P., DiMambro, J. M., & Mięgoć, N. 2017. Impression management use in resumes and cover letters. Journal of Business and Psychology, 32(6), 727-746.
Zenner, E., D. Speelman & D. Geeraerts. 2013. Macro and micro perspectives on the distribution of English in Dutch: A quantitative usage-based analysis of job ads. Linguistics 51(5): 1019-1064.

Call for Papers:

This theme session aims to contribute to this line of research that studies the mechanisms for persuading and gatekeeping in the language of recruitment. Contributions ideally pay specific attention to the tension between the two communicative goals described above (see ”Session Description”).

Timeline:

– Submission of abstracts (400 words) to theme session organizers by 24 September
– Notification of acceptance from theme session organizers by 30 September
– Submission of theme session proposal by theme session organizers on 30 September
– If the theme session is accepted: submission of individual abstracts by presenters by 15 November

Failing Identities: Identification and Resistance

20-21 September 2018
University of Liège, Belgium

Dear colleagues,

Our research unit ‘Langues et Lettres’ proudly presents the international conference on “Failing Identities: Identification and Resistance”, which will take place in Liège 20-21 September 2018. The conference programme can be viewed at https://failingidentities2018.wordpress.com/conference-programme/.

Registration for the conference is still open at https://failingidentities2018.wordpress.com/registration/, and will close 12
September 2018.
More information is available at the conference website at https://failingidentities2018.wordpress.com/.

Looking forward to seeing you there,
On behalf on the organizing committee,
An Van linden

EUROCALL 2019: CALL and complexity

The 27th EUROCALL conference will be hosted by UCLouvain in collaboration with KU Leuven, in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, from 28 to 31 August 2019.

The guiding thread for EUROCALL 2019 will be ‘CALL and complexity’. This theme is to be seen as constituting a challenge to be embraced. Languages are known to be intrinsically complex linguistically and so are the determinants of learning (additional) languages. Read more on the conference theme here.

We are delighted to announce the following keynote speakers for the EUROCALL 2019 conference:

  • Detmar Meurers (University of Tübingen)
  • Andrea Révész (University College London)
  • Jan Elen (KU Leuven)

Further information will be sent in the coming months but you can already visit our website at www.eurocall2019.be