Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes


In our the weekly research meetings led by the University of Texas at Austin PI, faculty, visiting scholars, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students discuss the development of text analysis tools in other languages, and the research projects on computational linguistics and text processing. Members of the research team have access to the current dictionaries and software, along with computers and common servers to store and access corpora that are specific to the current grant project. The multidisciplinary nature of the research project demands that collaboration occurs at all stages, and that multiple students work on the same tools and corpora together. For example, in order to develop our software tools in other languages, linguists are required to organize features of language according to special grammatical features, but psychologists are also required to identify those features of language that have been shown to be most indicative of certain psychological states and social roles. Foreign language experts who are either students in the lab or visiting scholars are required to work on expanding the dictionaries due to their expertise and familiarity with the foreign languages. Computational linguists and computer scientists are required to develop applications and usability of the software itself. All students and faculty work on the more applied research together, which consists of analyzing the corpora for social features. Students have presented at regional, national, and international conferences. The faculty have presented at these conferences in addition to other university settings. Nearly all of the publication on this grant has students as co-authors.

An additional activity this year, following from a stated Year 2 milestone in the Addendum to the original proposal, was that a new graduate level course was created and taught based on methods and studies of relevance to the area of the project. The 15 week class (taught by PI Beaver at the University of Texas) was entitled Social Meaning and Social Language Processing.