Research Interests

My expertise lies in the areas of formal and computational models of syntax and other levels of linguistic representation, and in modeling how people use language to achieve communicative goals. I have an active interest in both theoretical issues and practical applications.

I am currently working on modeling how humans interact in written communication. Written communication usually is asynchronous, and typically is not face-to-face. It is thus rather different from a prototypical face-to-face spoken conversation. With the advent of the internet and mobile computing, more and more of our communication is shifting to written communiation: emails, text messages, discussion forums, responses to media contributions and blog posts, interactions on websites such as Facebook, and so on. In these written interactions, we use language to achieve various types of communicative goals; many of our communicative goals revolve around creating and perpetuating social relations: for humans, language is the prime medium for maintenance of social networks. My research interests lie at the interscetion of social relations (including power relations) and language use in written dialogs. For more detail, see the home page of the WISR (Written Interaction and Social Relations) research group.

In addition, I am interested in modeling the linguistic "nuts and bolts" (morphology, syntax, semantics) of languages. One project aims at finding a good linguistic representation for the lexicon, morphology, and syntax of Arabic dialects. Arabic dialects pose a problem for natural language processing as the spoken dialects are not written, and the written language is not natively spoken. Thus, standard corpus-based approaches do not work. This project has resulted in several widely used tools. For more information, see the page of the CADIM Group.

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