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1 May 2008

Prof Khurshid Ahmad - Trinity College

Location: Room 308 (Top Floor) Maths & Computing Dept
Time: 12:30pm - 13:45pm
Speaker(s): Prof Khurshid Ahmad - Trinity College

The zest for automatically analyzing texts of all genres for picking-up affect, especially the nuances of polar opinion that is supposed to be embedded in texts written typologically-distinct languages, shows no sign of abating. Programs abound for examining the opinions of flocks of film-critics, opinions of shoals of white-goods aficionados. There is a lucrative industry for understanding the 'mood' of the financial markets by analyzing news and blogs produced by and for the financial communities. There is an emergence of programs for understanding the nefarious motives of plotters hidden away in telephone transcripts and e-mails. The film and product review, the analysis of reportage and editorial matter, the examination of spoken language and private e-mails, are rooted in the belief that an analysis grounded a grammatical framework, supplemented by the knowledge of distribution patterns of lexical items, including single words and collocational patterns, will help us to understand the signature of affect and for us to transcend the use of figurative language. I will look at the recent literature on how affective content can be extracted conventionally using a lexicon of affect words and morpho-syntactic analysis that is based in a universal grammar. I will compare and contrast this lexicon based approach with a local-grammar approach that privileges each specialism with its idiosyncratic vocabulary and grammar local to the specialism. Examples will be drawn from texts written in English, Arabic and Chinese about financial and commodity markets, about community cohesion, and about societies in general.

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Contact: mailto: r.power@open.ac.uk