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events

Participation in the sCAN Advanced Monitoring Training in Vienna

sCAN Advanced Monitoring Training in Vienna

Wor(l)ds Lab member Manuel Alcántara-Plá has participated in the sCAN Advanced Monitoring Training (Vienna, October 10th-11th), which has been held by ZARA experts Anna-Laura Schreilechner and Karin Bischof.

It has been focused on relevant topics for fighting cyberhate such as “monitoring hate speech and counteraction, documenting the phenomenon, and tackling underreporting”.

The EU sCAN Project aims at “gathering expertise, tools, methodology and knowledge on cyber hate and developing transnational comprehensive practices for identifying, analysing, reporting and counteracting online hate speech.”

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publications

New book: Political Discourses at the Extremes: Expressions of Populism in Romance-Speaking Countries

Political discourses at the extremes. Expressions of populism in the Romance Speaking Countries
Political discourses at the extremes. Expressions of populism in the Romance Speaking Countries

A new Wor(l)ds Lab study has been published as a chapter in the book Political Discourses at the Extremes: Expressions of Populism in Romance-Speaking Countries, edited by Françoise Sullet-Nylander, María Bernal, Christophe Premat, and Malin Roitman.

The title of our chapter is ¿Quién es el pueblo? La exclusión de las minorías en la campaña electoral 2015 en España (pdf) and it deals with the treatment of minorities in the electoral campaign.

The authors of this edited volume focus on the emergence of populist discourses, coming from movements or parties from Romance-speaking countries in Europe and in Latin America. By combining linguistics, social and political sciences in a discourse analytical approach, the sixteen papers enlighten the mechanisms behind populist discourses yielding from different socio-cultural and political contexts. The common denominator of the studies is the focus on the discursive and rhetorical characteristics of recently emerged movements of populism in both continents.

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events

Miguel Sáenz on Translation

Miguel Sáenz

We welcome Miguel Sáenz, one of the most prestigious Spanish translators, for a talk on his experiences translating literary works from German into Spanish. Sáenz is a member of the Real Academia Española, of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, and he has received many prizes, including the Spanish National Prize for Translators.

Miguel Sáenz has worked as a translator for the United Nations and other relevant international institutions, and has translated into Spanish works by important Austrian and German authors such as Peter Handke, Thomas Bernhard, Bertolt Brecht, and Günter Grass.

The talk will take place on April 24 at 17:00 in the Salón de Actos of the Facultad de Profesorado (UAM).

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events

Wor(l)ds Lab is part of the exhibition UAM50 at the City Hall of Madrid

Wor(l)ds Lab is part of the exhibition UAM50 at the City Hall of Madrid

Wor(l)ds Lab is part of the exhibition at the Centro Centro (City Hall) celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

MarcoPolo, the web for surfing the words used on Twitter by the political parties, has been chosen as one of the projects representing the research of the UAM. Visitors will have the opportunity to try it in a computer that has been installed in the exhibition.

Besides, Ana Ruiz-Sánchez will present our research group on November 29 (7:30 p.m.). For this occasion, she has chosen two of our lines of research. On the one hand, she will talk about MarcoPolo and the study of online political discourses. On the other, she will talk about the ethical and scientific challenges that we face when studying multilingualism.

Wor(l)ds Lab at the UAM50 exhibition in Centro Centro (Madrid)
Wor(l)ds Lab at the UAM50 exhibition in Centro Centro (Madrid)

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publications

New Publication: “Not for Twitter: Migration as a Silenced Topic in the 2015 Spanish General Election”

book Exploring Silence and Absence in Discourse : Empirical Approaches

A new Wor(l)ds Lab study has been published as a chapter in the book Exploring Silence and Absence in Discourse : Empirical Approaches, edited by Charlotte Taylor and Melani Schröter. The book “fills a significant gap in the field by addressing the topic of absence in discourse”.

The title of our work is Not for Twitter: Migration as a Silenced Topic in the 2015 Spanish General Election (pdf of a draft version). We focus on how migration to Spain is (under)represented in the parties and candidate’s Twitter accounts. Our iintial goal was to investigate whether politicians communicate in a different way when they are using Twitter. We chose this particular social network hoping that its quite specific characteristics would help us to find innovative strategies. In this preliminary stage, we used frequencies in order to choose the most relevant issues, but soon it was very clear to us that we were missing some key topics. Hot issues of that period of time did not show up within the most frequent words. We found it particularly surprising that refugees were not a frequent subject. It was December 2015 and the news all around the world were focusing on the Syrian war and on the migration phenomenon it was causing. Thousands of Syrian refugees were drowning in the Mediterranean coasts trying to reach Europe.

Migration through the Mediterranean Sea has always been a main topic for Spain. The Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco, has 7.7 nautical miles at the strait ́s narrowest point. This is a natural entrance for migration from Africa. We decided to look into the corpus for other issues which were also very relevant for the Spanish political context and controversial for the political parties: feminism, sexuality, religion, racism, and linguistic minorities. The results showed us a clear pattern where topics conspicuous in the press, in everyday discussions, and even in the election manifestos, were missing in our Twitter corpus. This situation compelled us to foreground silences in our research, and to try to answer the questions of why those topics were silenced in the digital discourse and how it was done.

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resources

A Mailing List of Corpus Linguistics in Spanish

Conference on Corpus Linguistics for Spanish (CLICE 2018)

In the last Conference on Corpus Linguistics for Spanish (CLICE 2018), co-organized by Wor(l)ds Lab’s member Manuel Alcántara-Plá, participants discussed the need to have a mailing list for researchers on Spanish and Corpus Linguistics. We committed ourselves to creating it and here it is. Our lab will be in charge of its management and we encourage all interested researchers/groups to subscribe and participate: Linguistica-corpus-espanol-l.

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events

Conference on Corpus Linguistics for Spanish (CLICE 2018)

Conference on Corpus Linguistics for Spanish (CLICE 2018)

Wor(l)ds Lab has been part of the organization of the Conference on Corpus Linguistics for Spanish (CLICE 2018) in Florence (Italy). The goal of this congress is to stimulate the conversation between researchers using Corpus Linguistics for the study of Spanish. To this end, we discussed the current status of Corpus linguistics, and we shared new perspectives and approaches in the use of corpora. Besides the presentations of research projects and results, CLICE hosted workshops and demonstrations of different resources and tools.

Most of the works presented in CLICE have been published in two special numbers of the journal CHIMERA: Romance Corpora and Linguistic Studies: Vol 5, No 1 (2018) and Vol 5, No 2 (2018).

 

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events

Participation in the II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace

Foro Mundial sobre las Violencias Urbanas y Educación para la Convivencia y la Paz de Madrid

Wor(l)ds Lab participates in the II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace in Madrid. It is a “meeting place for local leaders, international organisations and networks, the academic world, NGOs and civil society.” Its purpose is “to open a joint process of debate, reflection and construction of common solutions that foster urban environments capable of eliminating expressions of violence.”

The project Pacto de convivencia will be presented in the forum and Ana Ruiz-Sánchez will take part in a plenary session on violence, radicalization, extremism, and international terrorism.

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events

I International Conference on Research in Multilingualism: Innovation and New Challenges

I International Conference on Research in Multilingualism: Innovation and New Challenges

Ana Ruiz participates in the I International Conference on Research in Multilingualism: Innovation and New Challenges, held at the Universidad de Oviedo (Spain). She has been invited to present her work in a plenary session, with the title “Rethinking multilingualism from the perspective of intercultural research“.

The conference is focused on the fact that the expansion of bilingual and multilingual education in an increasingly globalised world involves a series of intrinsic challenges to which both teachers and students respond with changes and innovations –technological, methodological or procedural– with respect to the traditional model of teaching-learning. In parallel with this, it also offers an interesting field of study to undertake research in the learning of a language in all its domains. The conference would like to connect the world of actual teaching in the classroom to that of educational design and linguistic policy, and all of them to the empirical research in the learning and acquisition of one or several languages and cultures in linguistic immersion contexts.

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publications

New Publication: “The framing of Muslims on the Spanish Internet” (in Lodz Papers in Pragmatics)

Lodz Papers in Pragmatics

A new Wor(l)ds Lab study has been published in Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 13-2, an international journal “committed to publishing excellent theoretical and empirical research in the area of pragmatics and related disciplines focused on human communication”.

The title of our work is “The framing of Muslims on the Spanish Internet“, a study of the representation of Muslims on Internet. After the terrorist attacks in Europe (including Madrid and Barcelona), Islamophobia and Muslimophobia have grown considerably in our society. Tracking discriminatory discourses about Muslims and Islam is not easy, firstly because categorization is itself elusive: discourses mix different elements such as race, nationality, and religion when referring to Muslims. However, such a study is necessary given that political discourses, mainstream media and social media become sometimes a vehicle for hateful political beliefs, ideologies and actions.

This paper is anchored in a Cognitive linguistics approach, and especially in the Frame Semantics, where special relevance is given to lexical selection and framing strategies. In short, we followed a Corpus Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS) approach. We observe the frames through the most frequent lexical selection obtained with Corpus Linguistics tools with which we explore our data. The most frequent collocations point at the frames being constructed in the discourse. To take an example, we see that the adjective “Islamic” is frequently used with violent concepts such as “terrorism”. This indicates a conceptual contiguity between terrorism and Islam, i.e. that terrorism is part of the framing conveyed by the word islámico (‘Islamic’).

Though the social reality of Muslims in Spain is very complex (Spaniards, immigrants, tourists, refugees, etc.), the discourse on Internet is partial and shallow. As a matter of fact, even when Muslims are mentioned as belonging to a common past in Spain, they are pictured only as military invaders (“Them” as historical enemies in our territory). When it is a frame of “Them” as victims of injustice related to Islamophobia/Muslimophobia, they still are at the other end of the Us vs. Them polarization.

The research presented in this article confirms the stigmatization of this minority in the digital discourse. This also explains the fact that we have found cultural words (such as velo or jihad) semantically shifting to a negative framing. If the detection of stigmatizations is, as pointed out by experts, the first step in escalating into hate speech and hate crime, digital discourse about Muslims in Spain should be considered as worrying.