Perspective matters: event framing in language & society

[trigger warning: mentions of gender-based violence]

When talking about societally impactful events, our choices of words and grammatical constructions often reflect our socio-political perspective on these events and affect how the people that we talk to perceive the events. In particular, in events that involve an unequal power relationship between different groups of people, this relationship affects how the agency of the participants in the events is portrayed. Gender-based violence is a particularly relevant example of this: “woman tragically dies in family incident” and “man suspected of killing his wife” could both be factually accurate descriptions of a femicide, but, when used as a newspaper headline, convey very different views of the event. In the lecture, we will discuss ways in which recently developed NLP techniques can help make visible such different ‘framings’ and contribute to increasing societal awareness. The lecture will be followed by a hands-on session in which we will do small-scale experiments together, looking at how to apply and extend these techniques.

Gosse Minnema is a computational linguist based in Groningen, The Netherlands. He is currently preparing to defend his PhD thesis on frame semantics applied to media framing. His main area of interest is computational semantics and, in a broad sense, ways of applying it in societally meaningful ways. He is currently also an active member of the project “PeARS: The People’s Search Engine” ( which aims to promote community-owned, privacy-friendly and sustainable NLP solutions for web search and knowledge management.

When: March 26, h 14
Where: Via Sant’Ottavio 54, Room 3.06

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