73 research outputs found

    Konzepte von Ehre und Treue in der mittelalterlichen deutschen und niederlÀndischen Tierepik: Vergleichende narratologisch-semantische Analysen: Reinhart Fuchs, Van den vos Reynaerde und Reynaerts historie

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    This dissertation presents the results of a comparative study of concepts of honour and loyalty in medieval German and Dutch animal epics. It concerns analyses of three Germanic fox stories: Reinhart Fuchs, Van den vos Reynaerde, and Reynaerts historie. They are examined here from a systematic comparative perspective for the first time. The emphasis is on the categories 'honour' and 'loyalty', which play a central role in the relationship between a king and his servants in the Middle Ages. The courtly categories 'honour' and 'loyalty' have previously been studied through other texts, but not yet through Germanic animal epics. This dissertation shows that the Germanic animal epic is a sustained and fierce critique of courtly ideals and thus provides new insights into courtly culture. This thesis consists of four chapters. The first chapter describes the research question and objective. It gives an overview of the state of research within German and Dutch Medieval Studies. It also explains the thesis's theoretical and methodological framework. Finally, it explains the text corpus and the study's structure. The second chapter provides an overview of Western European animal epics. The focus here is on the distribution of Old French narrative material in the German-speaking lands. The German and Dutch traditions and the stories Reinhart Fuchs, Van den vos Reynaerde and Reynaerts historie are examined in more detail. The chapter ends with a comparison of the three stories, identifying important differences and similarities in the story of the meeting of the court. In all three cases, the king seems to be able to retain his honour at the beginning of the court, but at the end there is always a loss of honour. The manner in which honour is retained and honour lost is different in all three stories. This observation forms the starting point for the further analysis. The third chapter focuses on analyses of concepts of honour and loyalty in Reinhart Fuchs, Van den vos Reynaerde, and the second half of Reynaerts historie. The three analyses have a systematic structure to allow for comparison between the individual sections. The focus is on the following topics: the story of the court day; the king as main character; the fox as main character; the feudal relationship between the king and fox; and, finally, the end of the court day. Semantic analyses discuss the usage of the words honour and loyalty. Each analysis ends with an intermediate review that summarises the main findings. The fourth chapter describes the results of this study. The chapter ends with a concluding review

    Speaking of causality: On the role of prosody in communicating subjective and objective causality in discourse

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    Language users distinguish between different types of causal relations, such as those that can be directly observed from the physical world (referred to as objective causality, e.g., “My daughter had a fight with her best friend, so she cried”), and those that are constructed by people in the mental world (referred to as subjective causality, e.g., “My daughter cried, so maybe she had a fight with her best friend”). Previous research has shown that coherence markers, such as specialized causal connectives (e.g., want ‘because’ and omdat ‘because’ in Dutch), can help people determine the type of causality the speaker intends to express. This dissertation focuses on the role of prosody—variation in pitch, loudness, or timing—in communicating these two different types of causality. The dissertation first investigates the use of prosody in expressing subjective and objective causality using a dialogue task. The results show that there is a trade-off between the use of prosody and the use of specialized causal connectives in expressing those two types of causality. This dissertation then examines the effect of prosodic information on the construction of subjective and objective causality. The results obtained from a discourse completion task indicate that the prosodic features of the English connective so affect listeners’ expectations of causal relations in upcoming discourse. These results provide new insights into how different types of causality are communicated in spoken discourse by showing that not only the lexical information (connectives), but also the prosodic information plays a crucial role

    Missing Person: Structure and change in Romance demonstratives

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    Languages encode deictic information in their demonstrative systems, but exactly which information is encoded is a matter of variation. The present dissertation explores this variation, with special attention to Romance demonstrative systems, and does so from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. Synchronically, the focus is on how the attested cross-linguistic differences can be formalised in featural and, more broadly, syntactic terms. This line of investigation results in the proposal of a novel internal structure for demonstrative elements that ties together a lower person-based component and a higher spatial-based one, overcoming the classic dichotomy between the two and affording the system a larger empirical coverage. Diachronically, the focus is on how the inventory of contrastive demonstrative forms changes in the different (micro-)diachronic stages of a given language, and more concretely on how it shrinks and why. Interestingly, this change only involves demonstrative forms, but not other deictic categories (personal pronouns, possessive forms, etc.). Based on novel generalisations concerning the patterns of change attested across Romance demonstratives and on the conclusions drawn from the synchronic investigations, this work proposes that larger demonstrative systems are unstable because of their featural complexity. The latter hinges on a bias towards monotonic derivations, which triggers feature loss and results in a smaller inventory of demonstrative forms. Additionally, a structural condition on feature loss is identified (as formalised in the Last in–First out principle), which accounts for the concrete patterns of reduction and for the asymmetry between demonstrative systems (unstable) and other indexical systems (stable)

    Image Captioning with External Knowledge

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    This dissertation is dedicated to image captioning, the task of automatically generating a natural language description of a given image. Most modern automatic caption generators are trained to produce a straightforward visual description of what can be directly seen in the image. By contrast, a human-written caption may also include information that cannot be inferred from the image alone: references to image-external world knowledge. Exploring ways to enrich automatic image captioning with contextually relevant external knowledge is the main focus of this dissertation. The general approach we develop begins with the identification and extraction of relevant external knowledge. This task is carried out by a contextualization anchor, an element of image-related data that is used to determine which part of the world knowledge available in external resources would be useful for captioning a given image. Through the contextualization anchor, we identify real world entities that are relevant to the image, which make up an entity context. We further retrieve various facts about these entities, creating an informative knowledge context. We integrate both entity and knowledge contexts into a neural encoder-decoder captioning pipeline as extra sources of information for generating the caption. The goal of the resulting “knowledge-aware” captioning model is to generate captions that are influenced by the relevant external knowledge and possibly include explicit references to it. During evaluation, we pay special attention to measuring factual accuracy, the veridicality of image-external knowledge in the automatically generated captions. Based on this approach, we develop three image captioning models. Their training data, which includes two new datasets we compile, contains naturally produced captions with abundant references to external knowledge. The first model focuses on geographic knowledge in particular. It uses image location metadata as a contextualization anchor to identify geographic entities in and around the image. These entities make up the geographic entity context, which provides extra input for the encoder and an additional vocabulary for the decoder, allowing it to generate entity names in the captions. The evaluation shows a substantial improvement over the standard baseline models, particularly in the ability to correctly produce specific geographic references. The second model additionally includes the knowledge context, which consists of diverse encyclopedic facts about the relevant entities. It is used as another input to the encoder, and in the decoder it provides extra contextualization for the generation of regular words and another vocabulary for generating fact-related tokens. In our experiments, this model confidently outperforms various baseline models in standard captioning metrics and, importantly, in the accuracy of the generated facts. The third model extends beyond the geographic domain and applies our approach to the qualitatively different data: images from newspaper articles. Here, the article itself is used as a contextualization anchor, the entity context is constructed from named entities of various types (not only geographic), collected from the article text, and the knowledge context includes encyclopedic facts about these entities. The resulting model is able to generate contextualized captions that incorporate information from both the article and an external knowledge base

    Language impairment and executive functioning in children: The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome as an etiologically homogeneous model for Developmental Language Disorder

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    Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) have persistent language difficulties in the absence of a clear cause. Their language difficulties can for example not be explained by hearing loss or a lack of language input. Many children with DLD also have executive functioning (EF) deficits. It is currently unclear how these EF deficits relate to their language difficulties. Children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) also frequently have speech-language problems. However, in their case the cause of these problems is known: a genetic disorder stemming from a missing piece of DNA on chromosome 22. This leads to a wide variety of symptoms, most prominently congenital heart defects, palatal abnormalities, and cognitive deficits. The multifactorial nature of DLD hampers our ability to shed light on the relationship between language impairment and EF deficits. The language impairment of children with 22q11DS all stem from the same underlying etiology (i.e., cause of a disease or condition), which might help reduce the complexity of this investigation. This dissertation explores whether 22q11DS can be used as an etiologically homogeneous model for studying the relationship between language and EF in children with DLD. We conclude that, although the groups are phenotypically similar regarding language profile and EF deficits, there are several limitations with using 22q11DS as a model for DLD. Nonetheless, a comparison between these groups is clinically relevant and provides interesting opportunities for fundamental research

    Dependency as Modality, Parsing as Permutation: A Neurosymbolic Perspective on Categorial Grammars

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    Type systems (in the form of categorial grammars) are the front runners in the quest for a formally elegant, computationally attractive and flexible theory of linguistic form and meaning. Words enact typed constants, and interact with one another via means of grammatical rules enacted by type inferences, composing larger phrases in the process. The end result is at the same time a parse, a proof and a program, bridging the seemingly disparate fields of linguistics, formal logics and computer science. The transition from form to meaning is traditionally handled via a series of homomorphisms that simplify nuances of the syntactic calculus to move towards a uniform semantic calculus. Alluring as this might be, it poses pragmatic considerations. For the setup to work on the semantic level, one has no choice but to start from the hardest part, namely natural language syntax. Phenomena like movement, word-order variation, discontinuities, etc. require careful treatment that needs to be both general enough to encompass the full range of grammatical utterances, yet strict enough to ward off ungrammatical derivations. This thesis takes an operational shortcut in targeting a ``deeper'' calculus of grammatical composition, engaging only minimally with surface syntax. Where previously functional functional syntactic types would be position-conscious, requiring their arguments in predetermined positions upon a binary tree, they are now agnostic to both tree structure and sequential order, alleviating the need for syntactic refinements. This simplification comes at the cost of a misalignment between provability and grammaticality: the laxer semantic calculus permits more proofs than linguistically desired. To circumvent this underspecification, the thesis takes a step away from the established norm, proposing the incorporation of unary type operators extending the function-argument axis with grammatical role labels. The new calculus produces mixed unary/n-ary trees, each unary tree denoting a dependency domain, and each n-ary tree denoting the phrases which together form that domain. Although still underspecified, these structures now subsume non-projective labeled dependency trees. More than that, they have their roots set firmly in type theory, allowing meaningful semantic interpretation. On more practical grounds and in order to investigate the formalism's adequacy, an extraction algorithm is employed to convert syntactic analyses of sentences (represented as dependency graphs) into proofs of the target logic. This gives rise to a large proofbank, a collection of sentences paired with tectogrammatic theorems and their corresponding programs, and an elaborate type lexicon, providing type assignments to one million lexical tokens within a linguistic context. The proofbank and the lexicon find use as training data in the design of a neurosymbolic proof search system, able to efficiently navigate the logic's theorem space. The system consists of three components. Component one is a supertagger responsible for assigning a type to each word — the tagger is formulated as a heterogeneous graph convolution kernel that boasts state-of-the-art accuracy. Rather than produce asignments in the form of conditional probabilities over a predefined vocabulary, it instead constructs types dynamicaly. As such, it is unconstrained by data sparsity, generalizing well to rare assignments and producing correct assignments for types never seen during training. Component two is a neural permutation module that exploits the linearity constraint of the logic in order to simplify proof search as optimal transport learning, associating resources (conditional validities) to the processes that require them (conditions). This allows for a parallel and easily optimizable implementation, unobstructed by the structure manipulation found in conventional parsers. Component three is the type system itself, responsible for navigating the produced structures and asserting their well-formedness. Results suggest performance superior to established baselines across categorial formalisms, despite the ambiguity inherent to the logic

    The School as a Playground for Educational Friction: Understanding Democracy in Dutch Secondary Education

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    This research started in the context of this renewed attention for democracy education and questions about its implementation in practice. In this thesis, we aimed to understand the meaning of democracy in Dutch secondary education in debates about ‘good education’, explore the school as a place to practice democracy where conflict could be accepted as an inherent part of human relations, and study teachers’ practice in handling friction when teaching sensitive topics. In Chapter 2 we presented our first study, which was aimed at grasping the different meanings of democracy constructed within the debate about ‘good education’ in the Netherlands. The diagnostic frame showed how the concept of democracy is constructed as a response to what is referred to as a ‘neoliberal perspective’ on education, and the influence of ‘the culture of measurement’, two dimensions that, according to the selected documents, undermine education. This frame functions as a counter-terminology and sets the stage for the prognostic frame in which the meaning of democracy is constructed as a response in the selected documents. In Chapter 3, we asked Dutch experts from three categories of expertise to further grasp the local understanding of democracy in relation to education. This resulted in four emerging themes. These themes were: the distribution of responsibility of teachers and school leaders, questions concerning Article 23 about the freedom of education grounded in the Dutch constitution, the content and aims of citizenship education, and, the conceptualisation of ‘the school as a place to practice democracy’, which the panel described as the most urgent theme. We made this conceptualisation the focus of further research, and questioned how the school could be understood as such. In Chapter 4, we developed a theoretical framework that could function as analytical tool to understand educational friction. To articulate our framework in which conflict can be seen as educational, we used insights from democratic theory, narrative theory, and cultural theory. Mouffe (2005) emphasizes the importance of turning antagonism into agonism. To translate conflict for educational purposes, we proposed to turn political conflict into educational friction. In our final study, our aim was to study how expert teachers handle friction in the classroom. We purposefully selected nine teachers and asked them to develop a lesson in which multiple perspectives would appear. We observed and filmed their lessons and conducted a stimulated recall interview afterwards. Educational friction is about learning through experience that it is okay to be shaken from time to time, to not understand, to be surprised, or feel resistance. That is what it takes to live in a plural and diverse society. Democracy, if understood as experienced associated living with a capacity for growth, means allowing a form of learning in the classroom in which teachers in a subject-subject relation with their pupils, limit and challenge students and themselves on the playground in which the political can be learned. Consequently, there will be moments of interruption and disorientation as part of the friction. Educational friction is a move beyond democracy, for democracy

    More than words: The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome as a genetic model for understanding variability in neuropsychiatric symptoms of children with Developmental Language Disorder

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    Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting approximately 3-7% of children in the general population. In addition to persistent language difficulties, many children with DLD experience symptoms of various neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the relationship between neuropsychiatric symptoms and language difficulties in DLD is insufficiently clear. A better understanding of this relationship, might improve our ability to identify those children with DLD who are most likely to develop neuropsychiatric symptoms and therefore potentially benefit from targeted intervention. The exact cause of DLD remains unknown and varies from child-to-child. Consequently, the relationship between language difficulties and neuropsychiatric symptoms is likely to vary among children with DLD as well. This variability might have prevented previous research to uncover this relationship in the group of children with DLD. Therefore, studying a population of children who all share the same genetic origin could provide an opportunity to identify relationships between language difficulties neuropsychiatric symptoms. This was the approach central to this dissertation. Children with DLD were compared to a group of children with a genetic condition: children with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). Similar to DLD, 22q11DS is associated with language difficulties and neuropsychiatric symptoms. However, these difficulties in 22q11DS have a shared cause, consisting of missing a small part of chromosome 22. Results of this dissertation provide new insights on the impact of language difficulties on the occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in 22q11DS. The findings provide leads for future research and clinical care for children with 22q11DS and children with DLD

    Woodcuts as reading guides. How images shaped knowledge transmission in medical-astrological books in Dutch (1500-1550)

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    In the first half of the sixteenth century, the Low Countries saw the rise of a lively market for practical and instructive books that targeted a diversified audience of primarily non-specialists. In what ways did woodcuts shape reading experiences in such books that intended to convey knowledge of medicine and astrology in the Dutch vernacular? This book historical study not only uncovers the strategies, assumptions, and intentions of book producers to which images testify, but crucially also shows how actual readers engaged with these illustrated books. I argue that woodcuts – even the crudely cut ones, the tiny ones, and the incessantly copied ones – fulfil important rhetorical functions in knowledge communication. I demonstrate how images shaped three key mechanisms of knowledge transmission in particular: organising and visualising knowledge and conveying its reliability. In order to understand how images influenced the reading process, attention for the materiality of the book as a whole is crucial. For a precise understanding of this influence, I draw on insights on visual rhetoric from the field of information design studies. This study also demonstrates that materiality yields important insights into the actual use of illustrated books and the customisation of medical-astrological knowledge by early modern readers. Their traces – whether markings, extensive annotations, quickly scribbled symbols or hand-colouring – not only testify to readers’ interests and reading practices, but also to their conceptualisation of the page as a visual space and in some cases specifically to what caught their eye in images

    CommuniCare: Development, evaluation, and implementation of a generic Communication Partner Training using perspectives of people with aphasia and healthcare professionals

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    Aphasia is a language disorder as a consequence of stroke. People with aphasia experience difficulties with understanding and communicating with others, such as healthcare professionals. As result, people with aphasia have higher risks of receiving inadequate care, show worse rehabilitation outcomes, lower satisfaction rates, higher risks for adverse events and higher medical costs. International studies have shown positive effects on communication between people with aphasia and healthcare professionals (HCPs) after providing HCPs with Communication Partner Training (CPT). CPT is an umbrella term for interventions that are aimed at improving communication between people with aphasia and their conversation partners. CPT interventions often include training modules where HCPs learn to use supportive conversation techniques. Positive effects include an increase in the use of conversation techniques, increased satisfaction and participation of the person with aphasia and improved quality of life scores. However, although the implementation of CPT intervention was included in best-practice statements and evidence-based guidelines, there were no CPT interventions available that were developed for the Dutch or Flemish context. Also, due to underreporting of CPT interventions, lack of outcome measures and lack of implementation research, there was little understanding of how different intervention elements in CPT interventions produce different outcomes. In this PhD thesis, we aimed to develop and evaluate a CPT intervention that is applicable for the Dutch and Flemish context. The CPT intervention was named CommuniCare and was developed based on the needs and wishes of the users (HCPs) and end-users (people with aphasia and their relatives) (Chapter 1-4). Chapter 5 describes the CommuniCare intervention in detail. From 2018-2020, almost 300 HCPs were provided the intervention. The evaluation of CommuniCare was conducted by analyzing the mechanisms of change from HCPs' perspectives (Chapter 6). Different intervention elements in CommuniCare improved HCPs skills, capacities and confidence to use supportive conversation techniques during conversations. The main barriers included time constraints, remaining lack of confidence and lack of positive beliefs. Using implementation theory, participating healthcare centers developed implementation strategies to address these barriers. This PhD thesis provides recommendations for implementing CPT interventions in healthcare centers, in order to improve communication between HCPs and people with aphasia. Implementation strategies include leadership, the development of supportive tools, financial and organizational facilitation by management and a change in role of Speech-and Language Therapists (SLTs). We also provide recommendations on how to lay the foundations of good communication skills in early-career healthcare students. Examples include teaching SLTs to coach and support their colleagues, and providing student courses for becoming Implementation Support Practitioners
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