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research lines


. Social Sciences

Linguistics is a diverse field of research, and several different disciplines within it relate to the notion of complex systems. The study of language can be used to access information about human behaviour, the human brain and its processes, and about social and cultural structures on a larger scale. The field of linguistics further generates some very concrete applications, mostly related to technology and human-machine interactions, as well as clinical applications.

The work done by the linguistics department of our university within the Institute for Complex Systems is focused on three very distinct lines of research. The research group for biolinguistics studies the neurobiological foundations of the human capacity for language, as well as human-specific cognition at a more general level. To do so it employs a combination of theoretical, computational and genetic methods. Some of the main lines of investigation within the group are studying phenomena like the Neandertal genome, vocal learning in songbirds and its relationship to the human capacity for language, and the molecular processes that are involved in memory formation. In the line of Sociolinguistics and Linguistic Variation, the focus is on the application of theories of complexity to the comprehension of social, communicative-cognitive and linguistic phenomena. Finally, concerning Computational Linguistics, we focus on the detection of the linguistic features that allow us to identify communicative attitudes, opinion (polarity), irony, emotions and socio-political stance in oral and written texts, especially those produced on social media. There is also interest in the development of language technology resources, which are the base of natural language processing applications (information extraction, question-answering, recommendation systems, machine translation, etc.).

Researchers involved in this line are: