Seminar Announcement – December 2nd

The ‘Language at Leeds’ Postgraduate Research Group (L@L PGR) is pleased to invite all interested postgraduates and staff to attend the group’s second seminar of this academic year on Wednesday 2nd December, 4pm-5pm.

The hour-long session will include two  research papers:

  • Alicja Piotrkowicz ( PhD student, School of Computing, University of Leeds – Predicting the popularity of news articles on social media from headline text.

Abstract: One of the key goals for online news outlets nowadays is to engage effectively with social media users, thus prompting readers to tweet, like, or share their articles. Whether or not an article is widely shared on social media depends on a variety of factors, of which text-external factors, such as news source or reach of early adopters, have been the most widely explored. In contrast, we draw from journalism research into editorial decision-making to investigate which dimensions expressed via the text have an impact on its social media popularity. As headlines are often the first entry point into an article, we break novel ground by using only headline properties for this task. In particular, we look into the four dimensions of: news values, style, genre and topic. We conduct an analysis of the state-of-the-art, as well as novel features, and show that aspects of each of the four dimensions correlate significantly with social media popularity, validating our hypotheses on two different news sources (The Guardian and New York Times). We then test these findings on a prediction model of social media popularity.

  • Layne Mayard, PhD student, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science/ Theology and Religious Studies, University of Leeds –  Interpreting Experience.

Abstract: Tibetan language is divided into a colloquial form used in everyday communication, and a classical form used to communicate Buddhist theory. There is ample information about written translation of classical Tibetan. Tibetan masters also rely on interpreters to convey Buddhist teachings to non-Tibetan audiences. Although the contributions made to support Tibetan written translation inform interpreters’ objectives, oral translation requires different skill sets in order to be effective. Academic expertise on this subject is limited to two Tibetan language interpreter training organisations, participants in these programmes and those who act as oral translators. As a result, programmes and potential interpreters cannot fully accommodate their objectives in learning, replicating or translating Tibetan. To date, no academic study has systematically examined the process interpreters undergo during and after their training. This paper will address this gap. I shall first review literature and agencies that support classical Tibetan training. I will then consider why interpreters are necessary. There is a decline in an aging population of Tibetan Buddhist teachers who rely on interpreters, and an increase in younger adepts who master another language. I maintain, however, that the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism still relies on those who can understand the cultural subtleties of Tibetan oral communication and effectively communicate this to a non-Tibetan audience. Because so little information about Tibetan language interpreting is available, I will propose a research framework within which to study the development of these skills. Queries would include the academic structure, such as learning materials, standards and assessments. I would also examine subjective issues such as ability, personality, perseverance and cultural background. A concluding section of this framework would investigate employment potential and service to Dharma centres. Interpreting in any language is its own art form – Tibetan language is no exception. My personal experience as an interpreter-in-training for classical Tibetan has confirmed how challenging this process can be. I shall argue that a study of interpreter training would support the continuation of Tibetan Buddhist teachings as an oral tradition.

The seminar will take place between 4pm and 5pm on Wednesday 2nd December. All the meeting will take place in The Coach House, Hillary Place, Education Building.

The L@L PGR group draws together postgraduate students from across the University and acts as an intellectual forum for those students in disciplines where any aspect of language is central to their research.

If you are interested in presenting at the Language at Leeds seminar, please find more details here.

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

The L@L PGR Organisers.


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