Dance – Linguistics and disinformation: motivations and solutions for sharing fake news

FORGE is delighted to announce a talk by our upcoming internal speaker: William Dance (Linguistics & English Language). Details of his talk are below:

TITLE
Linguistics and disinformation: motivations and solutions for sharing fake news

ABSTRACT
Fake news, intentionally factually incorrect news that is published to deceive and misinform its reader, has become a very prominent issue in the public arena in recent years. It has been estimated that factually un-true stories were shared more than 30-million times during the 2016 U.S. presidential election (Allcott and Gentzkow, 2017) and already in 2019, the British government has published a white paper to tackle the spread of disinformation. However, at its core fake news is a contentious issue: should we even use the term ‘fake news’?; is fake news as damaging as people claim it to be?; can anything be done to stop it?

Fake news is a modern name for a very old phenomenon and it has been an issue for centuries, shown by Charles II’s 17th century proclamation “to restrain the spreading of false news, and licentious talking of matters of state and government” (Early English Books Online, 2017). Organisations such as the Department for Agitation and Propaganda in Soviet Russia and the Ministry of Popular Culture in Italy all created fake news under different names during the 20th century and under Hitler’s rule of Germany parts of the press were referred to as the Lügenpresse (literally: lying press). However, it is only in the last five years the term ‘fake news’ has entered our daily lives.

This talk will be a complete beginner’s guide to researching fake news. It will give a history of fake news that will discuss how old the phenomenon is, provide definitions of fake news and will explain why fake news exists. Then, recent seminal works exploring fake news will be discussed as well as the various government reports that are currently being published across the world to tackle fake news. I’ll then go on to give a work-in-progress report of my current research into fake news and give some examples of cursory data analysis that looks at social media users’ motivations and rationales for disseminating fake news online.

References
Allcott, H. & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211-236.

Donath, J. (1999). Identity and deception in the virtual community. In Communities in Cyberspace. London: Routledge. (pp. 343-359).

Guess, A., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2018). Selective exposure to misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 US presidential campaign. European Research Council, 9.

Hardaker, C. (2013). “Uh…..not to be nitpicky,,,,,but…the past tense of drag is dragged, not drug.”: an overview of trolling strategies. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, 1 (1). pp. 57-86.

Rayson, P. (2008). From key words to key semantic domains. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 13(4), 519-549.

TIME & PLACE
1100-1200, Wed 06th Mar, County South B89

All are welcome to attend.

Wright – “You need to speak in English, you’re in f***ing England”: how the British press fan the flames of linguistic discrimination

The FORGE is delighted to announce our second external guest speaker: Dr David Wright (NTU). Details of his talk are below:

TITLE
“You need to speak in English, you’re in f***ing England”: how the British press fan the flames of linguistic discrimination

ABSTRACT
Every so often a story of linguistic discrimination makes the national news in Britain. Whether it’s offensive graffiti in an East London borough, tourists being verbally abused in the street, or acts of physical violence towards people on the tube, the motivation for these attacks is the same – the victims aren’t native English speakers.

In this talk, I demonstrate the ways in which such criminal behaviours have been at best legitimised, and at worst incited, by some sections of the British national press. I examine the ways in which non-native English speakers living in Britain are framed as a ‘problem’ for the native English majority, and how discriminatory, exclusionary and prejudiced ideologies about race, ethnicity and nationality are packaged in discourse about ‘language’.

Using a 5-million word corpus of British press reporting from 2005-2017, I explore the various ways in which non-native English speakers are vilified and demonised by the press. I also trace the development of certain discourses over time, and the means by which particular ideologies and arguments are ushered into the public debate, before being escalated and amplified. Most specifically, I observe the impact that the results of the 2011 Census had on the nature of such reporting, when it was revealed that 138,000 people (or 0.26% of the British population) do not speak English.

BIO
Dr David Wright is a forensic linguist at Nottingham Trent University. His research applies methods of corpus linguistics and discourse analysis in forensic contexts and aims to use language analysis to help improve the delivery of justice. His research spans across a range of intersections between language and the law, language in crime and evidence, and discourses of abuse, harassment and discrimination. He is co-author of An Introduction to Forensic Linguistics: Language in Evidence (with Malcolm Coulthard and Alison Johnson) and has published in international journals in forensic linguistics, corpus linguistics and critical discourse studies.

TIME & PLACE
1100-1200, Wed 27th Feb, County South B89

Rayson – Wmatrix for forensic linguistics: a practical hands-on demo

UCREL CRS and FORGE are pleased to announce the next speaker for this year’s seminar series: Dr Paul Rayson (Lancaster). Details of his talk can be found below:

TITLE
Wmatrix for forensic linguistics: a practical hands-on demo

ABSTRACT
Wmatrix was originally conceived in the REVERE project (1998-2001) as a web interface to facilitate the availability of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Corpus Linguistics (CL) tools and methods to software engineers who were studying legacy systems through document archaeology alone (Rayson et al 2001, 2005). Since then, its web interface has been extended to expose more underlying details of the language analysis rather than hiding them away, and it has supported applications of NLP and CL methods in many other areas such as political discourse analysis, tracing facework, corpus stylistics, metaphor analysis, topic modelling, evaluating problem based learning and the language of illness. In the short talk at the beginning of this session, I will highlight applications in forensic, legal, and policing settings, for example: online child protection (Rashid et al 2013), predicting collective action (Charitonidis et al 2017), scientific fraud (Markowitz and Hancock 2014), and studies of the language of international criminal tribunals (Potts and Kjær 2015), sex offenders (Lord et al 2008), extremism and counter extremism (Prentice et al 2012), and psychopaths (Hancock et al 2013). In the remainder of the two-hour session, participants will follow the online tutorials which introduce the key semantic domains method. We will use the new version 4 of Wmatrix running on a dedicated server with secure HTTPS access, which went public in December 2018. Users will be provided with existing manifesto datasets but you are welcome to bring your own English corpora to upload.

Charitonidis C., Rashid A., Taylor P.J. (2017) Predicting Collective Action from Micro-Blog Data. In: Kawash J., Agarwal N., Özyer T. (eds) Prediction and Inference from Social Networks and Social Media. Lecture Notes in Social Networks. Springer, Cham

Jeffrey T. Hancock, Michael T. Woodworth and Stephen Porter (2013) Hungry like the wolf: A word-pattern analysis of the language of psychopaths. Legal and Criminological Psychology. Volume 18, Issue 1, pages 102-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8333.2011.02025.x

Lord V, Davis B, Mason P. 2008. Stance-shifting in language used by sex offenders. Psychology, Crime & Law 14, 357-379.

Markowitz DM, Hancock JT (2014) Linguistic Traces of a Scientific Fraud: The Case of Diederik Stapel. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105937. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105937

Potts, A. and Kjær, A.L. (2015) Constructing Achievement in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY): A Corpus-Based Critical Discourse Analysis. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. doi: 10.1007/s11196-015-9440-y

Prentice, S, Rayson, P & Taylor, P 2012, ‘The language of Islamic extremism: towards an automated identification of beliefs, motivations and justifications’ International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 259-286. DOI: 10.1075/ijcl.17.2.05pre

Rashid, A, Baron, A, Rayson, P, May-Chahal, C, Greenwood, P & Walkerdine, J 2013, ‘Who am I? Analysing Digital Personas in Cybercrime Investigations’ Computer, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 54-61. DOI: 10.1109/MC.2013.68

Rayson, P., Emmet, L., Garside, R., & Sawyer, P. (2001). The REVERE project: Experiments with the application of probabilistic NLP to systems engineering. In Natural Language Processing and Information Systems – 5th International Conference on Applicationsof Natural Language to Information Systems, NLDB 2000, Revised Papers (pp. 288-300).

Sawyer, P., Rayson, P., & Cosh, K. (2005). Shallow Knowledge as an Aid to Deep Understanding in Early-Phase Requirements Engineering. DOI: 10.1109/TSE.2005.12

TIME & PLACE
1100-1300, Wed 16th Jan, Management School A001c (PC/Learning Lab)

Larner – How children and young people disclose sexual abuse

The FORGE is delighted to announce our first external guest speaker: Dr Sam Larner (MMU). Details of his talk are below:

TITLE
How Children and Young People Disclose Sexual Abuse: A linguistic analysis of NSPCC ChildLine online chat transcripts

NOTES
THIS TALK IS ON A TOPIC, AND WILL CONTAIN EXTRACTS OF DATA, THAT SOME MAY FIND DISTRESSING.

DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED.

ABSTRACT
Research indicates that when children and young people make the difficult decision to disclose that they have been sexually abused, their linguistic capabilities may limit the extent to which they can make a full and clear disclosure. This may be problematic from a safeguarding perspective since the recipient of the disclosure may not realize or fully appreciate what the child or young person is trying to disclose, or even that an attempt at disclosure is being made. Whilst the process of, and barriers to, disclosure have been extensively researched, the linguistic strategies used to communicate disclosure have received relatively little attention. In order to provide a novel perspective, this research addresses the question ‘How do children and young people disclose that they have been sexually abused?’ Online chat conversations in which sexual abuse was disclosed (n=40) between children and young people (aged 10—18 years old) and ChildLine counsellors were analysed. Whilst some children and young people do use explicit terms to describe sexual abuse, these are predominantly used to seek definitions and clarification. Furthermore, counsellors play an instrumental role in recognising that a disclosure is being made, and then eliciting and reframing the disclosure as sexual abuse. The findings provide insight into why some victims of sexual abuse report having attempted to tell an adult but feel like they were not heard. This raises questions about how disclosures are made in other contexts and whether institutional safeguarding policies are fit for purpose.

BIO
Dr Sam Larner holds a BA (Hons.) in Linguistics from Lancaster University, an MA (Distinction) in Forensic Linguistics from Cardiff University, and a Ph.D. in Forensic Linguistics from Aston University. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, and a member of the British Association for Applied Linguistics. Dr Larner’s experience in forensic linguistics spans over ten years. He joined Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015, and he has also held lectureships at the University of Central Lancashire and Newman University as well as giving guest lectures in the Czech Republic and Germany.

TIME & PLACE
1100-1200, Wed 12th Dec, County South B89

Hardaker – THE DEMOS IS IN THE DETAILS: Are women really more misogynistic than men online?

The FORGE is delighted to announce our first speaker of the 2018-2019 academic year: Dr Claire Hardaker (Lancaster). Details of her talk are below:

TITLE
THE DEMOS IS IN THE DETAILS: Are women really more misogynistic than men online?

ABSTRACT
In this talk I discuss the 2016 report written by Demos and presented to the House of Commons entitled “The use of misogynistic terms on Twitter”. In this report, Demos undertook “a small scale study examining the use of two popularly used misogynistic terms (‘slut’ and ‘whore’) on the social media platform Twitter” and found that “50% of the total aggressive tweets were sent by women, while 40% were sent by men, and 10% were sent by organisations or users whose genders could not be classified.” The research question in this project is simply this: is Demos right? This talk presents an overview of three follow-up studies – MEGASWAT, MINISWAT1, and MINISWAT2. It then presents more in-depth findings of the third study, MINISWAT2, in which 15,000 tweets were manually coded for author gender, target gender, and purpose. The results from these, unsurprisingly, differ from those found by Demos, but other key issues from the MINISWAT2 findings and about the Demos study are also highlighted.

TIME & PLACE
1100-1200, Wed 10th Oct, County South B89

 

Grant – Taking language analysis to Court – How linguistic investigative advice, language evidence, and expert opinion are used in the UK justice system

The FORGE is delighted to announce our third and final external guest speaker: Prof Tim Grant (Aston). Details of his talk are below:

TITLE
Taking language analysis to Court – How linguistic investigative advice, language evidence, and expert opinion are used in the UK justice system

NOTES
This will be of especial interest to those looking to go into a career in forensic linguistics.

ABSTRACT
In this talk Tim Grant will examine the different roles through which language analysis can be used to improve the delivery of justice in the Courts. Through discussion of a series of cases in which he has been involved he will argue that forensic linguists, acting both as researchers and practitioners, need to focus on a broad variety of use cases and understand better how their analysis can be useful in the criminal and civil justice systems. He will examine the legal context in through which experts (including linguists) give evidence in Court and he will argue that forensic linguistic evidence needs to be methodological rigorous and admissible but also it must include clear and convincing explanation to provide the tryers of fact with a rationale basis for making their decisions.

BIO
Prof Tim GrantProfessor Tim Grant is the Director of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University. Tim is on the Ethics and Professional Practice Committee of the International Association of Forensic Linguists and is a member of the Scientific Committee for the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG). Tim has extensive experience of providing linguistic evidence in a variety of cases including successful investigations into sexual assault, stalking, murder, and terrorism. Tim is particularly interested in forensic authorship analysis focusing on short messages such as text messages and Twitter posts, and he is also interested in how linguists can advise and train police officers to conduct better interviews. Tim’s work has appeared in featured newspaper articles and on BBC radio programmes. Furthermore, after providing a profile of a writer of roughly 60 racially and sexually abusive letters, Tim appeared as part of a media appeal on the BBC Crimewatch programme. This media appeal was successful in finding the offender, who matched the profile proposed by Tim.

TIME & PLACE
1300-1400, Wed 22nd Mar, Management School Lecture Theatre 6

Chatterjee – Gender and cyberwarfare – a critical examination of key terms and images

FORGE is delighted to announce a talk by our upcoming internal speaker: Dr Bela Chatterjee (Law). Details of her talk are below:

TITLE
Gender and cyberwarfare – a critical examination of key terms and images

ABSTRACT
In this presentation Dr Chatterjee considers the language and imagery surrounding popular discourses of cyberwarfare, and linking them to questions of gender. Drawing on popular cultural reference points such as James Bond’s Skyfall and newspaper cartoons, she considers potential gender dimensions to cyberwarfare and the possible implications of the gendered constructions of cyberwarfare for International Law discourses on cyber war.

TIME & PLACE
1300-1400, Mon 27th Feb, County South B89

All are welcome to attend.

Former Det Ch Supt Carr – The practicalities of police interviews

The FORGE is delighted to announce our first external guest speaker of 2017: Former Detective Chief Superintendent Laurence Carr (Merseyside Police).

Details of his talk are below.

TITLE
The practicalities of police interviews

ABSTRACT
Please be aware that this talk will involve reference to criminal cases.

This presentation aims to examine the practical obstacles that exist in police interview situations and how police in the UK have developed a method to try to overcome those obstacles so as to maximise disclosure and dialogue. It touches upon the development of the methodology, examines what the interview actually consists of, contrasts and compares differing techniques and examines the arguments for and against. It also looks at such things as how to overcome silence, how to use silence, the power dynamic in the room, effective listening, managing the physical environment, dealing with deliberate obstruction, rapport building, and effective conversation management amongst other topics.

BIO
Laurence Carr spent 30 years in Merseyside Police achieving the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent. He led the Force Major Incident Team and was heavily involved in police interviews in numerous contexts, both as a practitioner and as a strategist. He now leads the Behavioural Assessment Unit at a leading financial services company.

TIME & PLACE
W17, 1200-1400, Thu 02nd Mar, George Fox Lecture Theatre 3
Note that the talk itself will run from 1200-1300, and Laurence will stay for a further hour in case anyone wishes to chat with him one-to-one.

All are welcome to attend.