Labs UU

Labs Utrecht University

First name and face

Is it possible to guess someones first name by his or her face? Some researchers think that your first name influences the image you want to radiate, not only by the way you dress yourself but also in the looks of your face. Others think that the physical possibilities are simply too restricted for that and certainly not betray your first name. We are going to investigate this in an experiment. A number of faces wil be shown, each with four alternative first names to choose from. If you have no idea, you make a random choice which is correct in 25% of the cases. But if your intuition about the face is right, and the hypothesis as well, than your score would be higher. However, the result is also strongly dependent on the name alternatives. We are going to test with you the effect of the latter.

Gerrit Bloothooft
Friday 29 September 11:00 - 16:00

Share your linguistic biography

People attending the DRONGO language festival are interested in languages. This lab provides an opportunity for visitors to share something of their own language knowledge with others at the festival. Participants will be asked to list the languages they speak and be invited to talk about how they learned their languages and where and when they use them in their daily lives. Participants will also be invited to submit research questions on topics they would like to see addressed at Utrecht University.

Debbie Cole
Friday 29 & Saturday 30 September

Digital Arabic

The first task facing a learner of a new language is to figure out the sound system. The learner does not only have to acquire how to distinguish all the linguistically important differences, but also how to produce them. Each language has its own inventory of sounds. The Dutch inventory consists of many vowels and diphthongs but only has 22 consonants, while the Arabic inventory, on the other hand, only has three vowels and 28 consonants. Nine of these 28 consonants are unknown in Dutch. In order to become a fluent (proficient) speaker of Arabic, a Dutch speaker has to develop his/her auditory system. This system has to be trained referring to both pronunciation (production) and understanding (perception). For this purpose digital exercises are being developed at Utrecht University. Students can practice these exercises in an online learning environment. Try them yourself at the DRONGO language festival 2017! How would you rate your command of distinguishing sounds you probably didn’t know before?

Corné Hanssen
Friday 29 September 11:00 - 16:00

Do you have an ear for English?

This listening test focuses on hearing the difference between English sounds (such as man-men, had-hat, thin-fin). How good is your perception of these English sounds? I'm teaching English in a secondary school and my research focuses on whether listening to these English sounds improves your pronunciation. So far, results are looking promising!

Marlissa Hommel
Saturday 30 September 14:15 - 17:00

The DLD Quiz

In our lab you will come to learn about Developmental Language Disorders (DLD). You can experience what it is like to have DLD and check your knowledge of DLD. There will be information about research of Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU) and Utrecht University (UU), which is focusing on diagnostics and intervention. 
Children with Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) experience difficulties using language and understanding it. They are often late talkers, their intelligibility is poor, they do not always understand instructions and have difficulties to express themselves, because their vocabulary and syntax are insufficient. 
DLD is not visible. It is a hidden impairment, which can lead to loneliness. DLD is still relatively unknown and it is often confused with other disorders, such as dyslexia, stuttering, general language delay and autism. 

Gerda Bruinsma & Inge Klatte
Saturday 30 September 11:00 - 13:45

There is a horse in the hallway

The sentence ‘Er staat een paard in de gang’ (There is a horse in the hallway) is perfectly fine in Dutch. You can also say ‘Daar staat een paard in de gang’ (There is a horse in the hallway there), or ‘Hier staat een paard in de gang’ (Here is a horse in the hallway). But the sentence ‘Daar zijn 26 letters in het alfabet’ (There are 26 letters in the alphabet there) sounds strange, as does ‘Hier zijn 26 letters in het alfabet’ (Here are 26 letters in the alphabet). Why is that?

Also, one cannot say ‘Er staat André van Duin in de gang’ (There is André van Duin in the hallway.), why not?

Consider some more examples with the word 'er':
'Maxima woont er.' (Maxima lives 'er'.)
‘Maxima heeft er duizend.’ (Maxima has 'er' thousand.)
‘Maxima is er mee getrouwd.’ (Maxima is 'er mee' married.)
Does 'er' mean the same in these three sentences? How many kinds of 'er' are there?

Franca Wesseling
Saturday 30 September 11:00 - 13:45

Time in translation

Languages like English, Dutch, French, Spanish, German use verb inflection to locate a situation in the past, present or future time domain. Yet these languages do not use their tense forms in the same way. Current linguistics literature is unable to eplain why the English 'Guys, guys, come and have a look! I found a baby panda! is translated in Dutch with the Present Perfect 'Ik heb een panda beer gevonden!' and not with the Simple Past 'vond'. We systematically investigate large, digital translation corpora to detect the keys to such variation in the meaning of verbal tenses. The insights can be used in educational environments (language teaching), in translation (professional and automatic translation) and in computational linguistics (plugins, discourse annotation methods). 

Henriëtte de Swart
Saturday 30 September 14:15 - 17:00

Lingua Receptiva

Lingua receptiva (LaRa) is a mode of multilingual communication where speakers use a different language and still understand each other on the basis of their receptive proficiency in the language of the other person. LaRa can be found in multilingual families, companies and educational constellations ( . LaRa is not the solution for all problem in a multilingual society, however, many people make use of this mode without knowing it. In this LAB you will experience LaRa and will be informed about its advantages and disadvantages. Read more:

Jan ten Thije
Friday 29 September 11:00 - 16:00

Recognize the accent

Visitors at the festival can test their knowledge of language variation within the Netherlands. Through headphones they will listen to voices of Dutch speakers with a specific accent (Brabantic, Limburgian, Amsterdam, Groningen accent, etc.). They will guess the origin of the speakers by clicking on a map of the Netherlands. Answers will be saved and used for linguistic research. 

Anne-France Pinget
Saturday 30 September 11:00 - 13:45

Language in the courtroom

To understand language people mentally represent the described situation. This mental representation is known as a situation model. We know that the specific words we choose to describe a situation can influence the situation model that we construct. For example, our situation model for the sentence ‘The cars smashed into each other’ is different than our situation model for the sentence ‘The cars hit each other’. The influence of language on the construction of a situation model can even be more subtle. Our research focuses on how the use of active (e.g., ‘Mark irritated Joe’) and passive (e.g., ‘Joe got irritated’) sentences influence our situation model and how we think about a situation. We study these effects in a legal context. 

Marijana Marelj, Marijn Struiksma & Anita Eerland
Saturday 30 September 11:00 - 13:45

The lingua franca of 15th century woodcarvings

With a little overstatement, the woodcut can be considered one of the earliest mass media. In this lab, you explore the characteristic visual language of these late medieval prints and you will see examples of how they were used as means of communication. In addition, you can have a go at printing your own ‘medieval’ woodcut. The result is yours to keep!

Andrea van Leerdam
Friday 29 September 11:00 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 16:30

Was Dutch in the 17th century really that different?

The seventeenth century poet Bredero wrote in one of his love songs: ‘I have to sway lonely, / and crossing here the street’. Today we might find this word order strange or maybe wrong in English as well as in Dutch. In Dutch we would choose to place the verb ‘crossing’ at the end of the sentence whereas in English you would place the word ‘here’ at the end of the sentence. But what if the sentence would have been: ‘I have to cross here street after street.’ Would that be acceptable? Or if this was a sentence read to you as part of a poem: would you be more forgiving? 
Because we are interested in the rich language of the people from the seventeenth century, we started the study project ‘Language dynamics of the Golden Age’ focussing on the Dutch language. During the Golden Age the Dutch language was remarkably diverse: ‘crossing the street’ could coexist easily with ‘the street crossing’. Sometimes it seems as if the people of the seventeenth century had no idea what they were doing, but that is not entirely true. Just like us, the language users back then had their restrictions. And the same as today, the limitations of the language were flexible and within the context they could be stretched. It seems that the seventeenth century authors used more variety in metrical texts, just like we are permitted to use more freedom in today’s poetry. After all, it might not be such a coincidence that Bredero wrote ‘I have….to cross….here the street’ as part of a song.   
We invite you to visit us during the DRONGO language festival, to discover the richness of the Golden Age language and to share your own language intuition with us. How does your linguistic feeling differ from that from Bredero?

Marjo van Koppen & Feike Dietz
Saturday 30 September 14:15 - 17:00

Sabar: the drumlanguage of Senegal

Senegalese drummers often recite improvised texts while playing, considering the texts to reflect the rhythms’ meanings. Unlike other African traditions, drums are rarely used as a speech surrogate.
This lecture is about Senegalese rhythms that involve language-like grammar rules, with some pointers to the rich culture of the Senegalese masters of the sabar drum. 

Yoad Winter
Saturday 30 September 14:15 - 17:00
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