Adrián Riccelli and Colleen Balukas receive UB DSSN Enabling Grant

Dr. Adrián Riccelli and Dr. Colleen Balukas, along with a team of graduate and undergraduate student collaborators, have received a $2000 Enabling Grant from UB’s Digital Scholarship Studio and Network (DSSN).  

The grant supports their research into Spanish grammatical variation, with a focus on how and why Spanish speakers show variable patterns in their use of the complementizer ‘que’ (‘that’) in sentences like ‘Espero que vayas a pasar un buen rato’, which alternates with the complementizer-less ‘Espero vayas a pasar un buen rato (‘I hope that you’ll have a good time’ vs ‘I hope you’ll have a good time’). 

In order to understand these patterns, Dr. Riccelli and Dr. Balukas will work with their team of research assistants to extract and analyze Spanish data from Twitter and the Corpus del Español del Siglo XXI ‘Corpus of 21st Century Spanish’ (CORPES), an online database that compiles fiction, journalism, and transcriptions of speech. The team will use machine learning methods to bootstrap on the Part of Speech Tagging and Dependency Parsers available through the open-source software spaCy. These digital tools, paired with the support of the DSSN Enabling Grant, will aid in exploring the linguistic, cognitive, and social factors that condition Spanish speakers’ patterns of complementizer use, ultimately contributing to the larger field of study into linguistic variation and change.