Proceedings of the Second ParlaCLARIN Workshop

Darja Fišer, Maria Eskevich, Franciska de Jong (Editors)

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Marseille, France
European Language Resources Association
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Proceedings of the Second ParlaCLARIN Workshop
Darja Fišer | Maria Eskevich | Franciska de Jong

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New Developments in the Polish Parliamentary Corpus
Maciej Ogrodniczuk | Bartłomiej Nitoń

This short paper presents the current (as of February 2020) state of preparation of the Polish Parliamentary Corpus (PPC)—an extensive collection of transcripts of Polish parliamentary proceedings dating from 1919 to present. The most evident developments as compared to the 2018 version is harmonization of metadata, standardization of document identifiers, uploading contents of all documents and metadata to the database (to enable easier modification, maintenance and future development of the corpus), linking utterances to the political ontology, linking corpus texts to source data and processing historical documents.

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Anföranden: Annotated and Augmented Parliamentary Debates from Sweden
Stian Rødven Eide

The Swedish parliamentary debates have been available since 2010 through the parliament’s open data web site Riksdagens öppna data. While fairly comprehensive, the structure of the data can be hard to understand and its content is somewhat noisy for use as a quality language resource. In order to make them easier to use and process – in particular for language technology research, but also for political science and other fields with an interest in parliamentary data – we have published a large selection of the debates in a cleaned and structured format, annotated with linguistic information and augmented with semantic links. Especially prevalent in the parliament’s data were end-line hyphenations – something that tokenisers generally are not equipped for – and a lot of the effort went into resolving these. In this paper, we provide detailed descriptions of the structure and contents of the resource, and explain how it differs from the parliament’s own version.

IGC-Parl: Icelandic Corpus of Parliamentary Proceedings
Steinþór Steingrímsson | Starkaður Barkarson | Gunnar Thor Örnólfsson

We describe the acquisition, annotation and encoding of the corpus of the Althingi parliamentary proceedings. The first version of the corpus includes speeches from 1911-2019. It comprises 406 thousand speeches and over 219 million words. The corpus has been automatically part-of-speech tagged and lemmatised. It is annotated with extensive metadata about the speeches, speakers and political parties, including speech topic, whether the speaker is in the government coalition or opposition, age and gender of speaker at the time of delivery, references to sound and video recordings and more. The corpus is encoded in accordance with the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines and conforms to the Parla-CLARIN schema. We plan to update the corpus annually and its major versions will be archived in the CLARIN.IS repository. It is available for download and search using the KORP concordance tool. Furthermore, information on word frequency are accessible in a custom made web application and an n-gram viewer.

Compiling Czech Parliamentary Stenographic Protocols into a Corpus
Barbora Hladka | Matyáš Kopp | Pavel Straňák

The Parliament of the Czech Republic consists of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). In our work, we focus on agenda and documents that relate to the Chamber of Deputies exclusively. We pay particular attention to stenographic protocols that record the Chamber of Deputies’ meetings. Our overall goal is to (1) compile the protocols into a ParlaCLARIN TEI encoded corpus, (2) make this corpus accessible and searchable in the TEITOK web-based platform, (3) annotate the corpus using the modules available in TEITOK, e.g. detect and recognize named entities, and (4) highlight the annotations in TEITOK. In addition, we add two more goals that we consider innovative: (5) update the corpus every time a new stenographic protocol is published online by the Chambers of Deputies and (6) expose the annotations as the linked open data in order to improve the protocols’ interoperability with other existing linked open data. This paper is devoted to the goals (1) and (5).

Unfinished Business: Construction and Maintenance of a Semantically Tagged Historical Parliamentary Corpus, UK Hansard from 1803 to the present day
Matthew Coole | Paul Rayson | John Mariani

Creating, curating and maintaining modern political corpora is becoming an ever more involved task. As interest from various social bodies and the general public in political discourse grows so too does the need to enrich such datasets with metadata and linguistic annotations. Beyond this, such corpora must be easy to browse and search for linguists, social scientists, digital humanists and the general public. We present our efforts to compile a linguistically annotated and semantically tagged version of the Hansard corpus from 1803 right up to the present day. This involves combining multiple sources of documents and transcripts. We describe our toolchain for tagging; using several existing tools that provide tokenisation, part-of-speech tagging and semantic annotations. We also provide an overview of our bespoke web-based search interface built on LexiDB. In conclusion, we examine the completed corpus by looking at four case studies including semantic categories made available by our toolchain.

The siParl corpus of Slovene parliamentary proceedings
Andrej Pancur | Tomaž Erjavec

The paper describes the process of acquisition, up-translation, encoding, annotation, and distribution of siParl, a collection of the parliamentary debates from the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia from 1990–2018, covering the period from just before Slovenia became an independent country in 1991, and almost up to the present. The entire corpus, comprising over 8 thousand sessions, 1 million speeches and 200 million words was uniformly encoded in accordance with the TEI-based Parla-CLARIN schema for encoding corpora of parliamentary debates, and contains extensive meta-data about the speakers, a typology of sessions etc. and structural and editorial annotations. The corpus was also part-of-speech tagged and lemmatised using state-of-the-art tools. The corpus is maintained on GitHub with its major versions archived in the CLARIN.SI repository and is available for linguistic analysis in the scope of the on-line CLARIN.SI concordancers, thus offering an invaluable resource for scholars studying Slovenian political history.

Who mentions whom? Recognizing political actors in proceedings
Lennart Kerkvliet | Jaap Kamps | Maarten Marx

We show that it is straightforward to train a state of the art named entity tagger (spaCy) to recognize political actors in Dutch parliamentary proceedings with high accuracy. The tagger was trained on 3.4K manually labeled examples, which were created in a modest 2.5 days work. This resource is made available on github. Besides proper nouns of persons and political parties, the tagger can recognize quite complex definite descriptions referring to cabinet ministers, ministries, and parliamentary committees. We also provide a demo search engine which employs the tagged entities in its SERP and result summaries.

Challenges of Applying Automatic Speech Recognition for Transcribing EU Parliament Committee Meetings: A Pilot Study
Hugo de Vos | Suzan Verberne

Challenges of Applying Automatic Speech Recognition for Transcribing EUParliament Committee Meetings: A Pilot StudyHugo de Vos and Suzan VerberneInstitute of Public Administration and Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science, Leiden, s.verberne@liacs.leidenuniv.nlAbstractWe tested the feasibility of automatically transcribing committee meetings of the European Union parliament with the use of AutomaticSpeech Recognition techniques. These committee meetings contain more valuable information for political science scholars than theplenary meetings since these meetings showcase actual debates opposed to the more formal plenary meetings. However, since there areno transcriptions of those meetings, they are a lot less accessible for research than the plenary meetings, of which multiple corpora exist.We explored a freely available ASR application and analysed the output in order to identify the weaknesses of an out-of-the box system.We followed up on those weaknesses by proposing directions for optimizing the ASR for our goals. We found that, despite showcasingacceptable results in terms of Word Error Rate, the model did not yet suffice for the purpose of generating a data set for use in PoliticalScience. The application was unable to successfully recognize domain specific terms and names. To overcome this issue, future researchwill be directed at using domain specific language models in combination with off-the-shelf acoustic models.

Parsing Icelandic Alþingi Transcripts: Parliamentary Speeches as a Genre
Kristján Rúnarsson | Einar Freyr Sigurðsson

We introduce a corpus of transcripts from Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. The corpus is syntactically parsed for phrase structure according to the annotation scheme of the Icelandic Parsed Historical Corpus (IcePaHC). This addition to IcePaHC makes it more diverse with respect to text types and we argue that having a syntactically parsed corpus facilitates research on differt types of texts. We furthermore argue that the speech corpus can be treated somewhat like spoken language even though the transcripts differ in various ways from daily spoken language. We also compare this text type to other types and argue that this genre can shed light on their properties. Finally, we exhibit how this addition to IcePaHC has helped us in identifying and solving issues with our parsing scheme.

Identifying Parties in Manifestos and Parliament Speeches
Costanza Navarretta | Dorte Haltrup Hansen

This paper addresses differences in the word use of two left-winged and two right-winged Danish parties, and how these differences reflecting some of the basic stances of the parties can be used to automatically identify the party of politicians from their speeches. In the first study, the most frequent and characteristic lemmas in the manifestos of the political parties are analysed. The analysis shows that the most frequently occurring lemmas in the manifestos reflect either the ideology or the position of the parties towards specific subjects, confirming for Danish preceding studies of English and German manifestos. Successively, we scaled our analysis applying machine learning on different language models built on the transcribed speeches by members of the same parties in the Parliament (Hansards) in order to determine to what extent it is possible to predict the party of the politicians from the speeches. The speeches used are a subset of the Danish Parliament corpus 2009–2017. The best models resulted in a weighted F1-score of 0.57. These results are significantly better than the results obtained by the majority classifier (F1-score = 0.11) and by chance results (0.25) and show that building language models over the speeches used by politicians can be used to identify the politicians’ party even if they debate about the same subjects and thus often use the same terminology in many cases. In the future, we will include the subject of the speeches in the prediction experiments

Comparing Lexical Usage in Political Discourse across Diachronic Corpora
Klaus Hofmann | Anna Marakasova | Andreas Baumann | Julia Neidhardt | Tanja Wissik

Most diachronic studies on both lexico-semantic change and political language usage are based on individual or comparable corpora. In this paper, we explore ways of studying the stability (and changeability) of lexical usage in political discourse across two corpora which are substantially different in structure and size. We present a case study focusing on lexical items associated with political parties in two diachronic corpora of Austrian German, namely a diachronic media corpus (AMC) and a corpus of parliamentary records (ParlAT), and measure the cross-temporal stability of lexical usage over a period of 20 years. We conduct three sets of comparative analyses investigating a) the stability of sets of lexical items associated with the three major political parties over time, b) lexical similarity between parties, and c) the similarity between the lexical choices in parliamentary speeches by members of the parties vis-‘a-vis the media’s reporting on the parties. We employ time series modeling using generalized additive models (GAMs) to compare the lexical similarities and differences between parties within and across corpora. The results show that changes observed in these measures can be meaningfully related to political events during that time.

The Europeanization of Parliamentary Debates on Migration in Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands
Andreas Blaette | Simon Gehlhar | Christoph Leonhardt

Corpora of plenary debates in national parliaments are available for many European states. For comparative research on political discourse, a persisting problem is that the periods covered by corpora differ and that a lack of standardization of data formats inhibits the integration of corpora into a single analytical framework. The solution we pursue is a ‘Framework for Parsing Plenary Protocols’ (frappp), which has been used to prepare corpora of the Assemblée Nationale (‘‘ParisParl”), the German Bundestag (‘‘GermaParl”), the Tweede Kamer of the Netherlands (‘‘TweedeTwee”), and the Austrian Nationalrat (‘‘AustroParl”) for the first two decades of the 21st century (2000-2019). To demonstrate the usefulness of the data gained, we investigate the Europeanization of migration debates in these Western European countries of immigration, i.e. references to a European dimension of policy-making in speeches on migration and integration. Based on a segmentation of the corpora into speeches, the method we use is topic modeling, and the analysis of joint occurrences of topics indicating migration and European affairs, respectively. A major finding is that after 2015, we see an increasing Europeanization of migration debates in the small EU member states in our sample (Austria and the Netherlands), and a regression of respective Europeanization in France and – more notably – in Germany.

Querying a large annotated corpus of parliamentary debates
Sascha Diwersy | Giancarlo Luxardo

The TAPS corpus makes it possible to share a large volume of French parliamentary data. The TEI-compliant approach behind its design choices facilitates the publishing and the interoperability of data, but also the implementation of exploratory data analysis techniques in order to process institutional or political discourse. We demonstrate its application to the debates occurred in the context of a specific legislative process, which generated a strong opposition.