Criteria for annotating epistemic and effective stance: A proposal for discourse on immigration and humanitarian crises involving refugees

31 May 2024
Conference Room

Criteria for annotating epistemic and effective stance: A proposal for discourse on immigration and humanitarian crises involving refugees

This presentation concerns the criteria used for annotating stance in the research project “Stance Strategies in Immigration and Racism-Related Discourse: Analysis and Applications in Affective Learning Practices” (RACISMMAFF), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. The team, headed by the authors of this presentation, includes members from 11 universities and 7 countries. The project aims at compiling and annotating two cross-linguistic corpora on 8 languages: (i) a corpus of political and newspaper discourse, and (ii) a corpus of EU university students and pre-service teachers voluntarily taking part in self-developed affective-based webinars and workshops.

The project focuses on two kinds of stance (Marín-Arrese 2021a, 2021b). The first, epistemic stance, concerns justificatory support of the validity of the information transmitted, and includes categories such as epistemic modality, evidentiality and factivity. The second, effective stance, concerns the realization of events and aims at determining or influencing the course of reality, and includes categories such as deontic, dynamic and volitional modality, and directive speech acts. Epistemic and effective stance semantically scope over propositions and states of affairs, respectively (Boye 2012, 2023).

The compilation of the corpus of political and newspaper discourse was followed by the annotation phase, for which an annotation system of epistemic and effective stance was devised. Due to the complexity of both categories, evidenced by references such as Wiemer and Stathi (2010), Nissim et al. (2013), Lavid et al. (2016) or Carretero and Zamorano-Mansilla (2019), the annotation met a number of problematic issues. Examples are the problems posed by degree of explicitness of the proposition or state of affairs, presupposition, subjectivity, grammaticalization, co-occurrence of two markers, reference to past or future time, or counterfactuality. This paper will succinctly expose these problems and also the solutions adopted. For most cases, we consider that different possible solutions have pros and cons; therefore, the solutions will not be presented as definitive but rather as methodological decisions made keeping in mind the overall aims of the project.


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