Arabella Jane Sinclair About Teaching Projects Contact

Arabella Jane Sinclair

Lecturer, Computer Science

University of Aberdeen
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About me

I am a Lecturer (assistant professor) in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Aberdeen. My work explores speaker adaptation in dialogue, specifically how speakers align to one another as they (try to) find common ground. I am very interested in exploring how humans adapt to one another as they interact or communicate. To that end, my work involves analysing human properties of language in a dialogue setting, analysing whether machine generated text contains human-like linguistic properties, and, more recently, whether modern language models exhibit similar patterns to humans when exposed to certain linguistic phenomena.
I am interested in applying my work to collaborative and educational settings, as well as exploring more general communicative properties of language. My research interests include Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Education.

Open positions

PhD position: I am excited to announce I have a fully funded PhD position open to applicants who want to work with me on adaptive, audience-aware NLG. Full Project Description


Construction Repetition Reduces Information Rate in Dialogue. Giulianelli, M., Sinclair, A., & Fernández, R. arXiv preprint arXiv:2210.08321. 2022. pdf

State-of-the-art generalisation research in NLP: a taxonomy and review. Hupkes, D., Giulianelli, M., Dankers, V., Artetxe, M., Elazar, Y., Pimentel, T., ...Sinclair, A. ... & Jin, Z. arXiv preprint arXiv:2210.03050. 2022. pdf

Structural Persistence in Language Models: Priming as a Window into Abstract Language Representations. Sinclair, A., Jumelet, J., Zuidema, W., & Fernández, R. Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 10, 1031-1050. 2022. pdf

AnaLog: Testing Analytical and Deductive Logic Learnability in Language Models. Ryb, Samuel, Mario Giulianelli, Arabella Sinclair, and Raquel Fernández. In Proceedings of the 11th Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics, pp. 55-68. 2022. pdf

Detecting Age-Related Linguistic Patterns in Dialogue: Toward Adaptive Conversational Systems. Lennert Jansen, Arabella Sinclair, Margot Van der Goot, Raquel Fernández, Sandro Pezzelle. Proceedings of the 8th Italian Conference on Computational Linguistics (CLIC-it) 2022. pdf

Syntactic persistence in language models: Priming as a window into abstract language representations. Arabella Sinclair, Jaap Jumelet, Willem Zuidema and Raquel Fernández. Arxiv. 2021 (Work in progress) pdf Bibtex

Construction Coordination in First and Second Language Acquisition. Arabella Sinclair and Raquel Fernández. In Proceedings of the 25th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue. 2021 pdf Bibtex talk

Linguistic and Gestural Coordination: Do Learners Converge in Collaborative Dialogue? Arabella Sinclair and Bertrand Schneider. In Proceedings of Educational Data Mining (EDM21). 2021 pdf Bibtex talk

Is Information Density Uniform in Task-Oriented Dialogues? Mario Giulianelli, Arabella Sinclair and Raquel Fernández. To appear in Proceedings of Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP). 2021 Bibtex

Exploring the potential of adapting conversational systems to different age groups: A pilot study. Margot Van der Goot, Marios Georgiou, Špela Dolinšek, Lennert Jansen, Arabella Sinclair, Raquel Fernández, Sandro Pezzelle. CONVERSATIONS workshop 2021. pdf Bibtex

Refer, Reuse, Reduce: Grounding Subsequent References in Visual and Conversational Contexts. Ece Takmaz, Mario Giulianelli, Sandro Pezzelle, Arabella Sinclair, and Raquel Fernández. In Proceedings of EMNLP 2020. pdf Bibtex

Modelling Speaker Adaptation in Second Language Learner Dialogue. Arabella Sinclair. The University of Edinburgh. 2020. pdf Bibtex

Tutorbot Corpus: Evidence of Human-Agent Verbal Alignment in Second Language Learner Dialogues. Arabella Sinclair, Kate McCurdy, Adam Lopez, Christopher G. Lucas and Dragan Gasevic. In Proceedings of EDM 2019. pdf Bibtex

I wanna talk like you: Speaker Adaptation to Dialogue Style in L2 Practice Conversation. Arabella Sinclair, Rafael Ferreira, Dragan Gasevic, Christopher G. Lucas and Adam Lopez. In Proceedings of AIED 2019. pdf Bibtex

Does ability affect alignment in second language tutorial dialouge? Arabella Sinclair, Adam Lopez, Christopher G. Lucas and Dragan Gasevic. In Proceedings of SIGDIAL 2018. pdf Bibtex

Finding the Zone of Proximal Development: Student-Tutor Second Language Dialogue Interactions. Arabella Sinclair, Jon Oberlander, Dragan Gasevic, SEMDIAL 2017 (SaarDial) Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue pdf Bibtex

Educational Programming Languages: The Motivation to Learn with Sonic Pi PPIG (Psychology of Programming Interest Group) presents the results of a study exploring the effects of different programming languages on new learners' success at retaining programming concepts, conducted at Cambridge University under the supervision of Alan Blackwell. I also gave a talk about it, the details of which can be found at