Framing situations in the Dutch Language
NWO Vrije Competitie Geesteswetenschappen (2019-2023)
Project leader: Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen 
Postdoc: Dr. Marten Postma

Language plays a central role in framing, as we daily choose which nouns and verbs describe or frame a given situation. For some languages, researchers created databases (called FrameNets) containing rich collections of conceptual schemas (frames) that describe situations from a certain perspective. These frames are connected to words and sentences that express them. Several lexical resources exist for Dutch, but no FrameNet. Moreover, we have limited knowledge of the variation of framing in Dutch and how this compares to other languages. 

The project’s objectives are:

    • to create a unique data set where similar situations are framed by many different sources and texts using a newly developed data-to-text method;
    • to capture the variation in framing these situations in Dutch and other languages;
    • to capture semantic-pragmatic factors underlying the usage of different frames for similar situations, and
    • to develop semantic frame and role annotation software.

An additional concrete outcome of this project is a Dutch FrameNet contributing to the renowned Berkeley Multilingual FrameNet project, which assesses the cross-linguistic validity of frames and investigates crosslinguistic variation in framing. The insights, resources and technologies created by this project provide new possibilities for (industrial) data analysts and researchers from the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen and one PostDoc who will collaborate with two PhDs and the research staff at the Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab (CLTL) and the University of Groningen.

Group and Collaborations

The work is carried out at the Computational Lexicology and Terminology Lab (CLTL), which is led by the Spinozalaureate Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen. CLTL is a renowned research group that studies language understanding, generation and interaction through computer models, based on latest technologies, such as neural networks and (un)supervised data approaches, in combination with symbolic knowledge resources, such as computational lexicons and linked-open data repositories. CLTL also runs the Research Master track Human Language Technology, which attracts many international students. More information on the research projects and the master program can be found at the website:

CLTL is part of the Network Institute ( an interfacultary research institute in which more than 200 researchers from different disciplines collaborate. CLTL has strong ties with the Faculty of Computer Science and Social Sciences at the VU University, through joined projects, PhDs and education programs. Furthermore, CLTL has a long tradition of collaboration both nationally and internationally with research groups at other universities and companies. In this project, we will specifically collaborate with Prof. Dr. Johan Bos and Dr. Malvina Nissim from the University of Groningen and Prof. Dr. Collin Baker from Berkeley University.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.