Aline Villavicencio           


Contact Information

Institute of Informatics  
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul
Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500
Porto Alegre - RS
CEP 91501-970
Office: 235
Phone: (+55) 51 3308 7035
Fax: (+55) 51 3308 7308
Email: avillavicencio at inf<dot>ufrgs<dot>br

Short Biography
I am a CNPq Fellow and a lecturer at the Institute of Informatics, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. In 2014/2015 I was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). In 2014 I was a Visiting Scholar at the Labo­ra­toire LaTTiCe at the École Normale Supé­rieure (France), in 2012/2013 an Erasmus-Mundus Visting Scholar at Saarland University (Germany), in 2011/2012 a CNPq Visiting Scholar at the Laboratory of Information and Decision Systems of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and from 2006-2009 at the Computer Science Department, University of Bath. Prior to these I worked as a Senior Researcher in the Department of Language and Linguistics of the University of Essex (2004-2005) and in the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge (2001-2004).

I received my PhD in Computer Science also from the University of Cambridge (Computer Laboratory, Hughes Hall) in 2003. My thesis is entitled The Acquisition of a Unification-Based Generalised Categorial Grammar, and  was supervised by  Ted Briscoe.

Current and Recent Activities
  • Chair of the PROPOR-2016  Best Dissertation on Language Technology for Portuguese Contest
Current and Recent Projects
  • Samsung SRBR Textual Simplification of Complex Expressions  Project
  • with Marco Idiart
  • MIT/CNPq Cognitive Computational Models of Natural Languages for Assessing Language Competency Project
    with  Suzanne Flynn, Robert Berwick, Marco Idiart and Rosa Vicari

  • CNPq/2012 Cognitive Computational Investigations of Language Acquisition and Use in Clinical Cases Project
    with  Maria Alice Parente, Robert Berwick, Marco Idiart, Anna Korhonen  and Thierry Poibeau
  • Computational Models for Language Acquisition and Dissolution 
    with Marco Idiart, Jerusa Salles, Anderson Santos and Gustavo Valdez.
    with Leandro Wives, Conexum, DFL and IntextMining
  • Politeness in Cypriot Greek
    with Ann Copestake and Marina Terkourafi.

Selected Publications



  • L. Almeida, M. Idiart, A. Villavicencio, J. Lisman
  • Alternating predictive and short-term memory modes of entorhinal grid cells.
    In Hippocampus, May 2, 2012.

2011 2010

  • Caseli, H.M., Nunes, M.G.V.,  Ramisch, C., and Villavicencio, A.
    Alignment-based extraction of multiword expressions.
  • Language Resources and Evaluation, Special Issue on Multiword Expressions. Volume 44, Number 1-2, p. 59-77, 2010.

  • Ramisch, C., Caseli, H. M., Villavicencio,  A., Finatto, M. J. B., Machado, A.
    A Hybrid Approach for Multiword Expression Identification.
    In T. Pardo, A. Branco, A. Klautau, R. Vieira, V. Lima (eds.) Computational Processing of the Portuguese Language, 9th International Conference. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6001 Springer 2010 (ISBN 978-3-642-12319-1). 
  • Villavicencio, A., Ramisch, C., Machado, A., Caseli, H.M., Finatto, M. J. B.
    Identificação de Expressões Multipalavra em Domínios Específicos
    Linguamática. Volume 2, Number 1, p.15-33, 2010.
  • Ramisch, C., A. Villavicencio, C. Boitet
  • Web-based and combined language models: a case study on noun compound identification
    In Proceedings of Coling 2010, Beijing, p. 1041-1049, 2010.

  • Ramisch, C., Villavicencio, A., Boitet, C.
    Multiword Expressions in the wild? The mwetoolkit comes in handy
    In Proceedings of Coling 2010 Demonstrations, Beijing, p. 57-60, 2010.

  • Wilkens, R., A. Villavicencio, D. Muller, L. Wives, F.  Silva, S. Loh.
    COMUNICA - A Question Answering System for Brazilian Portuguese
    In Proceedings of Coling 2010 Demonstrations, Beijing, p. 21-24, 2010.

  • Santos, A. S., A. Villavicencio, J.  Salles.
    Investigating characteristics of semantic networks of verbs in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
    In Proceedings of Interdisciplinary Workshop on Verbs. The Identification and Representation of Verb Features, Pisa, 2010.

  • Germann, D., A. Villavicencio, M.S.G Siqueira
  • Modeling the Lexical Organization of Verbs.
    In Proceedings of NAACL-HLT 2010 Workshop on Computational Neurolinguistics, Los Angeles, 2010.

  • Germann, D., A. Villavicencio, M.S.G Siqueira
  • An Investigation on the Influence of Frequency on the Lexical Organization of Verbs
    In Proceedings of  TextGraphs-5: Graph-based Methods for Natural Language Processing, Uppsala, 2010.
  • Wilkens, R., A. Villavicencio
    Question Answering for Portuguese: how much is needed?
    In Proceedings of Brazilian Symposium on Artificial Intelligence (SBIA), 2010.

  • Linardaki, E., C. Ramisch, A. Villavicencio, A. Fotopoulou
    Towards the Construction of Language Resources for Greek Multiword Expressions: Extraction and Evaluation
    In Proceedings of the LREC Workshop on Exploitation of multilingual resources and tools for Central and (South) Eastern European Languages, Malta, 2010.

  • Tonietto, L., Villavicencio, A., Siqueira, M. S. G., Parente, M. A. M. P., Sperb, T. M.
    A especificidade semântica como fator determinante na aquisição de verbos.
  • Revista Psico, v. 29, p. 343-351, 2008.

  • Ramisch, C., A. Villavicencio, L. Moura and M. Idiart.
  • Picking them up and Figuring them out: Verb-Particle Constructions, Noise and Idiomaticity.
    In Proceedings of the Twelfth Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning, Manchester, 2008.

  • Ramisch, C., P. Schreiner, M. Idiart and A. Villavicencio.
  • An Evaluation of Methods for the Extraction of Multiword Expressions.
    In Proceedings of the LREC 2008 Workshop on Multiword Expressions, Marrakech, 2008.

  • Villavicencio, A., B. Menegola,, J. Rodrigues, M. Siqueira, M.A. Parente.
  • Lexical Organization and its Dissolution in Ageing.
    In Proceedings of the 2008 Mid-Year Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Buenos Aires, 2008.

  • Villavicencio, A., V. Kordoni, Y. Zhang, M. Idiart, and C. Ramisch.
  • Validation and evaluation of automatically acquired multiword expressions for grammar engineering.
    In Proceedings of the 2007 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning (EMNLP-CoNLL 2007), Prague, 2008.

  • Machado, M., A. Villavicencio
  • Examining Syntactic Constructions for Verb Meaning Acquisition.
    In Proceedings of EPIA-2007 Workshop on General Artificial Intelligence, Lisbon, 2007.

  • Zhang, Y., V. Kordoni, A. Villavicencio and M. Idiart.
  • Automated Multiword Expression Prediction for Grammar Engineering.
    In Proceedings of COLING/ACL Workshop on Multiword Expressions: Identifying and Exploiting Underlying Properties, Sydney, Australia, 2006.

  • Sadler, L., D. Arnold, and A. Villavicencio.
  • Portuguese: Corpora, Coordination and Agreement.
    In Proceedings of Linguistic Evidence: Empirical, Theoretical, and Computational Perspectives, Tübingen, 2006.

  • Villavicencio, A.
    The Availability of Verb-Particle Constructions: How much is Enough?.
    Computer Speech & Language, Volume de Setembro de 2005, v. 19, n. 4, p. 415-432, 2005.
  • Villavicencio,  A., Bond, F., Korhonen, A., McCarthy, D.
    Introduction to the Special Issue on Multiword Expressions: having a crack at a hard nut. Computer Speech & Language, Inglaterra, v. 19, n. 4, p. 365-377, 2005. 

  • Villavicencio, A., Sadler, L. and Arnold, D. 
  • An HPSG Account of Closest Conjunct Agreement in NP Coordination in Portuguese.
    In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, 2005.

  • Villavicencio, A., Sadler, L. 
  • Agreement Patterns in Corpora.
    In Proceedings of Workshop on Exploring Syntactically Annotated Corpora. Corpus Linguistics 2005, Birmingham, 2005.

  • Villavicencio, A., M.J. Finatto, V. Possamai. 
    Padrões da Preposição “DE” entre Sintagmas Nominais em Linguagem Cotidiana e Linguagens Técnico-Científicas. 
    In Proceedings of the V Encontro de Corpora, São Carlos, 2005.


  • Villavicencio, A., T. Baldwin, B. Waldron. 
    A Multilingual Database of Idioms.
    In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference On Language Resources and Evaluation,  LREC-2004, Lisboa, 2004.

  •  Villavicencio, A., A. Copestake, B. Waldron, F. Lambeau (2004). 
    The Lexical Encoding of MWEs. 
    In T.Tanaka, A. Villavicencio, F. Bond, A. Korhonen eds. Proceedings of the ACL 2004 Workshop on Multiword Expressions: Integrating Processing. Barcelona, 2004.


  • Villavicencio, A. 
    Verb-Particle Constructions and Lexical Resources
    In Francis Bond, Anna Korhonen, Diana McCarthy and Aline Villavicencio, eds. Proceedings of the ACL 2003 Workshop on Multiword Expressions: Analysis, Acquisition and Treatment, p. 57—64. Sapporo, 2003.

  • Terkourafi, M. and Villavicencio, A. 
    Toward a formalisation of speech-act functions of questions in conversation. 
    In Proceedings of the 2nd CoLogNET-ElsNET Symposium: Questions and Answers: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives. Amsterdam, 2003.

  • Buttery, P. and Villavicencio, A. 
    Language Acquisition and the Universal Grammar. 
    Proceedings of AMLaP'2003: Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing. Glasgow, 2003.

  • Villavicencio, A. 
    Verb-Particle Constructions in the World Wide Web. 
    Proceedings of the ACL-SIGSEM Workshop on the Linguistic Dimensions of Prepositions and their use in Computational Linguistics Formalisms and Applications. Toulouse, France, 2003.


  • Villavicencio, A. and A. Copestake. 
    Verb-particle constructions in a computational grammar of English. 
    In Jongbok Kim and Stephen Wechsler, eds., Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Kyung-Hee University, Seoul. Stanford: CSLI Publications. Available at:

  • Copestake, A.,  F. Lambeau, A. Villavicencio, F. Bond, T. Baldwin, I. A. Sag and D. Flickinger. 
    Multiword expressions: linguistic precision and reusability. 
    Proceedings of the Third conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-2002), p. 1941—1947. Las Palmas, Canary Islands, 2002.

  • Baldwin, T. and A. Villavicencio. 
    Extracting the unextractable: A case study on verb-particles.
    Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Natural Language Learning (CoNLL-2002), Taipei, Taiwan, 2002.

  • Villavicencio, A. 
    Learning to distinguish PP arguments from adjuncts. 
    Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Natural Language Learning (CoNLL-2002), Taipei, Taiwan, 2002.


  • Villavicencio, A. 
    The Acquisition of a Unification-Based Generalised Categorial Grammar. 
    Thesis published as Technical Report UCAM-CL-TR-533, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 2001.


  • Villavicencio, A.
    The acquisition of word order by a computational learning system. 
    Proceedings of the 2nd Learning Language in Logic Workshop, Lisbon, 2000.

  • Villavicencio, A.
    The Use of Default Unification in a System of Lexical Types. 
    Proceedings of the Workshop on Linguistic Theory and Grammar Implementation, Birmingham, 2000.

  • Villavicencio, A.
    Grammatical Learning Using Unification-Based Generalised Categorial Grammars. 
    Proceedings of AMLaP' 2000: Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing, Leiden, 2000.

  • Villavicencio, A.
    The Acquisition of a Unification-Based Generalised Categorial Grammar. 
    Proceedings of Cluk, Brighton, 2000.

1999 and before
  • Villavicencio, A.
    Representing a System of Lexical Types Using Default Unification. 
    Proceedings of EACL, Bergen, 1999.

  • Villavicencio, A.
  • Building a Wide-Coverage Combinatory Categorial Grammar. 
    MPhil Thesis, University of Cambridge, 1997.

  • Villavicencio, A., Viccari, R.M.
    Evaluating Stochastic Past-of-Speech Taggers for the Portuguese Language.
    Second Meeting of the Computational Processing of Spoken and Written Portuguese Language, 1996.

  • Villavicencio, A., Marques, N.M., Lopes, J.G.P.,Villavicencio, F.
    Part-of-Speech tagging for Portuguese Texts",(ed.)
    In Jacques Wainer and Ariadne Carvalho, eds. Advances in Artificial Intelligence: Proceedings of the of the XII Brazilian Symposium on Artificial Intelligence , 1995. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 991, pp. 323-332. Springer Verlag.

Research Interests
Computational Linguistics / Natural Language Processing:

Cognitive models of language processing, especially acquisition. This includes Machine Learning applied to Computational Linguistics, with emphasis in language learning from corpora and on-line resources. 

Resource and Grammar Engineering including lexica, hierarchies and ontologies focusing on Multiword Expressions.
Natural Language Processing Group
These are some of the students I have supervised.
  • Adriano Zanette
  • Anderson Santos
  • Carlos Ramisch
  • Clei Junior
  • Daniel Beck
  • Francisco Amorim
  • Gabriel Gonçalves
  • Gustavo Valdez
  • Henrique Lopes
  • Kassius Prestes
  • John Gamboa
  • Jorge Wagner Filho
  • Leonardo Zilio
  • Matheus Proença
  • Mário Machado
  • Otávio Costa
  • Paulo Schreiner
  • Rodrigo Wilkens
  • Tatiana Meister
  • Vitor Araújo