Deniz Zeyrek

Picture of the person
Prof. Dr. Deniz Zeyrek
Cognitive Science Department
Vice Chair, Informatics Institute
Room No: 
Tel No: 
+90 (312) 210-7780

T.E.D. Ankara Koleji (Lycee diploma) 

Hacettepe University, Department of Linguistics (BA)

Kansas University, Department of Linguistics (MA)

Hacettepe University, Department of Linguistics (PhD)


Academic visits: 

Edinburgh University, School of Informatics (RSE Research Fellow)

University of Pennsylvania, IRCS - Institute of Research in Cognitive Science 

Research Interests: 

My research specialties are Turkish discourse, pragmatics, linguistic annotation (recording linguistic data in corpora), and (second) language acquisition. In the area of discourse, I am particularly interested in discourse relations and discourse relational devices, such as connectives. I analyze (written) Turkish texts and investigate explicit and implicit ways of signalling discourse relations, and I try to specify the features that could be important for discourse relations. I have been the pricipal developer of Turkish Discourse Bank (a resource of Turkish annotated for discourse connectives in the PDTB style) and devote a lot my time to improving it by leading research projects where we annotate the corpus for more discourse relations and more features. My corpus development efforts go hand in hand with my research on discourse mechanisms.

I am also interested in initiating new research proposals and projects involving the development of corpora targeting various aspects of Turkish. I was recenlty involved in the development of a corpus of children's literature (with my thesis advisee Elif Ahsen Tolgay).  

I have also done research on lexical semantics, mainly the unaccusative-unergative distinction in Turkish (in collaboration with Cengiz Acartürk), language acquisition of relative clauses by Turkish children (with Duygu Özge), the acquisiton of requests by second language learners (together with G. Bahar Otcu-Grillman and Elif Yumun), and analysed the Turkish /r/ (with Çiler Hatipoğlu and Nart B. Atalay). 

I was involved in the program committee or scientific committe of various conferences and workshops, for example, ISBCS 2015 (2nd International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science), 17th International Conference of Turkish Linguistics (ICTL 2014), ISBCS 2014 (1st International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science)LREC 2014, ACL 2014Ulusal Türk Dilbilimi Kurultayı 2014/National Turkish Linguistics Conference 2014, Language and Resources area for ACL 2013.

I was one of the organizers of 16th International Conference of Turkish Linguistics (ICTL), and LAEL (Linguistic Approaches to Endangered Languages: Theory and Description). 


I am the Editor in Chief of Dilbilim Araştırmaları Dergisi/Journal of Linguistic Research, one of the oldest peer-reviewed journals of linguistics in Turkey publishing research articles (primarily) on Turkish.  


I devote most of time to teaching, research and thesis supervision. I also give administrative support to Informatics Institute as vice-chair.


Funded projects: 


I am the primary investigator of Annotating Implicit Discourse Relations, a Scientific Research Project (BAP) funded by Middle East Technical University. The project aims to annotate a small portion of Turkish Discourse Bank (TDB) for implicit discourse relations. TDB itself was built with a grant from TÜBİTAK, The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (2008-2011), where I was the primary investigator: Turkish Discourse Bank Project.


I am part of Textlink: Structuring Discourse in Multilingual Europe (ISCH COST Action IS1312), where I act as the Communication Manager and as a member of the Steering Committee. 


Between 2008-2010, I was part of the project Electronic In-Service Training for Novice English Teachers (e-INSET-NET), funded by Leonardo, Transfer of Innovation Projects (Principal Investigator: Fidel Çakmak, Mersin University). 

Courses / Laboratories: 

I teach Cogs 541 Language Acquisition, Cogs 528 Discourse Mechanisms, and Cogs 503 Introduction to Cognitive Science.

You can access my research group Turkish Discourse Bank from here as well.

Thesis / Research Information: 

I supervise master's and PhD research projects mainly on discourse, pragmatics, second language acquisition and lexical semantics. I welcome thesis proposals from graduate students on any of these topics as well as proposals regarding the development of corpora targeting these issues.  

In 2014, I supervised one PhD thesis: 

Assessment of the Turkish Discourse Bank and a Cascaded Model to Automatically Identify Discursive Phrasal Expressions in Turkish by Ayışığı B. Sevdik-Çallı 

and the following Master's theses:

A Turkish Database for Psycholinguistic Studies: A Corpus Based Study on Frequency, Age of Acquisition and Imageability by Elif Ahsen Tolgay,  
Discovering the Discourse Role Of Converbs in Turkish, by Ahmet Faruk Acar,
An investigation Of Directive Speech Acts in L2 Learners E-Mails, by Mediha Toraman, 
ESL Learners Use Of Path Elements in Motion Event Expressions: A Study On Turkish University Students, by Zeynep Nur İşler,
Turkish University Level EFL Learners' Collocational Knowledge At Receptive And Productive Levels, by Nazife Duygu Bağcı. 


The following is a selection of my publications (journal articles, book chapters and articles in conference proceedings) from 2002 onwards. They represent my work in the research areas mentioned on this webpage.

Zeyrek, D. (2014). On the distribution of the contrastive-concessive discourse connectives ama 'but/yet' and fakat 'but' in written Turkish. Suihkonen, P., & Whaley, L. J. (Eds.). (2014). On Diversity and Complexity of Languages Spoken in Europe and North and Central Asia (Vol. 164). John Benjamins Publishing Company (pp. 251-275). 

Zeyrek, D. & Acartürk, C. (2014). The distinction between unaccusative and unergative verbs in Turkish: an offline and an eyetracking study of split intransitivity. Cogsci 2014 Proceedings (pp.1832-1837). 

Demirşahin, I. & Zeyrek, D. (2014). Annotating discourse connectives in spoken Turkish. LAW VIII - The 8th Linguistic Annotation Workshop, Dublin, Ireland, August 23-24, 2014 (pp. 105-109).
Erten, B., Bozşahin, C., Zeyrek, D. (2014). Turkish resources for visual word recognition. LREC 2014 (pp. 2106-2110). 
Zeyrek, D., Demirşahin, I., Sevdik-Çallı, Ayışığı, B., Çakıcı, R. (2013). Turkish Discourse Bank: Porting a discourse annotation style to a morphologically rich language. Dialogue & Discourse. Vol. 4, No. 2: 174-184. 

Demirşahin, I., Öztürel, A., Bozşahin, C., Zeyrek, D. (2013). Applicative structures and immediate discourse in the Turkish Discourse Bank. Proc. of the 7th Linguistic Annotation Workshop & Interoperability with Discourse (pages 122-130). Aug. 8-9 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Zeyrek, D. (2013) The discourse connective yerine 'instead' in Turkish (13th International Pragmatics Conference, 8-13 September, 2013, New Delhi, India).
Zeyrek, D., Turan Ü. D., Demirşahin I., & Çakıcı R. (2012). Differential properties of three discourse connectives in Turkish: A corpus-based analysis of Fakat, Yoksa, Ayrıca. In A. Benz, M. Stede, & P. Kühnlein (eds.). Constraints in Discourse 3. Representing and inferring discourse structure. (pp. 183-206) John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Demirşahin, Işın, Yalçınkaya İ., & Zeyrek D. (2012). Pair annotation: Adaption of Pair Programming to Corpus Annotation. Proceedings. Association of Computational Linguistics, Proceedings of the Sixth Linguistic Annotation Workshop (pp. 31-39).
Göy, E., Zeyrek D., & Otcu B. (2012). Developmental Patterns in Internal Modification Use in Requests: A Quantitative Study on Turkish Learners of English.In Helen Woodfield & Maria Kogetsidis (Eds.). Interlanguage Request Modification (pp. 51-87). John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Şirin, U., Çakıcı R., & Zeyrek D. (2012). METU Turkish Discourse Bank Browser. Istanbul: LREC 2012. 2808-28012.
Zeyrek, D. (2012). Thanking in Turkish: a Corpus-based Analysis. In Leire Luiz Zarobe and Yolanda Luiz Zarobe (Eds.). Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures. Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures (pp. 27-52). Peter Lang.
Demirşahin, Işın, Çallı A. B. S., Balaban H. Ö., Çakıcı R., & Zeyrek D. (2012). Turkish Discourse Bank: Ongoing Developments. Proceedings, Workshop on Turkic Languages, Istanbul: LREC 2012.
Turan, Ü. D., & Zeyrek D. (2011). Context, contrast, and the structure of discourse in Turkish. In Anita Fetzer & Etsuko Oishi (Eds.). Context and contexts: Parts meets whole? (pp. 147-170). John Benjamins.
Zeyrek, D., Demirşahin Işın, Çallı A. B. S., Balaban H. Ö., Yalçınkaya İ., & Turan Ü. D. (2010). The annotation scheme of the Turkish Discourse Bank and an evaluation of inconsistent annotations. Proceedings of the Fourth Linguistic Annotation Workshop (pp. 282–289). 15-16 July 2010, Uppsala, Sweden.
Aktaş, B., Bozşahin C., & Zeyrek D. (2010). Discourse Relation Configurations in Turkish and an Annotation Environment. ACL 2010. LAW IV. Fourth Linguistic Annotation Workshop.Proceedings of the Workshop (pp. 202-206).15-16 July 2010, Uppsala, Sweden.
Akgün, M., Çağıltay K., & Zeyrek D. (2010). The effect of apologetic error messages and mood stated on computer users’ self-appraisal of performance. Journal of Pragmatics. 42(9), 2349-2448.
Acartürk, C., & Zeyrek D. (2010). Unaccusative/Unergative Distinction in Turkish: A Connectionist Approach. The 23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics. Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Asian Language Resources.
Zeyrek, D., Turan Ü. D., & Bozşahin C. (2009). The role of annotation in understanding discourse. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Turkish Linguistics (pp. 303-313). Harrasowitz. 

Zeyrek, D., Turan Ü. D., Bozşahin C., Çakıcı R., Çallı A. B. S., Demirşahin Işın, et al. (2009). Annotating Subordinators in the Turkish Discourse Bank. ACL-IJCNLP, Linguistic Annotation Workshop III (pp. 44–48). August 6-7 2009, Singapore.
Zeyrek, D. (2009). Türkçe İşaretleme Çalışması [Turkish Corpus Annotation]. 23. Ulusal Dilbilim Kurultayı Bildirileri (pp. 78-88). Mersin Üniversitesi.
Zeyrek, D., Demirşahin Işın, & Çallı A. B. S. (2008). ODTÜ Metin Düzeyinde İşaretlenmiş Derlem Projesi Tanıtımı [Introducing METU Turkish Discourse Bank Project]. Mersin Üniversitesi Sempozyumu Bildirileri (pp. 544-553). Mersin Üniversitesi.
Zeyrek, D., & Webber B. (2008). A Discourse Resource for Turkish: Annotating Discourse Connectives in the METU Corpus. The 6th Workshop on Asian Language Resources, The Third International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, (IJNLP) (pp. 65-71).
Zeyrek, D., Hatipoğlu Ç., & Atalay N. B. (2008). Türkçe /r/’nin akustik incelenmesi: Bölge ve Cinsiyet Farklılıkları [An acoustic analysis or Turkish /r/]. 21. Ulusal Dilbilim Kurultayı Bildirileri (pp. 10-18).
Otcu, B., & Zeyrek D. (2008). Development of requests: A study on Turkish Learners of English. In Martin Pütz and JoAnne Neff-van Aertselaer (Eds.). Interlanguage and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (pp. 265-301). Mouton De Gruyter.
Zeyrek, D. (2006). Dil Edinimi [Language Acquisition]. Ahmet Kocaman (Haz.) Dilbilim Temel Sorunlar Tartışmalar (s. 137-148). Dil Derneği Yay.
Say, B., Zeyrek, D., Oflazer, K., Özge, U. (2004). Development of a corpus and treebank for present day written Turkish. İmer, K., Doğan, G. (eds.) Current Research in Turkish Linguistics, ICTL 2002. Cyprus: Eastern Mediterrenean University. 183-192. 
Zeyrek, D. (2003). Temporal organization and discourse structure. In Özsoy, A. S., Akar, D., Nakipoğlu-Demiralp, M. Erguvanlı-Taylan, E. Aksu-Koç. A.  (eds).  Studies in Turkish Linguistics. Proceedings, 10th International Conference in Turkish Linguistics. Istanbul: Boğaziçi University Press. 419-428. 
Kapusuz E. & Zeyrek, D. (2002). Incorporating the use of grammatical information into construction-integration model of comprehension. Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Society for Text and Discourse (p. 24)