Comparative Topics in Linguistics (from a Computational Perspective)
LING 6520

Fall 2016

Time and Location: Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 - 12:15, Fleming 279
Course Credit: 3 credit hours
Assessment: Homeworks; Two paper presentations; Term Project.
Office Hours: Tuesday 3:30-4:30, Thursday 1-2, Fleming 289
Textbook: Jurafsky and Martin: Speech and Language Processing, Edition 2, and selected readings
Instructor: Martha Palmer


This course will focus on comparing and contrasting computational grammars and computational lexicons. Tree-adjoining grammars will be taught in depth and their coverage of certain syntactic phenomena will be compared to that of Lexical-Functional grammars, Head-driven Phrase Structured Grammars and Combinatory Categorial Grammars. The ways in which Comptational lexicons such as WordNet, FrameNet, VerbNet and PropBank can interact with these formalisms will also be discussed. Selected portions of the Jurafsky and Martin NLP textbook will be relevant, as well as journal and conference papers. The readings will be available on D2L.

Suggested Schedule and Readings

Introduction and Module 1: Tree-Adjoining Grammer

Module 2: Combinatory Categorial Grammar

Module 3: Head-driven Phrase Structured Grammar (and Sign-based Construction Grammar)

Module 4: Lexical-Functional Grammar

Thanksgiving Break

Project Presentations - 1 hour each

Term Project Intention

The goal behind this is assignment is to have you become familiar enough with at least one of these grammars that you can explore in depth a cutting edge application of the grammar to a particular linguistic phenomena having to do with syntax, semantics or pragmatics, and to take a stab at moving the state of the art forward. The project could be primarily linguistic analysis or primarily a description of algorithms or something in between. You are welcome to work alone or in 2 person teams. You should assume that you will have to read something like 3 or 4 papers over and above the class required readings to ground yourself in the research area. Presumably this project will be tied to the first paper you present, but it should definitely be tied to the second one. You are expected to turn in a 5-10 page, single spaced paper describing your project, and give a 10-15 minute presentation on it, after a 15 minute presentation on the closely related paper In addition to your own Term Project, you are expected to be a discussant on another project. The Discussant assignments will be posted on the web page once the term projects are finalized. That will involve reading the project background paper(s), asking constructive questions during the project presentation, and turning in a form that will be provided.

Papers that could be presented

Questions to consider when choosing papers to present

I. Which grammar would be most effective for: (from papers)

II. Which grammar blends the most readily with: (from papers)
III. Which grammar provides the most support for coreference?

Syllabus Statements:

Accommodation for Disabilities

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Religious Holidays

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