Linguistics 566:
Introduction to Syntax for Computational Linguistics

A core course in UW's Professional Master's in Computational Linguistics

Autumn 2006

Course Info

Instructor Info




This course covers fundamental concepts in syntactic analysis such as part of speech types, constituent structure, the syntax-semantics interface, and phenomena such as complementation, raising, control, passive and long-distance dependencies. We will emphasize formally precise encoding of linguistic hypotheses and the design of grammars that can scale up to ever larger fragments of a language such as is required in practical applications. Through the course, we will progressively build up a consistent grammar for a fragment of English. Problem sets will introduce data and phenomena from other languages.

Course goals

By the end of this course students will be able to:


Note: To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to the instructor so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in this class.


Late homework policy

I would like to be able to post the answer keys to homeworks immediately after you turn them in, so that you can compare your answers while the issues are still fresh in your mind. However, if there are students who haven't yet turned in their homework, I can't do that. Accordingly, I have adopted the following late-homework policy:

Schedule of Topics and Assignments (may be updated)

9/27 Introduction/organization
First attempts at a theory of grammar
Ch 1  
10/2 CFG
Why NL aren't CF
Ch 2  
10/4 Feature structures
Headed Rules, Trees
Ch 3  
10/9 Valence, Agreement Ch 4 HW 1 due (Ch 2,3)
Answer key
Mean: 86.33
Median: 92
10/11 Semantics Ch 5  
10/16 How the Grammar Works Ch 6 HW 2 due (Ch 4,5)
Answer key
Mean: 83.33
Median: 89
10/18 Catch-up, review    
10/23 Binding Theory
Ch 7  
10/25 Lexical Types Ch 8:8.1-8.4 HW 3 due (Ch 6)
Answer key
Mean: 82.02
Median: 86
10/30 Lexical Rules Ch 8:8.5-8.8  
11/1 Grammar and Processing Ch 9 HW 4 due (Ch 6,7)
Answer key
Mean: 84.9
Median: 88
11/6 Passive Ch 10  
11/8 Existentials, Extraposition, Idioms Ch 11 HW 5 due (Ch 8)
Answer key
Mean: 81.03
Median: 80
11/13 Raising, Control Ch 12  
11/15 Auxiliary verbs Ch 13 Midterm due (Ch 1-10)
Answer key
Mean: 86.7
Median: 89.75
11/20 Auxiliary verbs (cont.) Bender and Sag 2000, Bender and Flickinger 1999  
11/22 Long-distance dependencies Ch 14 HW 6 due (Ch 11,12)
Mean: 85.03
Median: 87.5
Answer Key
11/27 LDDs (cont) Bouma et al 2001 (No longer assigned reading, but linked here for the curious.)  
11/29 Catch up, review
Course evals
  HW 7 due (Ch 13)
Mean: 83.32
Median: 87.5
Answer Key
12/4 Syntax and sociolinguistic variation Ch 15  
12/6 Construction-based grammar
Ch 16 HW 8 due (Ch 14)
Answer Key
12/11 5pm     Final exam due
No late finals accepted.