Linguistics 566:
Introduction to Syntax for Computational Linguistics

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

Autumn 2011

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)

Lectures will assume that students have completed the assigned reading first.
9/28 Introduction/organization
First attempts at a theory of grammar
Ch 1  
10/3 CFG
Why NL aren't CF
Ch 2 HW 0 due
10/5 Feature structures
Headed Rules, Trees
Ch 3  
10/10 Valence, Agreement Ch 4 HW 1 due (Ch 2,3)
10/12 Semantics Ch 5  
10/17 How the Grammar Works (.ppt slides) Ch 6 HW 2 due (Ch 4,5)
10/19 Catch-up, review    
10/24 Binding Theory
Ch 7 HW 3 due (Ch 6)
10/26 Lexical Types Ch 8:8.1-8.4  
10/31 Lexical Rules Ch 8:8.5-8.8 HW 4 due (Ch 6,7,8)
11/2 Grammar and Processing Ch 9  
11/7 Passive Ch 10 HW 5 due (Ch 8)
11/9 Catch-up/review    
11/14 Existentials, Extraposition, Idioms Ch 11 Midterm due (Ch 1-10)
11/16 Raising, Control Ch 12  
11/21 Auxiliary verbs Ch 13:13.1-13.4 HW 6 due (Ch 11,12)
11/23 Auxiliary verbs: NICE properties Ch 13:13.5-13.8  
11/28 Long-distance dependencies Ch 14 HW 7 due (Ch 12,13)
11/30 Catch up, review
Course evals
12/5 Syntax and sociolinguistic variation Ch 15 HW 8 due (Ch 14)
12/7 Construction-based grammar
Ch 16  
12/13 5pm     Final exam due
No late finals accepted.

Last modified: Fri Oct 14 2011