Linguistics 566:
Introduction to Syntax for Computational Linguistics

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

Autumn 2013

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.


Note: All homework and exams should be turned online via CollectIt as pdf files (only). Absolutely no .doc, .docx, .txt etc.

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 (under construction)

Lectures will assume that students have completed the assigned reading first.
9/26 Introduction/organization
First attempts at a theory of grammar
Ch 1  
9/27     HW 0 due
10/1 CFG
Why NL aren't CF
Ch 2  
10/3 Feature structures
Headed Rules, Trees
Ch 3  
10/4     HW 1 due (Ch 2, 3)
10/8 Valence, Agreement Ch 4  
10/10 Semantics Ch 5  
10/11     HW 2 due (Ch 4,5)
10/15 How the Grammar Works Ch 6  
10/17 Catch up, review    
10/18     HW 3 due (Ch 6)
10/22 Binding Theory
Ch 7  
10/24 Lexical Types Ch 8:8.1-8.4  
10/25     HW 4 due (Ch 6,7,8)
10/29 Lexical Rules Ch 8:8.5-8.8  
10/31 Grammar and Processing Ch 9  
11/1     HW 5 due (Ch 8);
Midterm posted
11/5 Passive Ch 10  
11/7 Existentials, Extraposition, Idioms Ch 11  
11/8     Midterm due (Ch 1-10)
11/12 Raising, Control Ch 12  
11/14 Auxiliary verbs Ch 13:13.1-13.4  
11/15     HW 6 due (Ch 11,12)
11/19 Auxiliary verbs: NICE properties Ch 13:13.5-13.8  
11/21 Long-distance dependencies Ch 14  
11/22     HW 7 due (Ch 12,13)
11/26 Catch up, review
Course evals
11/28 No class: Thanksgiving Holiday    
12/3 Syntax and sociolinguistic variation Ch 15  
12/5 Construction-based grammar
Ch 16  
12/6     HW 8 due (Ch 14);
Final exam posted
12/13 5:00pm     Final exam due
No late finals accepted.

Last modified: 9/18/13