Linguistics 566:
Introduction to Syntax for Computational Linguistics

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

Winter 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.


Grading addendum (1/28/06): Homework averages will be based on 7 out of 8 homework scores, dropping the lowest score of the homeworks you turn in (i.e., you can't drop a zero).

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)

1/4 Introduction/organization
First attempts at a theory of grammar
Ch 1
Ch 2
1/9 Feature structures
Headed Rules, Trees
Ch 3  
1/11 Valence, Agreement Ch 4 HW 1 due
Answer key
Mean 85.96
Median 88
1/16 MLK Jr. Day: no class    
1/18 Semantics Ch 5 HW 2 due
Answer key
Mean 79.46
Median 82.5
1/23 How the Grammar Works (Slides without color) Ch 6  
1/25 Catch-up, review   HW 3 due
Answer key
Mean 80.87
Median 81
1/30 Binding Theory
Ch 7  
2/1 Lexical Types Ch 8:8.1-8.4 HW 4 due
Answer key
Mean 91.6
Median 93.75
2/6 Lexical Rules Ch 8:8.5-8.8  
2/8 Grammar and Processing
Ch 9
Ch 10
HW 5 due
Answer key
Mean 88.69
Median 89.5
2/13 Existentials, Extraposition, Idioms Ch 11  
2/15 Raising, Control Ch 12 Midterm due
Answer key
Mean 91.65
Median 94
2/20 President's Day: no class    
2/22 Auxiliary verbs Ch 13 HW 6 due
Answer key
Mean 77.62
Median 86.5
2/27 Long-distance dependencies Ch 14  
3/1 Catch-up/review   HW 7 due
Answer key
Mean 81.03
Median 84
3/6 Syntax and sociolinguistic variation Ch 15  
3/8 Construction-based grammar
course evals
Ch 16 HW 8 due
Answer key
Mean 91.23
Median 94
3/16 5pm     Final exam due
No late finals accepted.
Answer key
Mean 86.09
Median 88.75