CS 784 Course Description | SCS | UW

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Computational Linguistics is the branch of Computer Science that studies the computer processing, comprehension, and generation of natural (i.e., human) languages. This course will provide students with both theoretical and practical knowledge in the fundamentals of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, and will provide the basic background for students planning to do a thesis in the area. It will also be a self-contained course for anyone who is interested in Natural Language Understanding (e.g., including computer scientists, humanists, cognitive scientists, linguists and researchers in arts computing).


The current course textbook is: Natural Language Understanding, 2nd ed., by J. Allen, Benjamin/Cummings. Course notes will also be available


3 hours of lecture a week.


Introduction (6 hrs)

Introduction to course. Introduction to Natural Language Understanding. Rudiments of English structure. Lexicons and morphology.

Syntax (9 hrs)

Syntax and parsing. Context-free parsing. Logic grammars. Transformational grammar. Augmented transition networks. Marcus parsers. Case grammars.

Semantics (6 hrs)

Introduction to semantics. Procedural semantics. Conceptual dependency. Knowledge-based semantics. Semantics in logic grammars.

Pragmatics (3 hrs)

Presupposition. Conversational implicature. Cooperative discourse. Speech acts.

Discourse; Generation (3 hrs)

Discourse structure and reference. Introduction to natural language generation.

Advanced Topics (9 hrs)