CMSC 318 (GNED 495): Computational linguistics
Careful use of languages, and understanding of how languages work, have themselves long been essential to participation in global life, and in civic life even in comparatively monolingual milieux (where they tend to go by names like ”grammar and rhetoric”). The scientific study of language—that is, linguistics—has always been informed by empirical observation, and as digital computers became more powerful, computational linguistics per se has become an important pillar of the field. Yet outside the academic world, and even in some places inside it, people often present arguments, linguistic in nature, that are contradicted by the data. Or, that could be supported by data, but are not. Being able to identify such “truthy” arguments, and to combat them, is a skill vital to civic life, with further implications for information literacy as well. By integrating knowledge and skills from math, computer science, languages, and linguistics, students in this course will gain perspective on such arguments and learn to make their own data-driven arguments and decisions.
This class meets 2pm on TR.
The textbook is Dickinson et al, Language and computers. ISBN 978-1-4051-8305-5.
- For 17 Jan: New kanji
- For 24 Jan: Sinographs by the numbers
- For 29 Jan: Fact-checking George Will and also read the (general) project notes, the project 1 description, and the chunk about "information literacy" from the syllabus, if you haven't already.
- For 19 Feb: X of Y ↔ Y(ed) X
Labs, homeworks, projects
- For 22 Jan: Write a program that reads plain text from a file, counts the number of times each word in it occurs, and prints out this information.
- For 24 Jan: Read sections 1.1-1.3. Do exercise 1 (p29) but a sentence (≥10 words) is fine.
- For 31 Jan: Read 1.4 (through 1.4.5). Do exercise 2 (on paper). Submit phase 1 (proposal) for Project 1 (on Canvas).