Computational Principles of Sentence Construction
Course | Background | Requirements | Account |Books | Recommended | Exams
CAVEAT: For all courses the definitive edition of the course is found in the hard copy pages distributed in class. These pages on the web are placed here by students working with Prof. Dougherty, see the HTML Gesellschaft. They are not always up to date.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class introduces students to the basic computational tools available for formulating linguistic and psycho-linguistic models of competence and performance. We will discuss classical problems in perception and description of verb particle constructions, questions, passives and garden path sentences. Formulations will be in Chomsky's grammar (Minimalism), GPSG, HPSG, and LFG. We will consider how parsers operate in structurally different languages such as Chinese, English, French, and German. Students will learn sufficient computer skills (Unix, lisp, and Prolog) to run programs that model a human being's language production and perception capacities. Students will have computer accounts in the PC Lab and on a Unix system and obtain hands on experience with artificial intelligence and expert systems programs using symbolic logical based computer languages. Students will use the World Wide Web and the Internet. Students may base their research on existing programs or they may write their own.
BACKGROUND REQUIREMENTS: This is a second level course in the Language and Mind major. Students must have permission of the instructor or have taken one of the introductory courses in the Language and Mind major. See the catalog or contact Prof. Dougherty for details. We assume that students are unfamiliar with computational concepts (level, parser, bottom-up, morphology, etc), Chomsky's minimalist program, and the computer language Prolog.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: The requirements are detailed in the document: Course Final Project. There are four projects due during the term. These add together to yield a final project. As a final project, each student will write a Prolog program to pair English coordinate expressions incorporating the quantifiers (each, all, both, and so on), the coordinating conjunctions (and, or, nor), and the distributive adverbs (simultaneously, en masse, and so on) with a logical form. Students may write their Prolog program using other languages (French, Spanish, etc.). We will show how to link the various language particular parsers via the logical form to obtain a simple translation machine.
COMPUTER ACCOUNT: Each student registered for the class will have an account on the ACF4 Unix Vax and accounts to the IBM PC and Macintosh Labs. These are connected to the WWW. You will become very familiar with the resources of the New York University Academic Computing Facilities.
Chomsky, Noam. 1966. The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Dougherty, Ray C. 1994. Natural Language Computing: An English Generative Grammar in Prolog. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.
RECOMMENDED: Many books, articles, and other
readings will be placed on reserve in Bobst Library and in the Linguistics
Department Library, 719 Broadway, Fifth Floor. Many, perhaps most, of the
readings are available on the World Wide Web and can be downloaded by students.
You will learn to use the WWW browser. Gazdar and Mellish present a useful
compendium of computational procedures and techniques. Gorrell offers an
excellent discussion of computational linguistics in the government and binding
Gazdar, Gerald and Chris Mellish. 1989. Natural Language Processing in Prolog: An Introduction to Computational Linguistics. New York: Addison Wesley Inc.
Gorrell, Paul. 1996. Syntax and Parsing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
EXAMS: There are no examinations. There are four assignments culminating in a final project.