Linguistics 445 / 545
Computation and Linguistic Analysis
Spring 2017

Course goals This course will introduce students to computational linguistics (CL) and natural language processing (NLP), a field combining insights from linguistics and computer science. The course is concerned with concepts, models, and algorithms to interpret, generate, and learn natural languages, as well as applications of NLP.

We will look at these different levels of linguistic analysis: morphology, morpho-syntax, syntax, lexical semantics, and to some extent compositional semantics. In so doing, we will move from simple representations of language, such as finite-state techniques and n-gram analysis, to more advanced representations, such as those found in context-free and unification-based parsing. Some emphasis will be placed on parsing techniques in this course.

Meeting time: MW, 9:30–10:45am

Classroom: Ballantine Hall (BH) 217

Course website:

Credits: 3

Course prerequisites: Permission of instructor: L555 or a programming equivalent is recommended for this course, as well as some background in linguistics.

Instructor: Markus Dickinson

Office: Ballantine Hall (BH) 851

Phone: (812) 856-2535


Office hours: (at least for the first week)

R 11:00am-noon
or by appointment


Course requirements:

Academic Integrity: (from the Dean for Academic Standards and Opportunities)

“As a student at IU, you are expected to adhere to the standards and policies detailed in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct ( When you submit an assignment with your name on it, you are signifying that the work contained therein is yours, unless otherwise cited or referenced. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged. All suspected violations of the Code will be reported to the Dean of Students and handled according to University policies. Sanctions for academic misconduct may include a failing grade on the assignment, reduction in your final course grade, and a failing grade in the course, among other possibilities. If you are unsure about the expectations for completing an assignment or taking a test or exam, be sure to seek clarification beforehand.”

Students with Disabilities: Students who need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me to arrange an appointment as soon as possible to discuss the course format, to anticipate needs, and to explore potential accommodations.

I rely on Disability Services for Students for assistance in verifying the need for accommodations and developing accommodation strategies. Students who have not previously contacted Disability Services are encouraged to do so (812-855-7578;

CAPS One benefit of a school like IU is that there are many, many resources available to you. School—and life—can be intense at times, and if your academic responsibilities or other personal concerns are distracting or weighing on you this semester, I encourage you to contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 812-855-5711, The people there can be a resource and a source of support, not just in times of crisis but also when you need an extra ear or a little extra support. I’m happy to be a listening ear, as well, but I have no counseling training and the folks at CAPS do. Note, too, that I am required to report certain things (e.g., reports of sexual assault, suicidal thoughts).


MonthDateTopic Reading Assignments

Jan. 9Intro to class (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 1
11Regular expressions & Automata (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)ch. 2

16No class, MLK Day
18Regular expressions & Automata

23Morphology (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 3
25Finite-State Transducers (FSTs)

30FST work (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) HW1 due
Feb. 1FST work

6Composition (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) Roark&Sproat, ch. 2
8N-grams (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 4 HW2 due

13Part-of-speech (POS) tagging (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 5
15POS tagging

20Tagging work (tutorial, how-to, handout, tt2visl.txt, .gram) HW3 due
More files: (inclass.gram, lastyear.gram)
22Basics of set theory (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)

27Context-Free Grammars (CFGs) (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 12
Mar. 1CFGs & Parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 13 HW4 due

6CFGs & Parsing
8More chart parsing HW5 due

13No class, Spring Break
15No class, Spring Break

20Definite clause grammars
22Unification-based parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 15

27Unification-based parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)
29Grammar complexity (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 16 HW6 due

Apr. 3Partial parsing sec. 13.5
5Dependency parsing (.pdf, 2x3.pdf)

10Dependency parsing (NASSLLI 2010 notes: graph, non-projective)
12Parsing work HW7 due

17Semantics (Knowledge-based) (.pdf, 2x3.pdf) ch. 17
19Semantic analysis ch. 18

24Semantic analysis HW8 due
26Lexical semantics ch. 19

May 2Written projects (description) due @ 5pm

Disclaimer This syllabus is subject to change and shift—and most likely will. All important changes will be made in writing, with ample time for adjustment.