SIS code: 
Semester: 
winter
E-credits: 
3
Examination: 
2/0 Zk
Instructor: 

Introduction to formal linguistics

  • SIS code: NPFL006, link to SIS
  • Fall term 2021/2022:  Thursday 10:40-12:10 in S1, MFF UK, Malostranské nám. 25, Prague 1
  • Lecturer: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D.
  • 2/0 (exam)

 

 

Description and objectives of the course
The course guides students through selected linguistic frameworks which have been designed for formal description of natural language. Focus is laid on syntactic issues.
Linguistic features (form vs meaning of the sentence, syntactic relations between the sentence items, role of the verb, referencing within the sentence, etc.) are discussed first and then analysed in both dependency- based and constituency-based frameworks.

 

Course completion requirements
1. Successful completion of 5 homework assignments (5 x 8 =)     0–40 points
2. Attendance and participation in the class                                     0–10 points
3. Final exam: an in-class test at the end of the term                       0–50 points
                                                                                                   max. 100 points

Grading
Excellent      80+ points
Very good    70–79 points
Good            60–69 points
Fail               0–59 points
/PhD students: 75 points required for Pass/

 

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Course schedule (preliminary)

- September 30, 2021 - Intro & discussion
Intro: Description and objectives of the course, lecture topics, course completion requirements, grading
Discussion: Formal description of natural languages – what are we up to?

 

- October 7, 2021 - Lecture 1 – Linguistic features and frameworks to be discussed
Focus on syntax: syntactic trees, dependency vs. constituency
Formalization of features observed

 

- October 14, 2021 - Lecture 2 – Linguistic features captured i/ii
Form vs meaning of the sentence
Levels in the sentence description: surface-syntactic vs deep-syntactic representation
Relationships between surface and depth: synonymy, homonymy, deletions

 

- October 21, 2021 - Lecture 3 – Linguistic features captured ii/ii
Verb as the core of the sentence structure; valency
Referencing within the sentence and beyond, coreference
Information structure of the sentence

 

- October 28, 2021 - No lecture (public holiday)

 

- November 4, 2021 - Lecture 4 – Functional Generative Description
Multi-level approach to language
Valency: arguments vs. adjuncts, valency frame
Surface-syntactic and deep-syntactic trees, non-dependency relations

 

- November 11, 2021 - Lecture 5 – Paninian framework
Dependency-based approach
Karaka relations

 

- November 18, 2021 - Lecture 6 – Meaning-Text Theory
Levels of language system description
Meaning-to-text approach
Lexical functions: syntagmatic vs paradigmatic

 

- November 25, 2021 - Lecture 7 – Generative Linguistics – The Chomskyan approach
Language description in the generative perspective: competence vs performance, language faculty
Generation of sentences, transformations
Lexicalist Hypothesis, Government & Binding, Minimalism

 

- December 2, 2021 - Lecture 8 – Distributed Morphology
A unified approach to syntax and morphology
Vocabulary items, Encyclopedia, Late Insertion, Underspecification, etc.

 

- December 9, 2021 - Lecture 9 – Case Grammar & Frame Semantics (Charles Fillmore)
Case Grammar
Frame Semantics
FrameNet database

 

- December 16, 2021 - Lecture 10 – Construction Grammar
Construction as a form-meaning pairing
Types of constructions
Constructions as means for a full-fledged description of language  

 

- January 6, 2022 – Some more approaches
Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR), Universal Conceptual Cognitive Annotation (UCCA), etc.
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References (overview surveys):
Allan, K.: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Oxford University Press 2013.
Luelsdorff, P. A. (ed.): The Prague School of Structural and Functional Linguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1994.
Matthews, P. H.: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford 2007.
Robins, R. H.: A short history of linguistics. Longman 1984.
Seuren, P.: Western Linguistics: An Historical Introduction. Wiley 1998.

References to particular topics and individual frameworks will be provided in the lectures.