Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Computational Lexical Semantics

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION Students will be exposed to various theories of lexical semantics that exist on the market, with a focus on those that are particularly relevant to the study of meaning in computational linguistics (e.g. Pustejovsky's 'Generative Lexicon'). At the same time, they will be introduced to the practical, computational task of learning or acquiring semantic information from data (especially corpora) as well as receive practical training on various applications that have been developed to perform such tasks as semantic role labelling, word similarity and collocation extraction (e.g. WordNet, WordSketch etc.).

Study-unit Aims:

The meaning of natural language expressions has been intensively investigated from a variety of perspectives, such as linguistics, philosophy and psychology. The aim of this unit is to identify those aspects of lexical semantics that are relevant to (as well as those ones that present challenges for) the computational study of word meaning. Apart from the theoretical discussion of the topic at hand, the students will also get the chance to develop an understanding of the various techniques that NLP makes use of when it comes to the machine extraction of lexical semantic data.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- identify the contribution that research in NLP can make to the study of lexical semantics.
- identify the challenges that current theories face when looked at from a computational perspective.
- develop an appreciation of the (symbolic and statistical) techniques that are currently used by relevant applications in NLP.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- apply theoretical concepts to the description and explanation of semantic phenomena.
- build small applications to extract semantically relevant data from corpora.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- D. Jurafsky and J.H. Martin (2009). Speech and Language Processing: An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Speech Recognition, and Computational Linguistics. 2nd edition. New York: Prentice-Hall.
- J. Pustejovsky (1995). The Generative Lexicon. Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press.
- J. Saeed (2008). Semantics. Third edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Practicum

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.