Computational Psycholinguistics

Lecturer: Matthew Crocker
Format: Lectures with Tutorials (4 SWS, 6LP)
Programme: MSc in LS&T, Diplom CL, BA in CL
Times: Mon 14-16 (Lecture), Wed 14-16 (Tutorial)
Location: Building C7.3 - Room 1.12
Language of Instruction: English
Course begin: Monday, 30 Oct 2023

Course Organisation for Winter 2023-24
** UPDATE ** This course will be done primarily in presence this semester, apart from several weeks where we'll go online.
  • The course will be managed via Teams, so join here: [Link to Teams]
  • Lectures usually take place on Mon at 14:15, and you are responsible for all material presented and discussed.
  • Tutorials usually take place on Wed at 14:15, and you are expected to participate in all sessions.
  • Tutorial sheets will be posted in Teams, after each lecture: please get as far as you can with the tutorial before the Tutorial slot.
  • Tutorials provide an opportunity for any further Q&A about lectures, and assistance in progressing with the tutorials.
  • Completed tutorial sheets must be submitted via Teams, no later than midnight on Sunday before the next lecture. You must satisfactorily complete all tutorials. Individual feedback will not be given, but solution can be discussed in the following tutorial.
  • All lecture slides, links, readings, and assignments will be managed via Teams.

Course Contents

This course will discuss current computational models of human language processing. We will consider both how computational linguistics can inform the development of psycholinguistic theories, and also how computational models can account for and explain (experimentally) observed human language processing behaviour. The course will begin with an introduction to psycholinguistic research, summarising both the key observations about human language understanding, and also presenting central theoretical debates including issues such as modularity, incrementality, and the psychological status of linguistic principles and representations. We will then consider a number of computational models of lexical and sentence level processing and language acquisition. The models covered exploit symbolic, probabilistic, connectionist, and also 'hybrid' computational mechanisms.

Course requirements
General familiarity with English systactic theory, and language processing algorithms is assumed (and/or concurrent attendance of Computational Linguistics). Familiarity with the Unix command line, and a Unix text editor is also assumed.

You will need accounts for the Dept servers in order to complete the tutorial assignments! Apply for your account as soon as possible. All files for the tutorials will be posted via Teams or made available on the servers.

The course will use several systems for experimenting with computational models of human language processing.
  • Prolog implementations of incremental parsers. You can get SWI-Prolog [here], and find online tutorials [here]
  • Probabilistic models of lexical and syntactic processing

Systems are freely available, for Mac OS, Linux, and Windows operating systems. You will need a login for the Coli servers, and you will need to run an X-terminal on your computer, to enable the use of graphical software on the servers. Please familiarize yourself with the basic Unix command line, and a text editor like vi, vim, or emacs.

Course Readings