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Topics - Armin

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General Linguistics / The Royal Court of Linguistics
« on: 2007-09-18 16:05:30 »
Something I just came across. Lauri Karttunen writes (2003):
Computational phonology and morphology have a curious non-relationship with “real” linguistics extending back to more than three decades. Time after time, from Johnson to Eisner, including Kaplan and Kay, Koskenniemi, myself, Beesley, Kiraz, and others, the computational knights have presented themselves at the Royal Court of Linguistics, rushed up to the Princess of Phonology and Morphology in great exitement to deliver the same message “Dear Princess. I have wonderful news for you: You are not
like some of your NP-complete sisters. You are regular. You are rational. You are finite-state. Please marry me. Together we can do great things.” And time after time, the put-down response from the Princess has been the same: “Not interested. You do not understand Theory. Go away you geek.”
The source as pdf

For one thing, it's great what you can write if you are a well-established scientist. If I put anything like this in my thesis, it'll be rejected. For the other thing, this is a general problem I have experienced in all fields of (computational) linguistics. Have I taken my minor subject too serious? It appears to me that general and computational linguistics are two seperate fields.

I am posting this under "General Linguistics", such as not to contemplate this among CLers, but to keep CL represented at the "Royal Court of Linguistics", and the issue open to your discussion. (And if the Linguistics now ask: "What's NP-complete? Regular? Rational? Finite-state?" then that's exactly the point.) I'd like to hear some linguists' point of view as well. (Okay, you avoid forums and internet communication...)

General Linguistics / Tutorenstellen
« on: 2007-09-06 10:55:47 »
Herr Sternefeld schreibt mir gerade, dass sich auf die Ausschreibung der zusätzlichen Tutorenstellen NIEMAND beworben hat. Die sind alle noch zu haben, und da geht das Geld aus den Studiengebühren hin.

Er schreibt auch:
Tatsaechlich wird es in der Zukunft leider noch schlimmer werden, denn nachdem Truckenbrodt dann endgueltig gekunedigt hat (er ist nur beurlaubt) wird die Stelle erst mal gesperrt. Wir werden Muehe haben, das durchzustehen und muessen dann in der Fakultaet eine Ueberbrueckung beantragen, die Chancen dafuer werden allerdings nicht gut gesehen.

Ich selber biete im naechsten Semester zusammen mit Tanja Kiziak noch ein weiteres, zusaetzliches Seminar an, ueber die Inhalte waere noch zu diskutieren. Ich nehme da Anregungen gerne auf.

P.S.: Ich hatte einigen von euch versprochen, anzubieten, dass ich einen Kurs machen könnte. Dafür ist aber absolut kein Geld da.

General topics / Next semester
« on: 2007-07-19 23:33:02 »
Hi folks!

This is to mourn the old times, and to prepare you for what is going to come. As you might know, there are three Lehrtühle at the Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft, partly formerly held by Uwe Mönnich, Erhard Hinrichs and Arnim v. Stechow. Except for my semester, noone will have had courses with Uwe Mönnich, but he's still around! And his position is vacant for more than a year now. It is by now official, that the first candidate on the list (John Nerbonne) has rejected his choice. How that came about (the choice and the rejection) is a totally different story, with examples of strategy and bad style.

The second person on the list is being asked right now, and although many have heard rumors who of the seven original candidates that is, it is not official. For those of you who don't know the inofficial news: You won't know him either, so it doesn't matter. For the others: I haven't heard any other rumors, so just guess that you are right. Apparently people are not allowed to make these rumors official. Whether he accepts or not, it seems that the position will be vacant for at least one more semester.

For the M.A. 2nd semester students that means no additional Hauptseminare in the Wintersemester. I haven't counted the credit points that are available from all courses, but I feel embarassed for having complained last year - considering next year's situation. We still had a choice and a chance to get the necessary points. Next semester there will be few courses, but with surprisingly many CPs (for extra work, I guess). Altogether there will be two or three block seminars, of which only one is in the Vorlesungsverzeichnis yet, the one by Sandra Kübler on Machine Learning. Definitely a good opportunity to get credits in a nice seminar.

v. Stechow's chair is vacant as well, and there won't be a replacement too soon. This time the Fachschaft has sent Aleks and Charlotte into the committee; they will know about the proceedings, but probably won't be allowed to tell :)

Fritz Hamm's contract couldn't be prolonged (because of university regulations). The same holds for Heike Zinsmeister (if I understood that correctly). The SFB is being closed soon, so the people around Laura Kallmeyer, who helped fill the gaps in teaching, will also have to look for something else. Hubert's good-bye party is tomorrow (See you there! As there won't be a SfS party, unfortunately). With 80-90% Frank will leave after this semester. After Zoulfia (whom most of you won't remember) and Sandra this means, there won't be any student advisor any more. This is a point where the Fachschaft needs to kick in!

Some people are already getting into trouble wanting to register for a final thesis, because Frank won't be there and there is noone else to do that. Have I forgotten anyone leaving? Well, me, but that doesn't hurt.

So what will it be like next semester?

4th semester students have already taken almost every Proseminar that's offered next semester. Semantics II won't take place for obvious reasons (unless... but I do not want to put certain people under any pressure *gg*). Today's 2nd semester students of General Linguistics will suffer from a wide lack of courses. Wolfgang Sternefeld is left as the only lecturer in GL, and Elena Bilan will offer a course on Chinese (I haven't asked her, but I believe she would rather want to continue her research).

By the beginning of next semester I believe several things will have been improved compared to today. At least in the BA courses everyone will get their credit points. All others are advised to have a look at the Germanistics and other Brechtbau departments, the Information Science etc.

The Fachschaft was held up by students of the 4th BA and 4th MA semester. We mainly organized the TaCoS. All those people will leave soon. We are leaving you a lot of money for parties, given somebody will take over the account.

Who will continue the Fachschaft? Come on, do something for yourselves! Who will take care of the new first semester students? You! And that means the 2nd semester, MA and BA. Student numbers are going down, and my semester still holds the all-time record of 18 BAs (out of 21 starters)! Those were better times, with more lecturers, more funding from the university, no fees, more parties. Not all hope is lost, though, but filling the positions again will take longer than most of you will be studying.

I wish you all the best. Keep your head up, and if you complain, do it loudly and to the right people.


Parties and Events / End of Semester - SS07
« on: 2007-07-05 09:07:35 »
DeMorgan's Last Law: Have an end of semester party!

When shall it be?

What shall it be? A BBQ, hoping summer will come back?

Who volunteers for the organisation?

Parties and Events / Konzerte etc. in Tü und Umgebung
« on: 2007-04-22 17:15:29 »
Linguisten hören bekanntlich gerne das BalkanKlezmerFolkSkaPolkaPunk-Gemisch. Jetzt am Montag in Reutlingen:

Bahnen fahren um 20:37 und 21:37. Offizieller Beginn ist 20:30. Ermäßigter Eintritt (Studenten?) sechs Euronen.

General topics / KVV
« on: 2007-02-28 11:23:08 »
Not that I am especially interested, but anyway I'd like to know next semester's courses. The  Vorlesungsverzeichnis seems unaccessible, even from within the SfS (I love penthesilea; when starting lynx, she complained about my cygwin-shell).

The pinboard was
Last modified:27.10.05 11:31 (CEST)
Sladjana Pavlovic
Well, obviously not. So who's responsible?

Or do we - as usual - have to wait till next semester to finally see what courses we would have liked to be informed about a bit earlier?

General Linguistics / Chair in General Linguistics
« on: 2007-02-01 16:25:22 »
As you know, Arnim v. Stechow will retire. A committee will be founded to decide on his successor. This includes among the important people also two students. I can't tell exactly what they have to do; basically they join all the meetings, see all presentations by applicants, and they are allowed to nod their head if decisions are taken, probably more. You will find out.

So we need two volunteers who are interested in how the General Linguistics department is continued. This is the most important change there in decades. If you want to take influence on that or at least be informed as one of the first, you should join that committee. Two people, not more. Reply here, and if there are no objections, you're in.

I'm sorry that there is not much time left to think about that. Herr Sternefeld couldn't tell me exactly when the committee is set up, but it will be very soon.

Parties and Events / Brechtbaufest - Cleanup
« on: 2007-01-27 12:20:23 »
This thread is meant to ensure everyone gets his or her belongings back.

Georgiana was looking for her pink scarf. There had been one, but later I couldn't see it anymore. Any ideas, anyone?

Charlotte is looking for her cell phone.

My car is full of stuff right now. It's pretty much unsorted. I'll update this posting once I sort it. Here's the beginning:

- blue rope: Guy?
- a lot of cables: Kilian, Englisches Seminar?
- British flag, needs to be cleaned somehow
- German and American flag: Jon
- Butterbrotpapier: Laura
- Spectrograms: Guy, do you want them back?
- transparent tape, packing tape
- a roll of garbage sacks: Guy?

Guy, I need to know what bottles are Pfand on, and whether there would be a problem if I just took them to the next store.

There are six of those nozzles (what are they called? - what we put onto the bottles.). Who wanted to have these?

How was the cleaning (after 4:20am)? Do we get our deposit back? The room looked quite fine, but the Brechtbau altogether...

Wo habt ihr die rote Sackkarre hingetan? Die gehört (steht auch recht unleserlich drauf) Hubert, und der will die am Montag wiederhaben.

General topics / 500€ for free, for everyone
« on: 2007-01-17 19:35:29 »
You want to have 500€? It's quite simple, but it only works, if you all do it: Don't pay the tuition fees. Place the money on the "Treuhandkonto" instead. Two things can happen:

6000 students refuse to pay. The university will have to give in. You get your 500€ back.

Less students participate. Your money will go to the university, and you're out of trouble, but have 500€ less.

I myself have only one more semester. I can afford the 500€ easily. Many, most of us can. Those few who can't just don't deserve to study. Surely, studying is worth 5000€ (till your final degree). And even if they raise it to other countries'/universities' standards (5000€ a year), you'll gladly pay, as long as they increase it in steps that do not hurt too much. They told you to pay, and they are right.
And if you'd feel better without tuition fees, remember: You are alone. You are the only one, and everyone else around you wants YOU to pay. Go ask your friends. They all want to pay, as much as the university likes. They will do. Some still have to get a credit. Well, 500€ is a good start. And kinda nice not to start off with 5000€. So let's be glad it's not more. They make the price, and they're in the position to do that. That's why they call it democracy, right?

General Linguistics / Jobangebot (Diplomarbeit)
« on: 2006-12-08 09:52:31 »
Kathrin Beck lässt Folgendes wissen (und ich denke, hier ist es am besten aufgehoben):

Hallo neue Fachschaft,

ich hab diese Woche bei einer Job-Rundmail ein Angebot für eine Diplomarbeit bekommen, das am Rande auch für Linguisten geeignet ist:
Wenn man sich mit automatischer Umwandlung in Sprach-Dateien oder e-Learning oder ähnlichem beschäftigt, könnte man bei dem Verlag vielleicht auch seine Bachelor- oder Masterarbeit schreiben.

Wenn du/ ihr Interesse habt, könnt ihr das vielleicht an die Studis rund-schicken?

Viele Grüße,

General topics / BB Plenum 30.11.2006
« on: 2006-12-01 10:24:01 »
Yesterday, Johannes and I attended the plenum.

What is of interest for us, is the information on the Hausfest. They expect some 2000 people. We can have a room, but to get a good one, we need to apply for that soon. We could probably also share it with the Rethorik-Fachschaft (I've got an Emailaddress of a representative of them). In our room, we're allowed to do what we want, except: selling beer, selling food, playing Hip Hop. Technical equipment for the music () is rented from one company, and though there is no obligation, it's just easiest to take them.

The latest information will be found on

There was some confusion about the new computer for the Slavistics room (which will also be our room). Someone of the new Fachschaften (Romanistik and us) should hand in the application for the computer, but of course no one of them knew how to do that. As far as I understood, someone else is doing that now...

I guess that's most of it.

General topics / Mailing list
« on: 2006-11-24 17:45:30 »
We've got a mailing list:
(redirecting to the actual list

edit by Kilian: Replace u-t by... well, you know. I don't want to write it down here. Those spammers have good computational linguists. Hmmm... career prospects... ;)

Any announcements should go there. If it's a lengthier announcement, or a discussion is to be expected, start a thread here and send the link along with a short description of the topic.

Anything else does not go via the mailing list. Several people have complained about unimportant spam, like "AOL" ( )

Contact Kilian (?) if you want to get onto or off the list.

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