Courses

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This page lists obligatory and optional courses for students of General and/or Computational Linguistics at the Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft (SfS). Other courses of interest outside the SfS can be found on Course reviews.

All courses in the winter semester start one week after the Introductory Meeting, except for the Unix Introduction.

Please note that the reviews on these courses are mainly subjective. The content of courses may vary from one lecturer to another or between different semesters. Also, this list is very likely not comprehensive.


Unix Introduction

Audience: everyone who doesn't know how to use the Unix command line

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Jochen Saile

Room: 2.28

Course Website: http://arbuckle.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/unix-intro/

Description: see here

Effort: attendance

Time: first week of the winter semester, i.e. Tue-Fri right after the Introductory Meeting, from 9-17 each day (if there are too many participants, the group is splitted into a morning and an afternoon group)

Credits: counts as 20% of your grade for Introduction to Computational Linguistics

Data Structures and Algorithms for Language Processing (Java 1/Programming 0)

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 1st semester, ISCL B.A. minors 3rd semester, ISCL M.A. students who do not know Java

Semester described here: WS 2014/15

Lecturers: lecture and self tests Verena Henrich, tutorial by Jochen Saile

Room: 0.02

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~vhenrich/ws13-14/java/

Description: This is a programming course in Java for beginners. It introduces students to data types, variables, conditional statements and loops, before quickly focusing on object oriented programming, and finishing off with file input / output.

Literature: The first eleven chapters of Java: An Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming, 6th Edition by Walter Savitch are covered. Many students found the book to be very helpful, although somewhat lengthy. Students who already know a programming language might not find much new information in it, however. The 5th edition of the book uses Java version 6, however the latest 6th edition of the book uses Java version 7, so this is the reason 6th edition is recommended.

Effort: weekly lab sessions with extra assignments, two exams, presence during lectures required

Time: 2 hours lecture + 2 hours self test + 2 hours lab session each week

Credits: 9 ECTS

How to prepare: Learn any programming language. If you do not know which one to start with, learn Java, as it is the language taught in this course. There are lots of free tutorials available online. But knowledge in anything that is a bit like programming will help, including MS Excel / OpenOffice formulae, HTML, or even cheats in computer games.

How to survive: Do work in groups! It is (almost) impossible to master this course on one's own without any prior knowledge in programming. Therefore, work together, share your ideas, explain to each other what you have understood and answer each other's questions. If that doesn't help, contact the lecturer as soon as possible and ask them to explain things again.

Introduction to Computational Linguistics

This course did not take place in the winter term 2013/14! The next opportunity to take it will be in the winter term 2014/15.

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 1st semester, ISCL B.A. minors 1st semester

Semester described here: WS 2011/12

Lecturer: formerly Frank Richter

Room: 0.02 (may change in future semesters)

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~fr/teaching/ws11-12/i2cl/

Description: The course provides a non-technical introduction into different areas in computational linguistics.

Literature: various, mainly Speech and language processing by Daniel Jurafsky and James H. Martin (2009)

Effort: one or two papers to read each week, occasional homework, two exams

Time: 2 hours per week

Credits: 3 ECTS

How to prepare: Be interested in computational linguistics, that's it. Absolutely no previous knowledge is required for this course.

How to survive: Make sure you pay close attention during class and read the papers.

Mathematics for Linguists - Logic

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 1st semester, ISCL B.A. minors 3rd semester, General Linguistics B.A. majors and minors 2nd semester

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Prof. Gerhard Jäger

Room: Hörsaal 0.02 (Verfügungsgebäude)

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~gjaeger/lehre/ws1314/mathe.shtml

Description: A basic introduction to logic: statement and predicate logic (including truth trees and natural deduction) and set theory.

Literature: Partee, B. H., A. ter Meulen & R. E. Wall, Mathematical Methods in Linguistics, Kluwer, Dordrecht 1990. The relevant chapters as well as the lecture slides are available online on the course's website.

Effort: weekly homework sheets (graded), two exams

Time: 2 hours per week + tutorial (optional)

Credits: 3 ECTS

How to prepare: All the topics covered in this course are more or less related to each other. Therefore, you can start with almost anything you like. If you never had set theory (Mengenlehre) at school, you might want to start learning about Venn diagrams. An interest in solving logic puzzles or murder mysteries could also be an advantage.

How to survive: Find a source that explains things the way you understand them best and stick to it. Never give up!

Mathematics for Linguists - Statistics

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 1st semester, ISCL B.A. minors 3rd semester, General Linguistics B.A. majors 3rd semester

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Prof. Harald Baayen

Room: Hörsaal 0.02 (Verfügungsgebäude)

Course Website: The course material was made available via Dropbox.

Description: A basic introduction to probability theory (combinatorics, set theory, probability, random variables, word frequency distributions, information theory).

Literature: The reader offered by Prof. Baayen was sufficient to pass this course.

Effort: two exams

Time: 2 hours per week

Credits: 3 ECTS

How to prepare: All the topics covered in this course build on each other. Therefore, you could take any book introducing probability theory and start right at the beginning. If you never had set theory (Mengenlehre) at school, you might want to start learning about Venn diagrams.

How to survive: Find a source that explains things the way you understand them best and stick to it. Never give up! Learning in groups also helps.

Introduction to General Linguistics

This module is composed of three courses. If you take this course for credit, you must attend all three lectures. In recent years, the schedule for the three courses has developed into a somewhat complicated scheme: Phonology is held 2 hours per week during the whole semester, while Syntax is only offered during the first half of the semester, but 4 hours a week. Semantics takes place during the second half of the semester and uses the same time slot as Syntax.

Audience: General Linguistics/ISCL B.A. majors and minors 1st semester

Credits: 12 ECTS and for General Linguistics, 9 ECTS for ISCL (3 per part)

Phonology and Phonetics 0

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Dr. Christian Ebert

Room: Neue Aula HS 08 (may change in future semesters)

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~cebert/teaching/13PhonPhon/

Description: Introduction to phonology and phonetics.

Effort: one exam

Time: 2 hours each week

How to prepare: No previous knowledge required.

How to survive: Study hard until you know everything by heart. Go to the tutorials. That's it.

Syntax 0

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Fritz Hamm

Room: Brechtbau HS 036 (Tuesday), Neue Aula HS 08 (Thursday) (may change in future semesters)

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~sam/teach/IntroGenLing/content.html

Description: This course is all about drawing trees to represent the syntactic structure of sentences.

Literature: Sam's script

Effort: one exam

Time: 4 hours each week (only takes place in the first half of the semester)

How to prepare: If you do not already know it, learn what parts of speech are.

How to survive: Draw trees. You need a lot of practice.

Semantics 0

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Prof. Wolfgang Sternefeld

Room: Brechtbau HS 036 (Tuesday), Neue Aula HS 08 (Thursday) (may change in future semesters)

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~gjaeger/lehre/ws1011/semantics0.html

Description: The lecture starts with simple sense relations like synonymy, then focuses on different types of ambiguities. More than half of the time, however, is devoted to computing extensions and intensions of phrases and, eventually, sentences.

Literature: Thomas Ede Zimmermann and Wolfgang Sternefeld's Lecture notes in Semantics provides a thorough and understandable explanation of the topics covered in this lecture. See Prof. Sternefeld's website for a German version. And for an English version.

Effort: one exam

Time: 4 hours each week (only takes place in the second half of the semester)

How to prepare: Can you paraphrase the two meanings of sentences such as The man saw the boy with the binoculars? Also, take a course on logic and/or set theory.

How to survive: Don't let the complexity of set theory confuse you. Pay close attention to notational conventions.

Languages of the World

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors whose minor is General Linguistics, probably others (?), anyone who is interested

Semester described here: WS 2010/11

Lecturer: Gerhard Jäger

Room: 1.13 (may change in future semesters)

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~gjaeger/lehre/ws1011/languages_of_the_world.html

Description: What do all languages of the world have in common? And where do they differ in structure? Are all languages derived from one common ancestor language? Why does Inuktitut have such long words? And how can speakers of Dani describe the world with only two different color terms?

Literature: Baxter, William H. and Alexis Manaster Ramer. 2000. Beyond lumping and splitting: Probabilistic issues in historical linguistics. In Colin Renfrew, April McMahon, and Larry Trask, editors, Time Depth in Historical Linguistics. The McDonald Institute for Archeological Research, Cambridge, UK, pages 167--188. Whaley, L. J. (1997), Introduction to Typology. The Unity and Diversity of Language. Many students used the slides as their primary resource, however.

Effort: (almost) weekly homework that is not graded but highly recommeded, two exams

Time: 2 hours each week

Credits: 3 ECTS

How to prepare: Be interested in all kinds of exotic languages, their exotic linguistic properties and comparisons between them. Also see http://wals.info/

How to survive: Be interested. Then everything is easy.

Text Technology

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 2nd semester, ISCL B.A. minors 2nd semester

Semester described here: SS 2012

Lecturer: Christopher Culy

Room: 2.26, the computer lab

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~cculy/courses/S2012/textTech/

Description: Corpora are great in linguistics, but they become useless very soon if they are stored in the wrong format. This course shows how to store and manipulate linguistic data in a way that preserves them for future generations of linguists.

Literature: Lothar Lemnitzer, Heike Zinsmeister (2006): Korpuslinguistik. Eine Einführung.

Effort: a group project, one exam

Time: 2x2 hours per week

Credits: 6 ECTS

How to prepare: Do an online tutorial on HTML and CSS. Probably design your own website.

How to survive: Do lots of online tutorials on HTML, CSS, XML, (DTD,) XSD, XSLT and whatever things you don't understand.

Programming Course for Computational Linguistics I (Java 2)

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 2nd semester, ISCL B.A. minors 4th semester, basic knowledge in Java required

Semester described here: SS 2012

Lecturer: Verena Henrich, lab sessions: Jochen Saile

Room: 2.26, the computer lab

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~vhenrich/ss12/java/

Description: Now that you know how to program, you have to learn how to program efficiently. Additionally, you will get to know important algorithms, especially ones for searching and sorting.

Literature: Algorithms by Sedgewick and Wayne

Effort: a programming project, weekly homework to be handed in at the end of each lab session, an oral exam

Time: 2x2 hours + 4 hours lab session per week

Credits: 12 ECTS

How to prepare: Make sure you know - and can apply - everything from Java 1. Be prepared to use entirely new classes, so get used to JavaDoc APIs.

How to survive: Again, do work in groups! First, figure out what exactly the assignment is. If this is not clear, ask the lecturer. Then, together with your group, write down in plain English what your program should do, step by step. Finally, everyone should translate these steps into code on their own.

Semantik I

Audience: General Linguistics B.A. majors and minors 2nd-4th semester, Semantics 0 and math course required, course is taught in German

Semester described here: SS 2011

Lecturer: Prof. Wolfgang Sternefeld, tutorial by David Lahm

Room: 0.02

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~wolfgang/course_mat_neu.shtml

Description: After a short repetition of scope-related ambiguities, extensions and intensions, this course introduces you to the lambda calculus. You will learn how to formally denote the meaning of any sentence in natural language.

Literature: Heim, I. & Kratzer, A. Semantics in Generative Grammar Blackwell, 1998. Gamut, L. T. F. Logic, Language and Meaning University of Chicago Press, 1991, II. Montague, R. Universal grammar Theoria, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 1970, 36, 373-398.

Effort: biweekly homework (you have to achieve 50% of the credits to be admitted to the exam), one exam

Time: 2x2 hours + 2 hours tutorial per week

Credits: 16 ECTS

How to prepare: Be good at set theory.

How to survive: Pay close attention during the lectures, read the script and slides. Practice a lot.

Syntax I

Audience: General Linguistics B.A. majors and minors 2nd-4th semester, Syntax 0 required, course is taught in German

Semester described here: WS 2013/14

Lecturer: Prof. Wolfgang Sternefeld, Morphology by David Lahm

Room: 0.02

Course Website: http://www.s395910558.online.de/course_mat_neu.php

Description: This course covers Noam Chomsky's phrase structure rules and Prof. Sternefeld's book on German syntax, starting with the structure of phrases and dealing with whole sentences later in the semester.

Literature: Sternefeld, Wolfgang (2006a): Syntax. Eine morphologisch motivierte generative Beschreibung des Deutschen. Band 1. Stauffenburg Verlag, Tübingen.

Effort: attendance in both the lecture and the morphology seminar, a group presentation in morphology, homework (optional, but strongly recommended), two exams

Time: 2x2 hours of lecture + 2 hours morphology + 2 hours tutorial per week

Credits: 9 ECTS

How to prepare: Check your material from Syntax 0.

How to survive: Read the book, make notes during the lecture, and practice, practice, practice! And learn the presentations on morphology by heart.


SLANG: SocioLinguistics And Network Games

Audience: anyone who is interested

Semester described here: SS 2011 (may not be offered in regular intervals)

Lecturer: Jason Quinley and Roland Mühlenbernd

Room: Brechtbau 035

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~roland/SLANG/index.html

Description: see course website for detailed description

Literature: a lot, see course website

Effort: 6 homeworks, 2 exams, one programming project or paper + 25 min presentation

Time: 2 hours per week

Credits: 3 ECTS

How to prepare: Repeat the probability calculus.

How to survive: Work hard. Spend a lot of time.


Academic Writing

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 1st-4th semester, anyone who has never written an academic paper before

Semester described here: SS 2012

Lecturer: Jason Quinley

Room: 2.26, the computer lab

Course Website: none

Description: Learn how to write academic papers and deliver presentations. The areas of focus are style, structure, and citations. You will be introduced to LaTeX and BibTeX, which make writing papers, giving presentations and citing sources very easy and efficient.

Literature: lots of good academic papers

Effort: a 5-7 min presentation, one final paper

Time: 2 hours per week

Credits: 6 ECTS

How to prepare: Do an online tutorial on LaTeX.

How to survive: If you have questions, write an email to the lecturers or come to the office hours.

Computational Linguistics II: Parsing

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors and minors 3rd semester.

Semester described here: WS 2014/15

Lecturer: Prof. Helmut Schmid

Room: 0.01

Course Website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~schmid/Parsing/index.html

Description: This seminar gives an introduction to parsing methods for natural language processing. This is mostly a theoretical course.

Literature: http://dickgrune.com/Books/PTAPG_1st_Edition/

Effort: Class assignment (parser implementation), mid-term, final.

Time: 4 hours per week

Credits: 6 ECTS

How to prepare: The exam was similar to the weekly homework - this was a good preparation.

How to survive: If you have questions, write an email to the lecturers or come to the office hours.


Programming Course Computational Linguistics II (Java 3)

Audience: ISCL B.A. majors 3rd semester.

Semester described here: WS 2014/15

Lecturer: Daniel de Kok

Room: 1.13 and 2.28 (lab)

Course Website: No longer available. Description: This was a programming course focussing on NLP- and non-NLP-problems like FSAs, POS-tagging, Statistical Dependency Parsing, sorting algorithms, bloom filters, design patterns and graphs.

Literature: Algorithms in Java by Robert Sedgewick, 4th Edition

Effort: Class assignments each week (not all graded), mid-term, final.

Time: 4 hours per week + optional lab session

Credits: 12 ECTS

How to prepare: All that appeared in the exams was on the lecture slides. For the graded assignments: Also do the ungraded ones! Watch out for style errors!

How to survive: If you have questions, write an email to the lecturer or come to the office hours.