When & Where
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:30pm-4:50pm in SBSG 2200

Lisa Pearl
Department of Linguistics & Department of Cognitive Sciences
SSPB 2219 & SBSG 2314
Office Hours: Thursday 2:00pm - 3:00pm in SBSG 2314
and by appointment.
Email is the best way to reach her to schedule an appointment
not during regular office hours.

Mark Steyvers
Department of Cognitive Sciences
SBSG 2316
Office Hours: TBD, and by appointment.
Email is the best way to reach him to schedule an appointment
not during regular office hours.

This class also has a discussion board on its Canvas EEE site.


  • 12/23/16: Welcome to the class webpage!
    All readings can be accessed using the username and password mentioned in the first class session and on the class message board. (Check this pinned discussion of the discussion board to get the username and password.) Look to the schedule, and be thinking about what papers/topics you'd like to present to the class.

    Before the first session, please make sure you have viewed the first set of discussion points on the message board and posted your response to them. (It's easy, we promise.)

In this class, we will discuss a variety of papers that use computational models to investigate questions related to language learning and language use. All articles can be accessed through the schedule page (provided you have the class username and password). Topics to be discussed can include:

  • Modeling information extraction from language by humans:
    Humans have an amazing ability to extract all kinds of information from language text, including direct information such as content and indirect information such as sentiment, attitude, emotion, intention, perspective, and identity. Since the only information available is the language, humans must be using linguistic cues to do so. What are these cues? Are there additional informative cues available in the data, besides the ones humans naturally use? How good (or bad) are humans at noticing various linguistic cues?
  • Computational models of language learning/acquisition:
    Language is an amazingly complex system of knowledge that must be learned from noisy input. That very young children who don't have the cognitive sophistication to count to four can accomplish this task is no small wonder. That adults who have far more cognitive resources and learning strategies - not to mention knowledge of their native language - can't is perhaps even more striking. How is this possible?
  • Principles underlying models of language learning and change:
    These include discussions of fundamental assumptions (e.g., analysis by synthesis), processes underlying linguistic development, the relationship between language acquisition and language change, and processes of linguistic evolution.
  • Computational learning theory:
    This includes formal representations of learnability, with particular interest in connections to language acquisition by humans.