SynSem: From Form to Meaning - Integrating Linguistics and Computing


Active 2017/2018 Humanities - Theology


Computational linguistics investigates human language through computational techniques. Our language processing capacity is at the core of human intelligence; language provides the predominant channel of inter-human communication; and digitally encoded language is universally recognized as the `fabric' of the World-Wide Web. Thus, computational linguistics is of increasing societal relevance, culturally as well as economically.

The computational investigation of human language is an inherently inter-disciplinary field, with a direct bearing on both the humanities (notably linguistics and philosophy) and the sciences (mathematics and computing).

However, a growing number of successful applications of computational linguistics and a related increased interest in practical, engineering approaches have led to a partitioning of research in computational linguistics—into either predominantly theoretical or primarily applied perspectives. Adverse effects of this dichotomy are clearly visible today: methodological fragmentation, on the one hand, and plateau effects in engineering progress, on the other hand.

Our multi-disciplinary research group will help reduce fragmentation, re-unite and henceforward advance in tandem historically related sub-disciplines, as well as prepare the field (and participating researchers) for emerging and future challenges in the formal, computational, and applied analysis of human language. The group involves leading international experts in formal syntax and semantics, computational grammars, annotation of language data, and automated grammatical analysis. Participants come from, among others, the University of Colorado, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Groningen, the University of Konstanz, Oxford University, the Polish Academy of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Stanford University, Uppsala University, and the University of Washington.


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