Patterns in Language, Fall 2015

Course Description

If a computer is smart enough to beat humans at Jeopardy, does it mean that machines can think? Is it possible to predict the spread of the flu based on patterns in Google searches? Did Shakespeare really write that sonnet? Scientists use patterns in language to answer these questions, using the same concepts that underlie everyday applications like search engines, automatic translators, speech recognition systems, spell-checkers, and auto-correction tools. This course takes you on a tour of these applications, focusing on the technological and linguistic ideas behind them. You will gain practical hands-on experience and insight into how they work. No programming experience is required. The only background you need is curiosity about language and some everyday experience with computers.

Course Details

  • Title: Ling-UA 6-001 Patterns in Language
  • Time: Lecture Mon. & Wed. 11:00–12:15; Recitation Tue 4:55–6:15
  • Location: Room 261, Meyer Hall of Physics
  • Instructor: Dustin Alfonso Chacón, d—–.a—— (check my name)
  • Recitation: Yohei Oseki, y—–.o—– (check his name)

Ling-UA 6 is an elective for the following majors:

  • Linguistics
  • Language and Mind
  • French and Linguistics
  • German and Linguistics
  • Italian and Linguistics
  • Spanish and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Anthropology

Syllabus and schedule are available here.


Language and Computers
Markus Dickinson, Chris Brew, Detmar Meurers
ISBN: 978-1-4051-8305-5

Course requirements

  • Homework assignments – 30%
  • Midterm exam – 30%
  • Final exam – 30%
  • Recitation – 10%