LING 103 - First Year Seminar (Social Science)
Section: 001 The Mathematics of Language
Term: FA 2009
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Requirements & Distribution:
Honors, FYSem
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Can language be described mathematically? Is there any fundamental difference between human languages (English, Swahili, Anishinaabemowin, ...) and computer languages? Can we build a machine that genuinely speaks English? How does one invent a language (like Sindarin or Klingon) that has the ring of real language? What is Language? Can there be a science of language?

We will explore the mathematical concepts and techniques that have been developed by linguists, logicians, and computer scientists to model language. The mathematical toolbox includes things like finite- state and context-free grammars, logic, and probability theory. The focus will be on syntax (how sentences are put together) and semantics (what they mean).

No mathematical background is assumed beyond high school algebra. Enrollment is restricted to Honors students.

LING 103 - First Year Seminar (Social Science)
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
4LSA Hnrs Y1
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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Readings will be available on CTools
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