Learning Inflection

HHU, Summer 2024: Course catalog

Course Description

Have you ever wondered why we (humans) are really good at changing words? Like, if there`s more than one cat, we just add an -s to make it “cats”. But, when we see more than one child, we make it “children”. How do we know which pattern to follow? In this course, we will explore how humans learn these word changes. Specifically, we will look into how humans express a wide range of meanings and relationships without inventing new words (i.e we are looking at inflection). We will start by looking at prominent theories that help us understand how both children and adults acquire this knowledge of inflection. We will also engage broadly with the computational modeling approaches that help us better understand the complex process of language acquisition. As part of the course requirements, you are not required to do any programming.The course involves reading and understanding current research papers in the field of child and adult language acquisition, computational morphology, and phonology (mainly, SIGMORPHON (https://sigmorphon.github.io/) papers). There are no prerequisites, except your willingness to learn.

You are expected to attend the classes and do the weekly readings. In case that you miss more than 2 sessions, you will have to compensate for this participation by handing in extra written work.

This course is worth 2 CP for BA students and 3 CP for MA students. The requirements for 2 CPs are a set of assignments, as described in the course syllabus that will be provided and discussed in the first session. MA students will need to complete additional tasks.