Ling848, Fall 2009

LING848, FALL 2009. Seminar: Corpus-Based Social Science


Philip Resnik


1108B Marie Mount Hall, Wednesdays 1:30-4pm.

Where to get information

  • Schedule of topics
  • Class discussion board
  • Class mailing list


    Note: The content of 800-level seminars varies from year to year, and this seminar will not cover the same material as previous offerings of Ling848 (Seminar in Computational Linguistics). If you have questions about the seminar, including any uncertainty about whether your background is appropriate in order to attend, please contact the instructor.

    Over the last five years or so, the relationship between language and opinions/sentiments has emerged as a hot topic for computational linguistics research, and Mark Liberman has recently argued that "corpus based social science" is poised to go mainstream, despite a general historical tendency toward "linguistic anemia" in the social sciences. As computational linguists, we have known for the past several decades that language use in corpora can serve as a useful proxy for world knowledge. With so much of people's lives going online, we can now start imagining technology that will exploit large-scale language use as evidence for people's individual behaviors and social interactions, as well.

    Now, "social science" is an unmanageably huge topic. The Wikipedia page on Social Sciences includes disciplines ranging from archaeology to social work. In this seminar, we'll narrow the field somewhat, focusing mainly on studies involving sentiment and perspective, topical focus of attention, and the connection of linguistic variables with social variables. In so doing, perhaps we can begin to help find a cure for linguistic anemia.

    This seminar will mainly involve readings and discussion, helped along by participation in an online discussion group. The class will be graded on participation (10%) and term paper/project (90%), and I hope to encourage hands-on projects engaging multidisciplinary teams tackling real problems, aiming for papers suitable for submission to appropriate conferences.

    Some resources that are likely to be useful:

    Philip Resnik, Associate Professor
    Department of Linguistics and Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
    Department of Linguistics
    1401 Marie Mount Hall            UMIACS phone: (301) 405-6760       
    University of Maryland           Linguistics phone: (301) 405-8903
    College Park, MD 20742 USA	   Fax: (301) 314-2644 / (301) 405-7104	   E-mail: resnik AT umd _DOT.GOES.HERE_ edu