Computational Simulations of Language Behavior
LIX015M05, 2013/14, semester IIa

Introduction Course plan


This course on the use of simulations for studying language behavior may vary in focus, e.g. focusing one year on the acquisition of (one of) phonology, morphology or syntax, or another year on sentence processing and lexical access, or on the (social) diffusion of linguistic variation. The intention is that students familiarize themselves with the area under study in a given year, and thereby with the more general opportunities and limitations on the use of simulations in scientific inquiry.

This year's focus will be on learning linguistic categories, with particular emphasis on learning phonetic categories. A tentative list of suggested papers to be discussed in the course can be found here. Students are encouraged to suggest areas of language behavior they are interested in and representative papers in the area as topics of discussion during this course. You may also want to check the reading lists for earlier editions of this course here and here.

For more information, please see the course syllabus.


Çağrı Çöltekin


After completing this course, students should understand the use of simulations in cognitive sciences, be familiar with the modeling and simulation work in the area of language acquisition, and be able to (critically) read the recent research in the field.


The course assumes familiarity with basic concepts of machine learning, but there will be time to review occasionally unfamiliar concepts as well. The course is aimed at students in research masters' programs, which assumes serious motivation and scientific maturity.

Course plan



Students are expected to lead discussion on one or two papers. Contributions to discussions will also be part of the credit earned. A brief term paper (3-5pp), preferably describing and reporting results of a simulation of a new model of human behavior, or variation of an existing computational model. A brief summary and critique of an existing model or paper may also be a possible topic for the term paper.



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