Analyzing Linguistic Data: Syllabus


Course Information

Instructor Contact Information

  • office hours: tba
  • office: RLP 4.734
  • email: katrin dot erk at utexas dot edu

Teaching Assistant

  • Venkata Govindarajan
  • office hours: tba
  • office: RLP 4th floor, Linguistics department open office space

Prerequisites

Upper-division standing.

Syllabus and Text

This page serves as the syllabus for this course.

Textbook:

P. R. Hinton: Statistics Explained: A Guide for Social Science Students. Psychology Press; 3rd edition.

Additional readings will be made available for download from the course website.

Content Overview

The aim of this course is to enable students to analyze text data to answer questions such as: Do women produce more words than men do? Does it matter whether you say "I gave Mary the book" or "I gave the book to Mary"? Can you tell, from the way a wine is described, whether it is expensive or cheap? The course draws heavily on the "breakfast experiments" of Language Log, a linguistics blog that sometimes has small statistical analyses for whatever language-related questions come up. This course will introduce fundamental concepts that will enable students to formulate quantitatively-oriented questions and answer them with appropriate visualization, modeling, and testing.

This class is hands-on. It includes an introduction to programming in Python, and an introduction to concepts from statistics that are needed to analyze text.

We will study the following topics:
  •     Descriptive statistics, and data exploration through visualization
  •     Testing hypotheses: when is a result "significant", rather than a random blip in the data?
  •     Regression modeling: both linear regression and logistic regression

A detailed schedule for the course, with topics for each lecture, is available at the schedule page, which forms part of the syllabus.

Flags

This course carries the Quantitative Reasoning flag. Quantitative Reasoning courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for understanding the types of quantitative arguments you will regularly encounter in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from your use of quantitative skills to analyze real-world problems.

This course also carries the Independent Inquiry flag. Independent Inquiry courses are designed to engage you in the process of inquiry over the course of a semester, providing you with the opportunity for independent investigation of a question, problem, or project related to your major. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from the independent investigation and presentation of your own work.

Course requirements and grading policy

  • Assignments: 60% (4 assigments, 15% each)
  • Course project:
    • Initial project description: 5%
    • Intermediate project report: 10%
    • In-class presentation: 5%
    • Final report: 20%

Course projects should be done by teams of 2 students. Projects done by 1 or 3 students are only possible with prior approval of the instructor.

Assignments will be updated on Canvas, There will be 4 assignments.  A tentative schedule for the entire semester is posted on the schedule page. Readings and exercises may change up one week in advance of their due dates.

This course does not have a midterm or final exam.

This course has a course project. Requirements for the course project are: an intermediate project report, and a final project report. Students will also get to discuss their projects in the last week of classes. By default, course projects should be done by teams of 2 students; if you would like to work in a larger or smaller group, you need prior approval of the instructor. Options for course projects, and more details on the project requirements are listed on the project page.

The course will use plus-minus grading, using the following scale:

 Grade Percentage
 A >= 93%
 A- >= 90%
 B+ >= 87%
 B >= 83%
 B- >= 80%
 C+ >= 77%
 C >= 73%
 C- >= 70%
 D+ >= 67%
 D >= 63%
 D- >= 60%

Attendance is not required. However, given that we will do a lot of hands-on exercises in class, and the homework assignments and the project address the material covered in class, good attendance is essential for doing well in this class.

Extension Policy

If you turn in your assignment late and we have not agreed on an extension beforehand, expect points to be deducted. Extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. I urge you to let me know if you are in need of an extension, such that we can make sure that you get the time necessary to complete the assignments.

If an extension has not been agreed on beforehand, then for assignments, by default, 5 points (out of 100) will be deducted for lateness, plus an additional 1 point for every 24-hour period beyond 2 that the assignment is late.

Note that there are always some points to be had, even if you turn in your assignment late. So if you would like to know if you should still turn in the assignment even though it is late, the answer is always yes. The last day in the semester on which the class meets is the last day to turn in late assignments for grading. 

Academic Dishonesty Policy

You are encouraged to discuss assignments with classmates. But all written work must be your own. Students caught cheating will automatically fail the course. If in doubt, ask the instructor.

Notice about students with disabilities

The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. Please contact the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

Notice about missed work due to religious holy days

A student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day will be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified the instructor. It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the instructor at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student will not be penalized for these excused absences, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.

Emergency Evacuation Policy

Occupants of buildings on The University of Texas at Austin campus are required to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated. Alarm activation or announcement requires exiting and assembling outside. Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building. Students requiring assistance in evacuation shall inform their instructor in writing during the first week of class. In the event of an evacuation, follow the instruction of faculty or class instructors. Do not re-enter a building unless given instructions by the following: Austin Fire Department, The University of Texas at Austin Police Department, or Fire Prevention Services office. Information regarding emergency evacuation routes and emergency procedures can be found at http://www.utexas.edu/emergency.

Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL)

If you are worried about someone who is acting differently, you may use the Behavior Concerns Advice Line to discuss by phone your concerns about another individual's behavior. This service is provided through a partnership among the Office of the Dean of Students, the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC), the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD). Call 512-232-5050 or visit http://www.utexas.edu/safety/bcal
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