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[eu_members at aclweb dot org] California: Computational Linguistics in Support of Linguistic Analysis, Special Session at LSA 2009 -- Call for Participation

Computational Linguistics in Support of Linguistic Analysis

LSA 2009
San Francisco CA

Friday evening plenary session and Saturday morning special session

D. Terence Langendoen -- University of Arizona (Emeritus) & National
Science Foundation
Emily Bender -- University of Washington

This is the third in a series of special sessions to be held at the
request of the LSA Program Committee designed to provide an overview
of a particular linguistic subfield. The previous sessions were on
phonology (January 2007, organized by Ellen Kaisse and Larry Hyman)
and sociolinguistics (January 2008, organized by Dennis Preston). This
year's special session is on computational linguistics, focusing on
how computational methodology and infrastructure can support
linguistic analysis by providing access to large quantities of
machine-readable language and linguistic data as well as tools for
analyzing those data. The session addresses two fundamental questions:

   1. What can computational linguistics do for us as linguists?
   2. What do we need to know and do to maximize the potential of
computational linguistics to advance our research, teaching and

Since the effective use of computational resources depends on the
availability of a well-designed and -supported infrastructure for
managing them, we also consider a number of questions related to
infrastructure, including the following:

   1. What is the current state of the infrastructure for
computational linguistics?
   2. How can we as a community work together with computer scientists
on the one hand and language communities on the other to improve and
extend that infrastructure, so as to make the data and analyses we
provide readily available and accessible to researchers, teachers, and
the interested public worldwide?

The latter question leads to a consideration of the new and exciting
kinds of problems that can be addressed by communities organized and
educated to make use of massive amounts of linguistic data and
analyses on a substantial portion of the world's languages delivered
by a powerful and well-designed infrastructure.

This special session has two parts. The one-hour Friday evening
plenary provides an overview of computational linguistics as a
resource provider for linguistics that is organized around the
questions posed above. The three-hour paper session on Saturday
morning features five invited presentations on the use of
computational methodology in linguistic research on syntax,
morphology, lexicon, phonology and pragmatics; these deal with both
how to validate and test theoretically-grounded analyses against
machine-readable linguistic data, and how to abstract
theoretically-interesting analyses from machine-readable data. In
addition, two of the papers address the issue of infrastructure, and
in particular the design of linguistic annotations and of tools to
make use of that annotation. The paper session concludes with a panel
discussion with the organizers, presenters and attendees to address
questions raised in both the plenary and paper sessions.