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Decided on Ling!


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The road to deciding on a phd program was hard and tortuous. I finally decided to do linguistics and I am super excited about it. I have a non-ling BA and a MA in Spanish with coursework in Spanish general linguistics and applied. I'm interested in language preservation, dialectology/language contact and computational ling and voice recognition (for developing lang teaching software). I was out of the academic setting for 3 years (working as an administrator for the state) but recently started taking undergrad ling courses to make up for my non-ling BA. Questions:

-For computational ling, what level of computer science knowledge is expected/preferred for phd programs?

-With zero computer science background, are my computational ling dreams unrealistic?

-What computer courses would better prepare me? I don't want to waste valuable time.


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  • 4 months later...

I think you should taste CL before really going for it. There are many Intro to CL courses which of course need programming skills. You should know what you are going to invest your time. CL starts from counting and extends to many advanced topics such as many advanced machine learning algorithms.

Computational methods are just about methodology of research and not about the content of research. What content are you interested to work in. I mean sound, syntax, semantics etc. by content.

For example you can do research in all these contents without a computational methodology of research using experimental or field methods.

One example:

You can start to work on parsing sentences using CYK, Chart Parsing, PCFG, Inside-Outside algorithm for grammar induction 


you can use just simple information theoretic (mostly counting) methods in online sentence processing which is usually acompanied by experimental methods.


I think the second approach which is more cognitive/psycholinguistics and has some computation in it is more matched to interested students without a sound knowledge in computing though you can work on your computing knowledge and after getting it you can work on more mathematical sides.

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That's right fuzzylogition. I didn't notice the date and wanted to be helpful. Thanks for the info.

I understand and appreciate the good will :)

I just think it'd be a shame to spend time giving detailed advice to someone who's no longer here to read it!

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Yeah, he/she may not come back but someone may read it someday.


Generally I am all for leaving general advice for posterity (I do it all the time!) but I think it makes more sense to do it for general interest posts than rather unique situations that are unlikely to extend to anyone else who might be roaming the boards. But yes, fair enough, it's always better to help than not :)

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