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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Computational Linguistics' LiveJournal:

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Thursday, April 24th, 2014
9:28 pm
Computational Linguistics/Natural Language Processing - What do They Really Mean?

I have a horribly basic question that I can't seem to find a straightforward answer to anywhere. I love languages, and therefore I happen to enjoy linguistics and I also enjoy CS. I'm currently dual majoring in Computer Science and Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on Translation. I keep hearing about this field, Computational Linguistics or Natural Language Processing, and to me it sounds like exactly what I want to do. Create programs that use language to solve problems. But the problem is, there is so much distinction between something like data mining and NLP and CL and everything is all jumbled up to such an extent that as a novice to the subject I have no idea how to proceed.

My question is, can anyone either describe or link me to information that does describe, what someone in each of those three specialized fields would do for a job? Even just examples would be great. I get that CL means you're more of a linguistics person, and NLP means you're doing more programming, but what does that literally mean? What do people end up doing with those focuses?

For me, with my limited knowledge of the subject, what I really want to be involved in is something like getting computers to translate, or understanding how computers process Japanese characters, or making a program for auto-correct in a foreign language, etc. Are those impossible tasks for someone with an average CS background? I don't imagine I'll be the top of my class in any sense of the word, but I'm doing alright so far with my CS courses and I do really well with my foreign language and linguistics courses. Should I take a look at CL/NLP or leave it to the pro's?

Thank you. :)
Saturday, May 12th, 2012
10:31 am
Pros and cons of compling in the working world
I am considering CompLing and entering the field after earning the degree.  I hear that the payscale is good in compling positions, but I am interested in what the other pros are (if any).  Honestly, I am more interested in what the cons may be. 

I understand that the pros and cons will likely differ depending on the employer; however, any feedback about your specific experiences would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
Monday, May 7th, 2012
7:01 am
Introduction and request
Hello, I'm Tara. I have a certificate in Natural Language Technology and a BS in linguistics. I would like to continue on to a masters in computational linguistics. For now, however, I have some projects I would like to complete.

The first one is make two lists: names with themed meanings and three-word strings from different themed word lists. I would like lemma and part of speech considered. I would like this done automatically. I would like phrases to be be part of word lists and taken apart when needed. I would like to build word lists from synonyms if one word is not found within that theme.

I try to look for tools to make this easier. They are often for one format, one purpose, only available online, and cannot communicate with others. There are permutation applications, but the user would have to provide their own word lists, and cannot get them from a link. This is not even getting into cost.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
5:50 pm
Double Major?
Hello everyone.

I am interested in getting into the field of computational linguistics, but I'm not sure about the requirements for that. I'm currently majoring in Linguistics in a university and I was wondering if I should ALSO have a major in Computer Science in order to delve into this field? Or is it possible to be able to get into a Masters program in Computational Linguistics with just my Linguistics Bachelor's Degree? (And vice versa, with just my Computer Science degree?)

Also, between Computer Science and Linguistics, I'd like to know if any one of these have a bigger importance in the field of Computational Linguistics, or are they equally as important?

Thank you in advance for anyone who decides to reply to this!

Current Mood: worried
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
10:04 am
Another Prospective Looking for Help!

I recently received my BA in Linguistics from the University of Oregon and am now attending an MA Linguistics program at the University of New Mexico. I came here because I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with myself but also wasn't going to just sit around waiting for things to happen for me. So, of course, about four weeks into my first semester as a MA student, I decide that I am interested in Computational Linguistics and really, really tired of the Academic world. I am not a good fit for academia!

I don't have any current skills in programming, but have learned some from my brother who is a programmer and started teaching himself when he was itsybitsy. I am confident that obtaining those skills won't be terribly difficult for me. I guess my question is - is it worth it to continue on with my MA at UNM? Or since it is early, should I try to switch to something like the program at UW which can be done online?  UNM does not offer anything remotely close to computational linguistics (nor does it really offer what I came here specifically for -ASL Bilingual psycholinguistics - SURPRISE! Just because it's their specialty and they list the courses in their catalog doesn't mean they will actually provide the courses. /bitter)

Any advice? If I continue with this MA program and teach myself various programming skills, etc... will it be possible for me to get a decent job, or would it be best for me to go on to a PhD in CompLing, or perhaps quit my current program altogether?
Saturday, June 11th, 2011
4:43 pm
Building an AI dictionary?

This is going to be a big post, and I apologise for that. tl;dr version: I've always had a dream to build a huge dictionary for AI use, but I'm not sure where to start in actually getting one going.

The bigger version.Collapse )
Monday, April 25th, 2011
1:21 am
CL in Europe
Hi everyone,
Are there any european students/graduates in CL?
I need some advicee on european CL Master programs. I'm enrolled to a couple of european universities, and waiting for answers from several others. Which institution is considered to be the best one in Europe in this field? Which ones are considered to have a good research base and qualified teaching staff?
Saturday, January 15th, 2011
11:57 am
An example of a new idea that caught your interest?
Have you visited any conferences/listened to any talks recently where a new idea caught your interest?
Sunday, October 31st, 2010
2:53 pm
hello all,

can anyone tell me whether semantics will be better handled by statistical methods or formal semantic models. i am more intrested in formal approches to meaning, but dont know how far these wil work in nlp apps.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
2:45 pm
salary for linguistic annotation?
Hello. What do you think would be a fair hourly salary for linguistic text annotation?
Monday, October 18th, 2010
8:21 pm
Newcomer needing some advice
 Hi everyone,

I was glad to find this page. I'm having trouble deciding on which school to attend for undergrad. For financial reasons, I'm limited to two universities with less-than-ideal programs. But, of course, I'm planning on earning my Masters in computational linguistics after (probably at UW). Let's call the two options Schools A and B.

At A, I would double major in linguistics and computer science. The school has a good computer science program, and an awesome linguistics program. The issue is that they have very few (~2) courses directly related to computational linguistics, and do virtually no research in the area. 

At B, I would have to major in computer science and minor in linguistics, because they have a somewhat weak linguistics program (no graduate degrees and no more than 12 course offerings for undergrads). However, they have a solid computer science department, in which they offer 5-6 comp ling courses and conduct research in it. 

B has a bit more computer science requirements a bit less linguistics...offerings...than I would like. But the research and courses in comp ling is enticing. I'm sure students enter grad programs for comp ling without specific experience though, right? Not every school offers those sorts of courses at an undergrad level, so would a general linguistics and computer science background (school A) suffice? Which school would I be better off at in terms of preparation for my Masters? Would I be at any sort of disadvantage by going to either?

Also, on a different note...what kind of GPA range is typical for admission to these graduate programs? I'm guessing mid-3s? 

Thank you for any help you can give.
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
3:31 pm
A few questions on undergrad

I'm starting university next fall and I'm trying to decide which to attend. Of my two top choices, one has a joint major in linguistics and computer science, and the other doesn't, so I would have to double major. The latter also lacks courses specifically in comp ling (while the former has "Natural Language Computing,"  "Computational Linguistics,"  "Knowledge Representation and Reasoning," etc. and a research group in comp ling). The second school clearly has the better program, but I was wondering...is it a good thing to take comp ling courses before getting my Masters in comp ling? I know it sounds like a stupid question, but I thought of how law schools discourage students from majoring in legal studies. Is it like that, or should I just get as much preparation as possible? The reason I'm even asking is because I really like the campus at the other university and I guess I'm trying to justify going there since their program isn't as strong (even though their linguistics is one of the best in the world). 

My other question is concerning cognitive science. It seems pretty interesting, but I hardly care for psychology, and I dislike biology and neuroscience. But a combination of linguistics, computer science, and philosophy sounds enticing. Apparently quite a few cog sci grads go onto comp ling. I think it might be helpful to approach it from a different perspective. If I was to do cog sci instead of a double major in linguistics and computer science, what would the pros and cons be? Has anyone here gone into comp ling from cog sci? It could totally change where I go to university, so I would appreciate some opinions. Thank you.


Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
2:42 am
How to get a job in Computational Linguistics?
Hi everyone! First of all, I am so incredibly glad I found this community! I've needed to talk to others who are pursuing computational linguistics. X3

Basically, I have a BA in Linguistics, and after discovering that most of the jobs out there in linguistics are in computational linguistics, I've decided to pursue an MA in Computational Linguistics. Well, okay, technically the school I'm applying to has an MA in Linguistics with a certificate in Computational Linguistics (I'm planning on San Diego State University) but that's still ultimately my goal. I'm considering a possible PhD in Computational Linguistics too, but right now I'm going to focus on getting a Master's first.

Since I wasn't allowed to take programming classes in undergrad (they were for Comp Sci majors only) I've gone back to community college to take programming classes. I found that I really enjoy computer science. So much so that I almost regret not doing Computer Science when I went to college. XD But, I do really enjoy linguistics and I'm glad in the end that I did study it. There are times where it feels really weird going back to CC after I graduated and I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. But, after reading some posts here, I feel like I am doing the right thing because programming is so important to Computational Linguistics and it's good that I'm finally learning how to do it.

So, now I have a few questions.

1.) Currently I'm a research assistant for a PhD candidate, and my work consists of analyzing words in a dialect of Japanese spoken in Okinawa, and segmenting sounds in Praat. I really love this work and I'm getting into it. Is there a "real world" job that would be somewhat similar? It may not be Comp Ling exactly, it's more phonology type work, but I really enjoy it and I would really be interested in it.

2.) How exactly do you get experience in Computational Linguistics? I know here I am asking this question and I'm a research assistant who's also going to be helping with a corpus and a dictionary in the future, but I notice that a large amount of the Comp Ling jobs require 3-5 years in some programming language (usually C++ and Java, both of which I'm learning now thankfully, as well as PHP and SQL, which I'm hoping to learn next). Do my classes count as part of the experience? How could I get this experience if I don't have a Computer Science degree?

So, I guess this boils down to how do I best prepare for a job in Computational Linguistics?

Current Mood: hopeful
Thursday, August 26th, 2010
11:39 am
Hey everyone,

Well, I just began my freshman year of college at the local University and am very interested in the field of computational linguistics. It just so happens, my school does not have a listed linguistics major, unless attempting a Masters degree. With this, I declared myself as a psychology major when asked. Before I start getting into the classes that actually affect my major, I would like to ask... What do I do?! What major do you guys recommend me to follow up on? I'm planning on transferring to a much better school but for now I'm lost. What temporary major should I follow? What classes should I take? What schools should I look into? Anything would be helpful.

Thank you,
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
11:57 am
Where do you start?
I'll soon begin university, and I'm wondering what kind of background I should get to prepare for a Masters in computational linguistics. I assume it would be best to double major in computer science and linguistics, but if forced to major in one and minor in the other, which combination would you advise? I'm more interested in linguistics (mostly theoretical) but computer science is obviously more practical (in the case that I have to work between undergrad and grad, I would have a much easier time finding a job).

Also, did anyone study cognitive science in undergrad? It seems to be a good intersection of computer science, linguistics, and philosophy, subjects I'm all interested in. However, I don't enjoy psychology and biology very much. Does that make it a bad choice? I'm also curious as to the usefulness of knowing a foreign language. I speak German at an intermediate level, and I'm a beginner in Russian. Should I try to pursue one or both of these to fluency in university? Will it help me for my Masters/is it required? I know I have to take math/stats courses too, anything else?

Any advice you could offer regarding my situation or matters pertinent is much appreciated. It's so difficult to find information on computational linguistics on the internet, I was thankful to find this page. Oh, and if anyone has experience with/knowledge of Canadian universities, which would you recommend I study at? I've heard University of Toronto is the best, since they have a major in Linguistics and Computing.
Monday, April 5th, 2010
8:23 am
New member with an old question
 Hi there.  I'm currently a freshman in undergrad, and I'm really interested in pursuing computational linguistics.  But I've already started on my linguistics major which I'm really enjoying, and the computer science program at my school is way too demanding in terms of requirements for me to complete it within the next three years.  So my question is: for computational linguistics MS and PhD programs, I know that CS and math are required, but how much would be considered sufficient?  I'm doing a double major in linguistics and German, and I can also fit in a joint minor in CS and math.  This would include coursework in programming in Python and Java, Data Structures, Discrete Math, Basic Algorithms, Calc I & II, and a Probability & Statistics course.  I'll also have taken the course on compling that my school offers.  Would that give me a sufficient background, or would grad programs expect more from me?  I know a lot of similar questions have been asked from people attempting to approach CL from the linguistics side, but rather than wondering if it's possible to go into CL with limited programming experience, I wanted to know just how much experience one needs.  Thanks a lot!

Current Mood: thoughtful
Friday, March 19th, 2010
4:18 pm
Status Quo of Open Class Written Language Identification
It seems that closed class statistical LID methods, such as n-gram, HMM, etc, have been well established and have rendered good performances so far. However, they all rely on a training set or some known language profiles to work.

I have been researching about open class LID, which, if successful, will rely little or none on pre-determined language profiles, but so far I gathered little relevant info by searching existent literature. Can some people give some suggestion on this? Is this a realm that is worth further researching and developing?

Thank you very much.
Saturday, March 13th, 2010
5:08 pm
Non-CS background, interested in PhD Computational Linguistics
I'm considering applying to a PhD program in Computational Linguistics in 2-3 years. I have a linguistics background but little expertise with programming. I'm interested in
     1) feedback about how realistic it would be for me to pursue this path;
     2) objectives for independent study to develop key skills/knowledge to be successful with Computational Linguistics.

I would be interested in a career path that would take me in academia or the private sector, definitely doing something more than just theory, but actual programming and stretching the bounds of how computers interact with human languages. Having developed quite a bit of expertise teaching English as a second language to people, I'm wondering if perhaps I might help teach English to computers someday ;)

A little background about me:

I have excellent reading/writing skills in English, with a humanities/linguistics background, a BA in History and MS in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (akin to a masters in Applied Linguistics). I've been working as a teacher for about ten years (mostly dealing with learning disabilities and learning English as a second language) and am very passionate about languages in general. I've had some measure of success with my masters program, doing research, winning a graduate student research award, and getting published in a peer-reviewed journal. After I won the award, many people asked me, "When are you going to do a PhD?" But I want to transition to the hard sciences, and given my background in linguistics (work and education), it seems like Computational Linguistics would be a good fit. However, I have only casual experience with computer programming. I worked as a financial analyst for several years (before going into teaching), becoming very adept with MS Excel & Access, starting to learn visual basic and scripting within Access.

What do you think? Anyone, anyone?

thanking you in advance,

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
4:27 pm
Advice on graduate programs?
 Hi everyone,

I was hoping people here might be able to give me some guidance as to graduate programs, as I admit I'm a little at sea.
I graduated from Brown with a degree in linguistics and a few computer science classes. The applications of comp ling are really exciting to me, but I'm having trouble getting started on my search and have some questions:

1) What are considered to be good/respected programs? Is there a comprehensive listing somewhere? Are there programs with more of a focus on incorporating linguistic information (rather than purely statistically driven work)?

2) Will a Master's program make me employable (as much as linguists are employable!), or is this a field where you might as well not bother with grad school unless you go for a PhD?

3) I know most people come at this field from the computer science/math side rather than from the linguistics side. I'm reasonably confident in my programming abilities (or ability to learn) but I'm pretty rusty on my math. What areas would it be important for me to have a background in?

Thanks so much! I'd really appreciate any advice people can offer!
Sunday, August 9th, 2009
2:57 pm
What do you do, or what do you want to do?
mainly, professionally.

i am graduating this year in my B.A. in computer science and linguistics. i'm looking at UB grad school for their computational linguistics program; the location of the university is my primary motivation, i am a tuscarora native working on the tuscarora language program, and i plan to use the master's program there to help me learn things i can do for language revitalization in general, but especially indigenous languages. i want to work on software to help teachers teach what they teach, or remove some of the perhaps automatable, yet tedious tasks so they can focus more on what they want to do.

i know that there is probably not enough money for this, but i'm confident in my programming abilities to probably pick up a few contract jobs, maybe a couple of year and still work on what i really want to work on.

so, what do you want to do? are you comfortable with what you're making? that is, is doing what you're doing with comp. ling. worth it to you for whatever you earn? was it easy for you to get a job?

are you still a student, if so, where, what has been your experience with your professors, and areas of research?

most importantly, why were you originally drawn to computational linguistics?
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