Mathematical Linguistics

Linguistics 570

Instructor Mark Gawron
Syllabus Click here.

This course serves as an introduction to various mathematical tools used by linguists in analyzing language and in constructing a formal description of a language. The course covers tools that have been used for both natural and artifical languages. The course assumes no mathematical background and so begins by surveying two mathematical areas


The course will cover several chapters in the Partee, Ter Meulen, and Wall textbook Mathematical Methods in Linguistics, There will be exercises for most of the chapters covered.


The course begins with an introduction to set theory and continues with some elementary formal language theory, including finite-state machines as models of simple languages. We will cover some of the elements of propositional logic focusing on the ideas of provability and validity. We will then turn to lattices, simple mathematical systems based on the notion of a partial ordering of a set of objects. We will explore applications of lattices in linguistics, particularly in relation to linguistic features. The course is open to linguistics majors as well to students from other majors such as computer science who want grounding in or supplementary understanding of some basic areas of discrete mathematics.

Pre-requisites None.

Grading Grading will be based on exercises and take-home midterms and finals.

Web-site: http://www.rohan.sdsu/~gawron/mathling
Time & Place: MW 1600-17:15 EBA 254
Telephone: 619-594-0252
Office Hours: MW 10:00-12:15
Department: Linguistics and Oriental Languages
Office: BA 321