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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Subject: Linguistics and Math or Linguistics and Programming
Question: I am wondering whether it would be more valuable to a student who
intends on studying Theoretical or Descriptive Linguistics to
complement their studies with courses in Mathematics and Statistics
or with courses in Programming and Computer Science, if they do not
plan on becoming a computational linguist, but rather want to
broaden their education to develop a stronger applicable skill set.

Reply: Either could work depending on your interests.

Programming is helpful for understanding syntax/semantics concepts and for
understanding different types of linguistic applications such as speech recognition,
speech synthesis, spell checkers and so forth. I've also found database theory
interesting for morphology.

FYI - I am including "math" topics such as logic, Boolean gates and set theory in this

Basic statistics is good for understanding how sociological data is analyzed and
Bayesian probability IS used in Natural Language Processing. Another topic for
analyzing social data is social network theory.

AND...you could think about acoustics and biology, especially for phonetics.

You don't want to kill yourself, but I have found it all very useful at one point or
another. Then again, I have found anthropology and ancient history useful for
linguistics too...

So focus on what interests and the rest will come.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
Date: 24-Jul-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Linguistics and Math or Linguistics and Programming    John M. Lawler     (24-Jul-2013)

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