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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: A general feature space for automatic verb classification
Author: Eric Joanis
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Suzanne Stevenson
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: David James
Institution: University of Toronto
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics; Semantics
Abstract: Lexical semantic classes of verbs play an important role in structuring complex predicate information in a lexicon, thereby avoiding redundancy and enabling generalizations across semantically similar verbs with respect to their usage. Such classes, however, require many person-years of expert effort to create manually, and methods are needed for automatically assigning verbs to appropriate classes. In this work, we develop and evaluate a feature space to support the automatic assignment of verbs into a well-known lexical semantic classification that is frequently used in natural language processing. The feature space is general – applicable to any class distinctions within the target classification; broad – tapping into a variety of semantic features of the classes; and inexpensive – requiring no more than a POS tagger and chunker. We perform experiments using support vector machines (SVMs) with the proposed feature space, demonstrating a reduction in error rate ranging from 48% to 88% over a chance baseline accuracy, across classification tasks of varying difficulty. In particular, we attain performance comparable to or better than that of feature sets manually selected for the particular tasks. Our results show that the approach is generally applicable, and reduces the need for resource-intensive linguistic analysis for each new classification task. We also perform a wide range of experiments to determine the most informative features in the feature space, finding that simple, easily extractable features suffice for good verb classification performance.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Natural Language Engineering Vol. 14, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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