11-823: Conlanging

Spring 2017: 11-823 (11-423/11-623): ConLanging: Learning about linguistics and language technologies through construction of artificial languages

Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00pm-4:20pm GHC 4101

Students will work individually to create artificial human(oid) languages for fictional human cultures or SciFi worlds. Students will implement at least one language technology for their languages. In the course of creating the languages, students will learn about the building blocks of human language such as phones, phonemes, morphemes, and morpho-syntactic constructions including their semantics and pragmatics.

Class instruction will focus specifically on variation among human languages so that the students can make conlangs that are not just naively English-like. We will also touch on philosophical issues in philosophy of language and on real-world socio-political issues related to language policy.

Students will be required to use at least one of the following technologies: language documentation tools that are used for field linguistics and corpus annotation, automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, morphological analysis, parsing, or machine translation.


11-823: Schedule: Spring 2017

DateTopicSlidesMini TalksAssignment due
Wed Jan 18 Course Overview pdf
Mon Jan 23 Lexicalization pdf
Wed Jan 25 Human Speech pdf Language Description
Mon Jan 30 "Sound" of Languages pdf
Wed Feb 1 Numbers and Time pdf Phones/syllable structure
Mon Feb 6 Building a Talking Clock pdf
Wed Feb 8 Morphology pdf Clock 1: words,prompts,gloss
Mon Feb 13 Morphology Reading: LCK 50-101, CL 48-80, ALCK 13-35
Wed Feb 15 Prosody Clock 2: words,prompts,gloss
Mon Feb 20 Nouns pdf
Wed Feb 22 Morpho-syntax pdf pdf 100 Noun Phrases
Wed Mar 1 FST Morphology pdf
Mon Mar 6 Metaphors and Speech Acts pdf pdf
Wed Mar 8 Orality pdf
Wed Mar 22 Prosody pdf
Mon Mar 27 Prosody/Emotion pdf
Wed Mar 29 Discourse/Dialog pdf
Mon Apr 3 Chat pdf
Wed Apr 5th Writing pdf
Mon Apr 10th Writing TBD
Wed Apr 12th TBD Chat bot homework due

Contact Lori Levin and Alan W Black for more details