SIS code: 
2/0 Zk

Introduction to formal linguistics

  • SIS code: NPFL006, link to SIS
  • Fall term 2020/2021:  ***Thursday 10:40-12:10 via Zoom - please contact me at sevcikova et to get details for joining the online lectures***
  • Lecturer: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D.
  • 2/0 (exam)
  • Moodle:
    • please enroll in the course (using the link & SIS login and password) to see a detailed schedule, slides, and course completion requirements

Lecture topics:

  • Introduction
    • Intro: description and objectives of the course, lecture topics, course completion requirement
    • Focus on syntax, basic terms: dependency vs. constituency


  • Lecture 1: Structuralist roots of the European linguistics
    • Linguistic sign: form & meaning, signs vs. non-signs, semiotic triangle, icons, indices & symbols
    • Language system: syntagmatic & associative relations, paradigms in language
    • Formalizing the form-meaning correlation: form and meaning as symbolic representations; inserting intermediate representations; multi-leveled approaches of individual frameworks


  • Lecture 2: Functional Generative Description: multi-layered approach to language description
    • Multi-level approach to language: levels distinguished, adjacent levels in the form-meaning relation
    • Valency: arguments vs. adjuncts, valency frame
    • Dependency tree: surface- and deep-syntactic trees, non-dependency relations


  • Lecture 3: Functional Generative Description: capturing the sentence meaning at the deep-syntactic level
    • Node labels: lexical values (tectogrammatical lemmas), semantic role labels (functors), morphological meanings (grammatemes)
    • Coreference: grammatical correference, textual coreference
    • Topic-focus articulation


  • Lecture 4: Dependency treebanks related to Functional Generative Description, multi-lingual resources
    • annotation scenarios of Prague dependency treebanks
    • dependency treebanks for other languages
    • from dependency treebanks for individual languages to HamleDT and Universal Dependencies


  • Lecture 5: Meaning-Text Theory
    • layers of the language system
    • dependency approach
    • lexical functions
    • treebanks related to Meaning-Text Theory


  • Lecture 6: Language description in the generative perspective
    • competence vs performance, language faculty
    • application of formal grammar to natural languages, generation of sentences, transformations
    • Transformational Generative Grammar by Noam Chomsky: from Syntactic Structures to Lexicalist Hypothesis and the X-bar Theory
  • Lecture 7: Transformational Generative Grammar: Government & Binding, Minimalism
    • Theta theory, government, control
    • core info on minimalism


  • Lecture 8: Charles Fillmore's approaches
    • Case Grammar
    • Frame Semantics
    • FrameNet database


  • Lecture 9: Constituency-based treebanks and deep-syntactic annotation
    • Penn Treebank, constituency treebanks for other languages
    • PropBank and deep syntax on top of constituencies


  • Lecture 10: Construction grammar
    • Construction as a form-meaning pairing
    • Types of constructions
    • Constructions as means for a comprehensive description of language