Course Description

This course covers algorithms for associating deep or elaborated linguistic structures with naturally occurring data, covering parsing, semantics, and discourse.

Days Time Location
Monday and Wednesday 1:00 - 2:20 PM Loew 206

Note: while lectures will be delivered live at the above time and location, they will also be recorded and posted to the course Canvas page.

Teaching Staff

Role Name Office Office Hours
Instructor Shane Steinert-Threlkeld GUG 418D
M 2:30-3:30PM Pacific
W 2:30-3:30PM Pacific
Teaching Assistant Haotian Zhu T 12:00-1:00PM Pacific
F 3:00-4:00PM Pacific
In person (location TBA)


The course textbook is Speech and Language Processing: An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Speech Recognition, 2nd edition, by Daniel Jurafsky and James Martin.

A draft copy of the book is available here.

N.B.: The authors have a nearly-complete draft of the 3rd edition available online. Essentially every chapter that we use in this course has a corresponding version in that edition. The chapters referenced below are from the 2nd edition, but you can find the corresponding chapter in the 3rd edition either by using the website for the 3rd or by looking at the detailed table of contents on the Amazon page for the 2nd edition or here.


  • CSE 373 (Data Structures) or Equivalent
  • MATH/STAT 394 (Intro to Probability) or Equivalent
  • Formal grammars, languages, and automata
  • Programming in one or more of Java, Python, C/C++, or Perl
  • Linux/Unix Commands

Course Resources

N.B.: All homework grading will take place on the patas cluster using Condor, so your code must run there. I strongly encourage you to ensure you have an account set up by the time of the first course meeting.


Unless explicitly mentioned below, the shared policies of the LING 57x course series apply to this course. Please read those policies for more information.

This quarter is unprecedented, as we navigate an ever-changing world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself struggling with a difficult concept; stressed over politics or health; slowed by monopolistic internet providers; or annoyed at a classmate, please remember that they might feel similar. Maybe not in your very moment, but certainly recently or soon. Some of you may find the return to hybrid teaching conducive to your style of learning and personality. Others may find it stressful or difficult. These are all normal reactions. Please have compassion and empathy, and assume that everyone is doing their best.

If you find yourself having trouble learning in class, please do not hesitate to let me or Haotian Zhu know. Our goal is to make this class a bright spot in these unprecedented times, and to do whatever we can to promote a healthy learning environment for all.

A note on time zones

All deadlines and meeting times for this class are in "Pacific Time". Note that we will be moving the clocks back one hour on Sunday November 1. For the first part of this quarter, "Pacific Time" is UTC-7. After November 1, "Pacific Time" will be UTC-8. If you are in a part of the world that doesn't change the clocks twice a year or if your change is at a different time, please be aware that the time of day for classes & deadlines in your timezone will change on Nov 1.


  • 100%: Homework Assignments
  • Up to 2% adjustment for significant in-class or discussion participation
  • N.B.: Your lowest homework score will be dropped when calculating final grades.


As per the policy above, all communication outside of the classroom should take place on Canvas. You can expect responses from teaching staff within 48 hours, but only during normal business hours, and excluding weekends.

N.B.: while CLMS students have a private Slack channel, I strongly encourage questions concerning course content and assignments to be posted to the Canvas discussion board, for two reasons. (i) Teaching staff will not look at Slack, so misinformation can spread. (ii) Not every student in the course is in the CLMS program, but they deserve to be included in course discussions and likely have many of the same questions.

Religious Accommodation

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.


Call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime – no matter where you work or study – to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others. SafeCampus’s team of caring professionals will provide individualized support, while discussing short- and long-term solutions and connecting you with additional resources when requested.


Date Topics + Slides Jurafsky & Martin Additional Readings Assignment out
Sept 29 Introduction; Syntax Chapter 1, 12 Patas and Condor HW1 [slides]
Due Oct 6
Oct 4 CFGs and Parsing Chapter 12, 13.1-13.3  
Oct 6 CKY; CNF Chapter 13.4.1   HW2 [slides]
Due Oct 13 Oct 20
Oct 11 Parsing: CKY Chapter 13.4.1; 14.1    
Oct 13 PCFGs: Algorithms and Evaluation
Earley parsing
Chapter 14.1-14.3; 14.7
Chapter 13.4.2
  HW3 [slides]
Due Oct 20 Oct 27
Oct 18 PCFGs: issues and improvement Chapter 14.4 - 14.6    
Oct 20 Dependency Parsing Chapter 12.7
SLP 3: Chapter 15
de Marneffe et al, 2006
McDonald et al, 2005
Oct 25 Dependency Parsing (cont'd) + Features Chapter 15-15.4
SLP 3: Chapter 15
Oct 27 Semantics Intro Chapter 17   HW4 [slides, notes]
Due Nov 3
Nov 1 Semantics (cont'd) Chapter 15.5-15.7; 17, 18    
Nov 3 More Lambda Calculus
Lexical Semantics
Chapter 18.2 Blackburn & Bos, 1999, 2.3–2.4 HW5 [slides]
Due Nov 10
Nov 8 Distributional semantics, I Chapter 19.1-19.3, 20.1-20.4, 20.7, 20.10   Animacy practice solution
Nov 10 Distributional semantics, II Chapter 20 The Illustrated word2vec HW6 [slides]
Due Nov 17
Nov 15 Thesaurus similarity for WSD Chapter 19.4, 20.6, 20.9, 20.10 Resnik WSD, esp. Sec 5.1
Nov 17 Semantic Role Labeling Chapter 19.4, 20.4; 21.0 Jurafsky & Gildea, 2002, pp. 1-19. HW7 [slides]
Due Nov 24
Nov 22 Discourse: Reference Chapter 21.4-21.8
Nov 24 No Class
Nov 29 Discourse: Structure Chapter 21.1-21.3
Dec 1 Discourse: Reference Chapter 21; SLP3 ch 22 HW8 [slides]
Due Dec 8
Dec 6 Wrap-up (I): case study + current papers      
Dec 8 Wrap-up (II): semi-supervised learning + summary     HW9 [slides]
Due Dec 15