Archive for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Simulating Language (LASC10018)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaLanguage Sciences Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe study of the origins and evolution of language and communication has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. Part of the reason for this has been the application of new techniques from computer modelling to test out different hypotheses about how language evolved.
This allows researchers to run experiments on populations of simulated individuals, essentially rerunning competing proposed scenarios for the evolution of language.

In this course, we will build and run experiments with very simple models that nevertheless cast light on a wide range of puzzles - from the origins of animal communication all the way to the emergence of patterns of regularity and irregularity in language structure. Each of these models will build on the previous ones and at each step we will relate the practical work we are doing with the existing literature on simulating language, as well as broader issues in the scientific understanding of the origins and ongoing evolution of language.

This course will be suitable for anyone interested in the dynamic processes underpinning language, including individual learning, cultural transmission, and biological evolution. It will involve a mix of practical lab work, lectures and discussions.

Experience of programming (using any language) would be an advantage, but is not a prerequisite.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: LEL2A: Linguistic Theory and the Structure of English (LASC08017) OR LEL2B: Phonetic Analysis and Empirical Methods (LASC08018)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information Teaching Contact Time: 9 weeks out of 11 at 3 hours/week = 27 hours

Mon 13/1 - lecture
Thu 16/1 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Fri 17/1 - lecture
Mon 20/1 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Thu 23/1 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Fri 24/1 - lecture
Mon 27/1 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Thu 30/1 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Fri 31/1 - lecture
Mon 3/2 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Thu 6/2 - lecture
Fri 7/2 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Mon 10/2 - lecture
Thu 13/2 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Fri 14/2 - lecture
Mon 24/2 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Thu 27/2 - lecture
Fri 28/2 - lecture
Mon 3/3 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Thu 6/3 - lecture
Fri 7/3 - lecture
Mon 10/3 - lecture
Mon 17/3 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Thu 20/3 - lecture
Fri 21/3 - lab (1.16 DSB)
Mon 24/3 - lecture
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 27, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 169 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- An ability to critically assess research papers that use modelling techniques;
- an understanding of those aspects of evolutionary linguistics in which modelling has played a part;
- an understanding of multi-agent simulation, and basic evolutionary computation and machine learning techniques;
- an ability to run and analyse computer simulation experiments in order to test hypotheses about the cultural and biological evolution of linguistic behaviour;
Assessment Information
The assessment will cover every lecture and every lab. The format will be two take-home assignments ( worth 50% each) with a combination of comprehension questions (short-answer) and mini practical tasks. The first will be given mid semester, allowing the students to receive feedback before tackling the second at the end of semester.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Teaching Contact Time: 9 weeks out of 11 at 3 hours/week = 27 hours
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Simon Kirby
Tel: (0131 6)50 3494
Course secretaryMs Francesca Anderson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3961
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 13 January 2014 4:29 am