Bringing Computational Construction Grammar into your Classes and Research

Tutorial run by Katrien Beuls and Paul Van Eecke
Evolutionary & Hybrid AI, Artificial Intelligence Lab, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Computational construction grammar (CCxG) is a branch of linguistics that aims to operationalise insights and analyses from construction grammar as computational processing models. Thinking of construction grammars as computer programs brings important theoretical and practical advantages. It does not only allow for an automatic validation of the preciseness and consistency of construction grammar models, and to run these models on text corpora, but also to make use of construction grammar insights to enhance the performance of language technology applications. There exist multiple software implementations of CCxG, each with their own goals and theoretical or practical motivations. In this tutorial, we will focus on Fluid Construction Grammar (FCG), which has established itself as a CCxG implementation that adheres most closely to the main ideas underlying constructionist approaches to language. Recently, FCG has undergone major innovations that make the system more user friendly, such as the introduction of a new notation that has made the formalism much more accessible. Moreover, the system is now stable and efficient, and can be installed in a single click. The main obstacle remaining was the lack of suitable educational materials, which kept learning FCG, let alone teaching it, a challenging adventure. A new textbook entitled Computational Construction Grammar: A Practical Introduction aims to fill this gap, and educate students and researchers alike.

This one-day tutorial will be led by the authors of this textbook, who will walk you through the basics of computational construction grammar, with a special focus on how the main ideas underlying construction grammar can be implemented using FCG. The tutorial will alternate between theory, hands-on exercises from the textbook and demonstrations of more advanced case studies. It targets in particular lecturers in construction grammar who wish to include CCxG into their courses, as well as scholars who would like to learn CCxG and use it in their research.

Program

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Practical Details

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About the Course Instructors

Katrien Beuls and Paul Van Eecke have been among the main developers of the Fluid Construction Grammar system for many years. They have authored scientific papers on many aspects of computational construction grammar and its applications, including how flexible construction application can be achieved, how constructions can freely combine, and how computational construction grammar can be used for enhancing the performance and explainability of language technology applications. Currently, they are in the process of writing an introductory textbook on computational construction grammar, to be published by Routledge in August 2020.

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