Quantitative Linguistics

Instructor:Natalya Sukhova
Updated:3 February, 2016

Course Summary

This course covers a wide range of topics, which are a mixture of traditional linguistic subjects and cutting-edge technologies applied to studying them. The course gives a unique opportunity to investigate phonetics, grammar, semantics and lexis with quantitative methods; to put linguistic units into a wider perspective of modern science, combining linguistics with cognitive disciplines, artificial intelligence and technological computational advances. The course is designed as a comprehensive account of various developments and applications in Quantitative Linguistics. The classes combine theoretical part and laboratory computer work.

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  1. Quantitative Linguistics and its place in Linguistics. Aspects of Quantitative Linguistics. Quantitative Linguistics in different countries (4 hours):
    • descriptive statistics and statistical methods in Linguistics;
    • frequency distribution in different data sets;
    • measures of central tendency and methods of dispersion;
    • sampling and data;
    • hypothesis and testing;
    • significance;
    • parametric and non-parametric tests;
    • correlation;
    • clustering analysis;
    • analysis of variance;
    • ANOVA measurements;
  2. Phonetics (2 hours):
    • statistics in Phonology and Phonetics;
    • speech processing and speech synthesis;
  3. Semantics (3 hours):
    • statistics in Discourse;
    • repeated measures;
    • text coherence;
  4. Syntax (3 hours):
    • quantitative methods in syntax;
    • subordination and linearity;
  5. Psycholinguistics (3 hours):
    • quantitative methods in Psycholinguistics;
    • speech production and speech perception;
    • disambiguation;
  6. Sociolinguistics (3 hours):
    • quantitative methods in Sociolinguistics;
    • language variations;
  7. Historical Linguistics (2 hours):
    • quantitative methods in Historical Linguistics;
    • Glottochronology.

Reading List

Required reading:

  1. Jonson, K. (2011). Quantitative Methods in Linguistics. Blackwell Publishing.
  2. Computer Speech and Language. Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/08852308

Recommended reading:

  1. Ralph W. Fasold (Editor), Jeff Connor-Linton (Editor) (2014). An Introduction to Language and Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Richard Kern (2015). Language, Literacy and Technology. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Quantitative Linguistics. An International Handbook (2005). Ed. R. Köhler, G. Altmann, R. Piotrowski. Walter de Gruyter, New York, Berlin.
  4. Probabilistic Linguistics (2003). Ed. R. Bod, J. Hay, S. Jennedy. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., London, England.
  5. Gries, St. (2014). Corpus and Quantitative Methods. In John Taylor & Jeannette Littlemore (eds.). Companion to Cognitive Linguistics. London & New York: Bloomsbury.
  6. Komputernaya lingvistika i intellektualnye technologii (2013). 12 (19). Moscow: RGGU [Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies: papers from the Annual Conference “Dialogue”].
  7. Glynn, D. (2010). Corpus-Driven Cognitive Semantics. An Introduction to the Field. In Corpus-Driven Cognitive Semantics. Quantitative Approaches. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  8. Cognitive Linguistics: from Theory to Application and Back (2010). Ed. E. Tabakowska, M. Choiński, Ł. Wiraszka. Walter de Gruyter.
  9. Wildgen, W. (2008). The "Dynamic Turn" in Cognitive Linguistics. In Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English. Helsinki.
  10. Baayen, R.H. (2008). Analyzing Linguistic Data: a Practical Introduction to Statistics. CUP.
  11. Baranov, A.N. (2003) Vvedenie v prikladnuyu lingvistiku. Moscow: URSS [Baranov A.N. Introduction to Applied Linguistics].
  12. Language and Communication. Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/journal/14751585/21.
  13. Language Sciences. Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/journal/03880001.
  14. Speech Communication. Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/journal/01676393

Online resources:

  1. http://www.dialog21.ru
  2. http://ruscorpora.ru
  3. http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk
  4. http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~jason/465
  5. http://www.praat.org
  6. http://www.lextutor.ca

Homework Assignments

During the course, students will have to complete 7 written / laboratory tasks.


It is a pass/fail course. To get a pass, you should complete all the assignments.