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The UKLO: a perspective from HE Jeanine Treffers-Daller (Reading)

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1 The UKLO: a perspective from HE Jeanine Treffers-Daller (Reading)

2 Topics covered in UKLO Syntactic/Morphological analysis in wide range of languages Vowel harmony (Turkish) Deciphering words in other scripts (Armenian, braille) Kinship terms in Basque Number words in different languages Polarity of adjectives (“Are you strungy and struffy?”) Misunderstandings of computers (anaphora resolution) Reading barcodes (EAN13)

3 The challenge Links with University’s aims, policies Links with Linguistics/English Language programmes How can universities / Linguistics staff support the UKLO?

4 Issues for HE The HE context – Funding situation, league tables, KPIs, NSS, REF2014 – Linguistics moved to English (literature) departments Need to motivate why Linguistics is of value to solving real life issues Overcoming boundaries between disciplines Links between Linguistics, Science, Engineering, Maths and Psychology

5 Issues for HE How do we attract good students? Early discovery of great talent for linguistics Gifted and talented Furthering of links between schools + university

6 Issues for HE: gender balance? Gender balance in Linguistics/Languages Males (%)Females (%) Manchester Linguistics* 2971 UWE Bristol Linguistics* 2476 UKLO 2010**5842 UKLO 2011**4654 *data from Unistats; **data Dick Hudson

7 Links with wider university policies Diversity and environment Multiculturalism – plurality - Superdiversity Tolerant and open society Responsibility towards the environment Link with local communities (incl. those who speak other languages)

8 What can UKLO offer? Raising awareness of real life problems Point to disciplines + careers where problems are addressed Training students in analytical thinking about solving problems. …. but in a playful, fun way! ☺ “Challenges of the crossword puzzle and sudoku rolled into one” (Trousdale, 2011)

9 Raising awareness of real life problems Awareness of linguistic diversity How do we keep the planet diverse? – Endangered languages project: language documentation – Language revitalisation – Language footprint “Because every last word means another lost world” (motto of the Hans Rausing endangered languages project)

10 Contributing to solving real life problems Developing language learning programmes such as The Rosetta Stone Accessibity of language learning for all Arabic Chinese (Mandarin) Chinese (Mandarin) Danish Dari Dutch English (American) English (British) Filipino (Tagalog) French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latin Pashto Persian (Farsi) Polish Portuguese (Brazil) Russian Spanish (Latin America) Spanish (Latin America) Spanish (Spain) Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Urdu Vietnamese Welsh

11 Contributing to solving real life problems Interface between computers and humans – Natural language processing – Voice recognition – Automatic translation (pattern recognition) – automatic recognition of entailment; reference resolution procedures; anaphora resolution; formalisms for linguistic context, ellipsis, and coordination in dialogue that interface with implemented approaches to conversational reasoning; parsing models that quantify syntactic and semantic relations; machine- readable resources including lexicons, thesauri and ontologies; annotation schemas for syntactic, semantic and pragmatic phenomena in diverse languages and genres; etc. Source: Linguistic Issues in Language Technology

12 Robot Interaction Language – ROILA, Omar Mubin Humans are from Venus, Machines are from Mars Computer Esperanto – 16 phonemes, 803 words Bama wopa tiwil “you are a good person” Source: einde-aan-akoestische-verwarring.pdf

13 Benefits for students Finding patterns in data, problem solving “The thought processes are much like what you would encounter in solving mathematical problems — in the sense that math is the study of patterns, not just the study of numbers.” (Eric Breck, computer science PhD candidate, Cornell University). Having fun with language – code breaking - puzzles Developing analytical skills in young students (from age 7) Developing knowledge about language

14 Preparing for university Study skills Problem-based learning (An innovative type of learning designed to help students develop their thought processes (and, indeed, their practices).) (University of Manchester) Understanding of academic language Personal development plan

15 Characteristics of Critical Thinkers They are honest with themselves They resist manipulation They overcome confusion They ask questions They base judgments on evidence They look for connections between subjects They are intellectually independent Source: Manchester University.

16 Assimilating difficult material Get an overview of how the material is organized Choose a moderate amount of material — perhaps just a chapter — to begin with. Read first for what you do understand, and to determine difficulty. Make a note of what you do not understand, and review it later. Read to the end! Do not get discouraged and stop reading. Ideas can become clearer the more you read. When you finish reading, review to see what you have learned, and reread those ideas that are not clear. Source:

17 Study skills If you have a question to answer, note it down and keep asking yourself how it relates to the piece. If the text contains several specific themes use a key and write in the margin, e.g. p for politics or g for gender. Try to write a few points in your own words about what you do understand. Source:

18 Developing learners Understanding that systems operate at different levels Understanding basic logical relationships that are the basis for the complex systems Respect for alternative systems Source: Hudson, 2003

19 Key skills (Hudson, 2003) application of some given system of categories - most obviously doing phonetic, phonemic, morphological or syntactic analysis in terms of a given vocabulary of categories such as the IPA, phonemes, morphemes (etc) or some grammatical framework; understanding of 'how language works' at various levels of generality, from some small corner (e.g. the inflectional system of English verbs) to the whole picture self-reflection on how we learn, store and use language, how our thinking may be influenced by our language. Source:

20 In the words of the patron “I think that everyone should try to do things that are very difficult for them, whether in sport or in thinking, and that what matters is how hard they try, rather than whether they overcome those particular challenges.” Olympic gold medalist and Linguistics graduate Christine Ohuruogo

21 Summary: why bother? Training in thinking logically “Where maths meets languages” Boys into language, girls into science Formal analysis – thinking about rule-based generalisations Attention to small details Generating enthusiasm for the discipline Discovering language typology Respect for diversity

22 What can HE offer to the UKLO? Academic support – Recognition of importance of UKLO – Institutional back-up – Formulating problems – Marking questions Practical support – Hosting residential round 2 – Financial support for travel to International Linguistics Olympiad

23 Gura mie eu! Thanks!


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