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Charla invitada: Towards a map of languages similarity

El próximo jueves 9 de mayo, de 15 a 17, en el marco de la asignatura de Aplicaciones de la Lingüística Computacional, en el aula 0S02 del DSIC, Liviu P. Dinu, Profesor catedrático de la Universidad de University of Bucharest, dará un seminario titulado "Towards a map of languages similarity".

Abstract: Language relatedness and language change across space and time are two of the main questions of the historical and comparative linguistics. Many comparative methods have been used to establish relationships between languages, to determine language families and to reconstruct their proto-languages. If grouping of languages in linguistic families is generally accepted, the relationships between languages belonging to the same family are periodically investigated. In spite of the fact that linguistic literature abounds in claims of classification of natural languages, the degrees of similarity between languages are far from being certain. In many situations, the (degree of) similarity of natural languages is a fairly vague notion, both linguists and non-linguists having intuitions about which languages are more similar to which others. The computational historical linguistics did not receive much attention until the beginning of the 1990s. We address here the problem of language similarity from a quantitative perspective. We propose a methodology for computing degrees of similarity between languages. We begin with the phonetically level, and continue with lexical and syntactic level. We apply our method on various corpora, and compare our results, in terms of similarity, with the generally accepted language phylogenies. Our study provides evidence to be used in the investigation of the written intelligibility, i.e., the ability of people writing in different languages to understand one another without prior
knowledge of foreign languages.

Short bio: Liviu P. Dinu (http://nlp.unibuc.ro/people/liviu.html) is Full Professor at University of Bucharest, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Computer Science Department, and director of Human Language Technologies Research Center (nlp.unibuc.ro).  He is honorary president of Romanian Linguistics Olympics „Solomon Marcus”. His main research is in Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing, with a particular focus on languages similarity, computational approaches of historical linguistics, authorship identification and computational stylometry, topic analysis and text categorization, corpus analyses, etc.  Solomon Marcus was his PhD supervisor (obtained in 2003), and in 2014 he defended his habilitation thesis  entitled "Similarity and Decision Problems in Computational Linguistics".  In 2007 he received "Grigore C. Moisil" Prize, awarded by the Romanian Academy (for 2005), and in 2005 "In Hoc Signo Vinces Prize" (Magna Cum Laude), for research and publications awarded by the National Research Council for Higher Education (Romania). He published 2 books, 4 chapters in books, and 119 peer reviewed scientific papers. He has initiated and managed a number of 9 national and international R&D  projects and was involved in other 10 R&D projects.

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