Syntactic parsing (advanced level)

  • Course date: Spring 2022
  • Teachers:
    • Sara Stymne: course coordinator, examiner, lectures, seminars
    • Paloma García de Herreros García: Supervision


  • 22-03-01: Note that semianr 2 as well as the lab session on March 7 will be on Zoom only.
  • 22-02-16: The lecture from Monday Feb 14 has been moved to Feb 21, and the Feb 21 content has been moved to Feb. 23. Also note that we will keep the same seminar groups for seminar 2 as for seminar 1.
  • 22-02-07: There was an error in the schedule on this web page. All Monday sessions are at 13-15, not 10-12 as previously stated for some of them. This is now updated. The TimeEdit schedule has the correct times.
  • 22-01-27: There will be extra supervision on Feb 2, see schedule
  • 22-01-27: The web page now contains full information about all assignments, semianrs and the project.
  • 22-01-23: Note that the lecture on January 24 has been moved to Zoom
  • 22-01-04: First tentative version of the course web page.


The course gives an introduction to methods and algorithms used in automatic syntactic analysis and provides the skills that are required to apply and implement practical systems based on these methods. The course covers both phrase structure analysis and dependency analysis.

Examination 5LN713

The course is examined by three assignments, two literature seminars, and a project.
  1. Assignment 1: PCFG parsing Implement the CKY parsing algorithm and evaluate the parser using treebank data. Detailed description Deadline: 2022-02-11.
  2. Assignment 2: Literature review Summarize, analyze and critically review two scientific articles on syntactic parsing in a written report of 2 pages. Detailed description Deadline: 2022-03-04.
  3. Assignment 3: Dependency parsing algorithms Implement a transition-based parsing algorithm and evaluate the parser using treebank data. Detailed description Deadline: 2022-03-11.
  4. Literature seminar: Actively participate in two literature seminars. Detailed description
  5. Project Detailed description
    Deadline for defining a project: 2022-02-25.
    Deadline for handing in the project report: 2022-03-25.
    If you do the project in pairs, you also have an informal oral discussion with your teacher on 2022-03-23.

In order to pass the course, a student must actively attend the seminars, pass all assignments and the project with a passing grade. In order to pass the course with distinction (Väl godkänt), a student must pass either all three assignments with distinction or pass the project and at least one of the assignment with distinction. The seminars are not graded.


Each assignment has a deadline, see above. Each deadline is at the respective date at 23.59, and all submissions should be done through Studium. In case you fail to meet the deadline, you have the chance to re-submit the assignment for a second deadline, which for all assignments is 2022-04-01. For the project, the second deadline for the report is 2022-04-22.

Also, see Examination and continued studies for further details of the examination rules for the master program.

In case a student hands in an assignment/report that is close to passing, an additional chance of quick resubmission will be given two weeks after the student receives this feedback. For assignments 1 and 3, where a VG grade requires doing an additional task, we will grant a second opportunity to reach a VG grade for students that perform an extra task for the first deadline, and who are very close to a VG then. If this is the case for you, you will be notified when you get your feedback on the task. For the project and for the literature review, we will not regrade any reports once you ahve gotten a passing grade.

Assignments will only be graded in connection with each deadline. If you fail to meet these deadlines, you will have to retake the course the next time it is given, based on the course requirements of that course round. In case of special circumstances, please contact your teacher BEFORE the deadline it concerns.


There are two literature seminars during the course. In order to get a passing grade on the seminars you need to prepare for them, and be active during the seminar. Detailed description.

The seminars will be held in smaller groups, announced in the Detailed description.

The two seminars are obligatory. If you miss a seminar, or do not participate actively, you will have to do a complementary task. Contact Sara if this is the case. The deadline for such a report is 2022-03-25.


Daniel Jurafsky and James H. Martin. Speech and Language Processing: An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Speech Recognition. Third Edition, Pearson Education, 2019. Available online Chapters 12-15

Sandra Kübler, Ryan McDonald, and Joakim Nivre. Dependency Parsing. Morgan and Claypool, 2009. (Electronic edition)

Two research articles on parsing to be discussed during the literature seminars):

For some lectures, there are lecture notes by Joakim Nivre.
You can also look at the material for previus additions of the course or of related courses:

Additional reading is required. The following is a sample:


All lectures will be mainly held on Campus. However, there will also be a Zoom session (see Studium for the link), for those who are unable to join on Campus. Note that the classroom white board may be used, though, which might not be fully accessible by Zoom. In addition to the Campus lecture, there will be recorded lectures available through Studium. For each set of recordings there will also be a Campus session, where the main points will be summarized, and we will work on exercises.

The seminars and supervision sessions will be held on Campus.

  • Monday 2022-01-17 (13–15) Sara
    Reading: J&M 12.1–12.7.

  • Monday 2022-01-24 (13–15) Sara
    Note: moved to Zoom 16-2044
    Please watch recorded lectures first.
    The CKY algorithm
    Reading: J&M 13.1–13.3, 13.4.1, 14.1–14.2..

  • Wednesday 2022-01-26 (10–12) Paloma
    Chomsky, Turing
    Supervision, assignment 1

  • Monday 2022-01-31 (13–15) Sara
    Please watch recorded lecture first.
    Treebanks, parser evaluation and the Earley algorithm
    Reading: J&M 12.4, 13.4.2, 14.3, 14.7.

  • Wednesday 2022-02-02 (10–12) Sara and Paloma
    10-11: Short Zoom lecture: advanced PCFG
    11-12: Supervision for assignment 1 (Chomsky+Zoom)
    Note that Chmosky is available from 10, so you may sit there and lsiten to the Zoom lecture. Paloma will be there from 11

  • Monday 2022-02-07 (13–15) Paloma
    Chomsky, Turing
    Supervision, assignment 1

  • Wednesday 2022-02-09 (10-12: see times for each group) Sara
    Literature seminar 1
    Reading: Recurrent Neural Network Grammars

  • CANCELLED Monday 2022-02-14 (13–15) Sara
    Recorded lectures available, but you are not expected to watch them before this lecture.
    Arc-factored dependency parsing, Collins’ and Eisner’s algorithms
    Reading: KMN 1-2, (not 4.2.2).

  • Monday 2022-02-21 (13–15) Sara
    NOTE: the content originally planned for February 14 will be discussed here
    Please watch recorded lecture first.
    Arc-factored dependency parsing, Collins’ and Eisner’s algorithms
    Reading: KMN 1-2, (not 4.2.2).

  • Wednesday 2022-02-23 (10–12) Sara?
    NOTE: the content origianlly planned for February 21 will be discussed here
    Please watch recorded lecture first.
    Transition-based dependency parsing
    Reading: KMN 2.1.2, 3.1–3.3, 6.1

  • Monday 2022-02-28 (13–15) Paloma
    Chomsky, Turing
    Supervision, assignment 3

  • Wednesday 2022-03-02 (10-12: see times for each group) Sara
    Literature seminar 2
    Reading: Simple and Accurate Dependency Parsing Using Bidirectional LSTM Feature Representations

  • Monday 2022-03-07 (13–15) Paloma
    Zoom only
    Supervision, assignment 3

  • March Paloma, Sara
    Project supervision available on request. Contact your supervisor, Paloma or Sara!

  • Wednesday 2022-03-23 (13-15; sign up for a specific time slot) Sara
    Oral discussion of pair projects