Syntactic parsing (advanced level)

  • Course date: Spring 2023
  • Teachers:
    • Sara Stymne: course coordinator, examiner, lectures, seminars, supervision


  • 23-03-21: Note that we will change the rooms of the final seminar from 16-2044, to Turing (where we will all meet), Chmosky and 9-2029.
  • 23-02-22: Note: the second seminar will be on March 1. There had been inconsistent information prior to now.
  • 23-02-02: Information about the project is now available.
  • 23-01-31: Note that there has been some changes to the schedule, Feb 1 is canceled, February 6 is both a lecture and a lab, and February 8 there is a new lab session
  • 22-12-30: 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: 2023-02-13.
  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: 2023-03-06.
  3. Assignment 3: Dependency parsing algorithms Implement a transition-based parsing algorithm and evaluate the parser using treebank data. Detailed description Deadline: 2023-03-13.
  4. Literature seminar: Actively participate in two literature seminars. Detailed description
  5. Project Detailed description
    Deadline for defining a project: 2023-02-27.
    Seminar discussion of the projects: 2023-03-22
    Deadline for handing in the project report: 2023-03-24.
    If you do the project in pairs, you may also be asked to have an informal oral discussion with your teacher.

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 2023-04-03. For the project and seminar reports (for those missing a semianr), the second deadline for the report is 2023-04-17.

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 have 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.

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 2023-03-24.


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 of the course themes, there are lecture notes by Joakim Nivre, available in Studium.
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 Campus lectures, 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.