Computing Meaning: What’s Semantics Got To Do With It? – Emily Bender (University of Washington)
Recent years have seen an surge of work in natural language understanding which aspires to extract meaning from text or speech inputs for a variety of applications. In this talk, I will address what is meant by “meaning” in that context and the relationship between “meaning” and (linguistic) “semantics”. This will lead to a discussion of the role of morphology and syntax in meaning-targeting NLP and how NLU systems can be made more cross-linguistically portable through a typologically and linguistically aware approach.
Emily M. Bender is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Adjunct Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where she has been on the faculty since 2003. She earned her PhD (in Linguistics) at Stanford University in 2001. Her primary research interests lie in multi-lingual grammar engineering, including the design of semantic representations, and its applications including to language documentation and typological research. Bender is the lead developer of the Grammar Matrix, a starter-kit for creating precision grammars compatible with DELPH-IN processing tools, and the author of _Linguistic Fundamentals for Natural Language Processing: 100 Essentials from Morphology and Syntax_ (Morgan & Claypool, 2013).