In this area of study, students will obtain multidisciplinary basic information of the field and its methods and specialise in one of its many application areas.
Language technology investigates, develops and applies methods for the processing of natural language. Human beings communicate and store information, experiences and knowledge by means of language, whether oral or written. At first glance, language may seem to be something simple and self-evident. The reality, however, is quite different. Though language is rule-bound, it can also be quite ambiguous. This becomes very apparent in language technology, where one attempts to teach and program computers to recognise and produce language. Describing natural languages (such as Finnish or English) for the purposes of parsing and recognition demands a firm command of the target language and of its structure. Language technology also includes quite demanding computational tasks. Language technology is an appropriate and motivating field of cooperative work for students interested in language as well as for technology- and humanities-oriented students.
In addition to applications, the student may specialise in language technology methods, research and development.
Minor studies for the language technology student
Advanced-stage major students are required to take the Java programming studies available for computer science minors. The share of computer science basic studies in these is 9 cr, so completing 25 cr of basic studies is recommended for language students who are continuing on to advanced studies or a Master's degree. Computer science studies may be incorporated into the language technology grade by separate agreement, e.g., Java programming may, if one desires, be included as elective intermediate studies of language technology.
Students who would specialise in both general linguistics and language technology may take general linguistics as a minor of language technology and vica versa, as long as courses with the same content are not included in both the study modules. Alternatively, many general linguistics courses may be subsumed in language technology studies. Elective studies in language technology should be taken in place of studies that have already been included in the degree studies.
KIT, a language-technology educational network between a number of departments and universities, offers courses suitable for inclusion in language-technology study modules. The most current information about the KIT network is on the website ( www.ling.helsinki.fi/kit/). To take a KIT course, students need a Flexible Study Rights Agreement (JOO) with the university that teaches the course.
Language technology as a minor subject
The student can take language technology as a minor subject provided that s/he has taken Introductory linguistics CYK110. The student can obtain the study right by sending the professor a signed free-form application and a copy of the study register.
The structure and goals of studies
A language technology major comprises basic (25 cr), intermediate (45 cr) and advanced studies (40 cr, plus 40 cr for the Master's thesis, totalling 80 cr). Advanced studies require the completion of intermediate or comparable studies. A language technology minor requires 35 cr of intermediate studies.
The exact composition of the basic and intermediate study modules can be individually arranged; in the case of advanced studies, individual arrangements are a necessity. A HOPS plan should be prepared at the beginning of studies and be updated as studies progress. Study units may often be completed by book examination or as independent studies. Plans for completing, combining and substituting studies should be arranged beforehand with the professor in charge of compiling the study module.
When the student has completed basic studies, s/he will have a basic knowledge of general linguistics and of the technical environment necessary for language technology applications, as well as an overview of the areas of application. When intermediate studies are completed, the student will understand the basic structure of the language, be able to edit and process linguistic materials, use essential language-technology methods, and design simple linguistic-technical computer modules with the aid of tools. When advanced studies have been completed, the student will also understand the operations of the methods and how they may be applied to more extensive tasks.