Mentor: Dr. Jamie Reilly
College of Public Health and Health Professions
"Initially I joined a research lab because I wanted to get involved in Aphasia research, something I learned about in a Linguistics class, but I quickly learned the open nature of academic linguistics. As time went on I realized the importance for all students to start research. Universities are exciting places because of both the instruction and the innovation. To not take advantage of both of these resources seemed wasteful to me."
- Natural Language Processing
- Computational Linguistics
Hobbies and Interests
Modified Index of Syntactic Complexity (MISC): A Proposed Algorithm for Syntactic Complexity
Many studies in language learning and other related subjects rely on an evaluation of syntactic complexity. The effect of syntactic complexity on language production and understanding is certain, but few exact methods of measurement have been delivered. This study is inspired by the work of Benedikt Szmrecsanyi's "On Operationalizing Syntactic Complexity", in which he offers a proposed algorithm for syntactic complexity of a sentence based on certain quantifiable factors. I will use concepts from computer science to modify Szmrecsanyi's proposal to more exactly measure syntactic complexity of a linguistic unit. Through basic principles of computational complexity, I will attempt to further Szmrecsanyi's research by analyzing syntactic complexity as a computational function and a sentence as a tree data structure. With this assumption, I will analyze given sentences by running certain tree algorithms on constituency trees and comparing execution times. Combining the results of these tests with Szmrecsanyi's formula, I hope to create an easily automated, accurate measure of syntactic complexity.