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Alice Louise Davison
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa

Alice Davison is a faculty member (emerita) in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Iowa. She received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Chicago, and a BA in French and Latin from Bryn Mawr College. She has taught at the University of Iowa since 1989; before that, she spent a year at Cornell University with an NSF Visiting Professorship. She has also taught at Stony Brook University, University of Illinois CU, and University of Wisconsin.

Her research and teaching interests in linguistics include syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Her first publications were on speech acts and pragmatics, and more recently on the syntactic structures of Hindi-Urdu (HU) and other South Asian languages from the perspective of Chomskyan universal grammar. Related to this topic are issues about how natural languages are similar at an abstract level, but differ in concrete expression. Hindi-Urdu is related as an Indo-European language, but differs from English in many ways. Features of HU include dative and ergative case on subjects, sentence-final verbs, correlative relative clauses and complex agreement rules. She has taught courses on language typology and universal statements about human languages. For example, the position of the verb tends to determine other features of a sentence in a given language. She has been interested in learning about other formal or statistical approaches to natural languages, such as machine translation and tree banks for sentence structure parsing. She also wrote extensively about the misleading measures of text complexity underlying readability formulas.

Her interest in computational linguistics started in graduate school with a course on mathematical linguistics. Since then, she has read books and articles about parsing and applications of computing to the characterization of natural languages. She has served on dissertation committees in the University of Iowa Department of Computer Sciences. She is most interested in the differences in perspective on natural language in linguistics and computer science, the main focus of the books she has reviewed for Computing Reviews.


Creativity and universality in language
Esposti M., Altmann E., Pachet F.,  Springer International Publishing, New York, NY, 2016. 208 pp. Type: Book (978-3-319244-01-3)

This volume originates in a 2014 conference held in Paris and includes 12 contributions by authors who for the most part are based in departments of mathematics, physics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics. T...


Multiword expressions acquisition: a generic and open framework
Ramisch C.,  Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, New York, NY, 2014. 230 pp. Type: Book (978-3-319092-06-5)

The topic of this very well-organized and well-documented book is an important feature of natural language, multiword expressions (MWEs), which pose as yet unsolved problems for computer applications to language corpus data: “still an open p...


Linguistic fundamentals for natural language processing: 100 essentials from morphology and syntax
Bender E.,  Morgan&Claypool Publishers, San Rafael, CA, 2013. 184 pp. Type: Book (978-1-627050-11-1)

Natural languages present a variety of challenges for parsing and information extraction, and for finding the crucial dependency relations that express the meaning of a sentence. Ideally, a parser should be able to adapt to a variety of different ...


Syntax-based collocation extraction
Seretan V.,  Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., New York, NY, 2010. 212 pp. Type: Book (978-9-400701-33-5)

This relatively short book is very interesting for the justification it makes for syntactic parsing in the extraction of word types from texts. It gives a very clear and painstakingly documented account of two experiments in extracting collocation...


Accuracy evaluation of sentences translated to intermediate language in back translation
Miyabe M., Yoshino T.  IUCS 2009 (Proceedings of the 3rd International Universal Communication Symposium, Tokyo, Japan,  Dec 3-4, 2009) 30-35, 2009. Type: Proceedings

As the use of machine translation for communication across languages increases, there is concern whether the meaning of a sentence is preserved in the translation.
To test the accuracy of the translation, translate the intermediate--or...


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