SYCCL stands for Summer Youth Camp for Computational Linguistics. It is a two week camp intended mainly for high school students interested in language and computation. As part of the camp, students receive a crash course in basic linguistics and programming, study a selection of topics from computational lingusitics, and work on a project with assistance from the camp instructors.

The curriculum changes somewhat every year, but always includes units devoted to most of the “core” areas of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics). In the 2023 camp, I was responsible (among other things) for the syntax unit, in which we explored both the computational and linguistic side of Context Free Grammars, often simply called Phrase Structure Grammars in linguistics.

In a later follow-up unit, students had to analyze data on the distribution of case markers in Japanese and come up with generalizations for the patterns.

In the last couple years, we have attempted to directly integrate the linguistics and programming units to create a more cohesive curriculum. For example, students wrote programs for verb inflection for the morphology unit, and played with a sentence generator during the syntax unit. Some of our students ended up creating more elaborate sentence generators for their final project, and one even implemented the CYK parsing algorithm.

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