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Semester 1

Computer Programming for Speech and Language Processing (LASC10079)


Language Sciences and Linguistics





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Visiting student must have completed at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. This course cannot be taken alongside LEL2B (LASC08018), Informatics 1 Functional Programming (INFR08013) or Informatics 1 Object-Oriented Programming (INFR08014). **The Language Sciences courses offered at the University of Edinburgh are extremely intensive and visiting students have struggled with these courses in previous years. Students are expected to have a strong background in Linguistics as an academic discipline; courses that are part of a Modern Foreign Languages degree may not provide students with an adequate background**

Course Summary

This course introduces the concept of computer programming and the python programming language. It focuses on how to think about solving problems in ways that can be addressed algorithmically, with with examples relevant to processing human speech and language.

Course Description

This course covers basic high-level concepts of computer programming in general and practical training for writing code in the Python language in particular. The goal is for students to learn to think in terms of computational approaches for solving problems, and then to implement those approaches by writing Python code. We begin with the basics of computation (e.g. what is a computer? what can it do? how can a question be framed in computational terms?), and then move on to studying the tools that Python offers us as programmers for most of the semester (e.g. data structures, flow control, file input and output, object oriented design, regular expressions and other useful modules, etc). Examples and test problems are frequently taken from the context of speech and language processing, and we focus specifically on processing text and speech audio using Python for a week respectively. The course does not assume prior experience with Python or any other programming language, so is suitable for beginners in that regard. Note, however, it aims to teach students enough Python to write varied and useful programmes by the end, so the pace must be fast to cover all the required topics. It can be challenging for a beginner to build up the necessary knowledge and skill in the space of a single semester. Sustained commitment to several hours of study and practice each and every week is therefore essential.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 50%, Coursework 50%, Practical Exam 0%

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All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

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