What is Computational Linguistics 1

What is computational linguistics?

Computational linguistics is one of the main areas of application at the interface between humans and computers

Computational linguistics is a rather young discipline that is very closely linked to developments in information technology: flexible search engines, automated dialogue systems, office machines and tools that can be operated by voice, e-learning teaching material ... The development and improvement of this application depends to a great extent Degree from the successful integration of linguistic or linguistic data structures. And this is exactly where the main interest of computational linguistics lies, namely to model linguistic data structures in such a way that human language (s) can be processed and understood by computers.

Few things have such a strong impact on our everyday lives as language and communication.

Language is the most important means of communication and interaction between people. Although language is extremely complex and some linguistic phenomena are extremely difficult to explain, it is acquired in an extremely short period of time and is closely related to thinking. In this way, human language has become one of the most amazing inventions in cultural development. This is also reflected in the extraordinary wealth of languages, dialects and special languages ​​(e.g. sign languages) that have emerged over the past millennia.

The computer and modern communication.

Looking back on the cultural development of the 20th century, the computer can be seen as one of the decisive inventions that had a lasting and ultimately not foreseeable influence on our professional and leisure life. While computers were initially viewed as calculating machines, interest soon turned to data that went beyond the pure numerical range: human language in written and spoken form. And since language is an extremely efficient means of communication, it is also seen as crucial for the further development of computers and modern means of communication: on the one hand for the transfer of a language into another language, form or medium, on the other hand as a means of interaction between humans and machines .

What is the greatest challenge in computational linguistics?

To communicate, people use so-called "natural languages", an extremely complex system of sounds and signs that is subject to constant change and is sufficiently robust to be used in an extremely large number of trouble-prone situations. Computers, on the other hand, are limited to so-called "formal languages", which are prone to ambiguity, change and spontaneity. The most important task of computational linguistics is therefore to provide adequate formal models that capture these special and contradicting properties of natural languages ​​within the formal limitations of computer languages.

Computational linguistics is more than a combination of two disciplines

At first glance, computational linguistics often appears to be a connection between the disciplines of linguistics and computer science; however, the range of sciences that are relevant to computational linguistics is far more diverse. There are close connections to cognitive psychology, mathematics, individual philologies and, ultimately, philosophy. The material that students of computational linguistics can deal with ranges from the earliest reflections on human language (e.g. the first Sanskrit grammars) to the latest developments in information technology (e.g. the Simputer).

"Foreign feathers": Computational linguistics defined by the "Association of Computational Linguistics - ACL":

"Put simply, computational linguistics is the scientific study of language from the perspective of the computer. Computational linguistics is therefore interested in modeling a wide variety of linguistic phenomena in such a way that they can be processed by computers. These models can be knowledge-based and entered by hand or data-oriented , ie statistical or empirical in nature. In some cases, work in computational linguistics is motivated from a scientific perspective, in such a way that an attempt is made to give a formal arithmetic explanation for a particular linguistic or psycholinguistic phenomenon. In other cases, motivation of a purely technological nature, in that a component is created for a speech-based system.In fact, the work of computational linguists can be found in many tried and tested systems, including speech recognizers, modules for speech synthesis, automated dialogue systems, search engines, text editing gates, language teaching materials, etc. " (Translation from the "What is CL?" - website of the "Association for Computational Linguistics" - ACL)