ACL The Association for Computational Linguistics

What is Computational Linguistics?

Simply put, computational linguistics is the scientific study of language from a computational perspective. Computational linguists are interested in providing computational models of various kinds of linguistic phenomena. These models may be "knowledge-based" ("hand-crafted") or "data-driven" ("statistical" or "empirical"). Work in computational linguistics is in some cases motivated from a scientific perspective in that one is trying to provide a computational explanation for a particular linguistic or psycholinguistic phenomenon; and in other cases the motivation may be more purely technological in that one wants to provide a working component of a speech or natural language system. Indeed, the work of computational linguists is incorporated into many working systems today, including speech recognition systems, text-to-speech synthesizers, automated voice response systems, web search engines, text editors, language instruction materials, to name just a few.

Two recent books that give an excellent overview of what computational linguistics is about are listed below, along with links to the first chapters of each of the books. This material is provided on the understanding that it is for personal use only. Use of this material downloaded from this website in a course is specifically prohibited.

Maintained Richard Sproat the archivist at A C L web dot org .
Last updated February 2005.

Copyright © 2000--2005, The Association for Computational Linguistics