Computational linguistics (CL) is a discipline between linguistics and computer science which is concerned with the computational aspects of the human language faculty. It belongs to the cognitive sciences and overlaps with the field of artificial intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science aiming at computational models of human cognition. Computational linguistics has applied and theoretical components.
Theoretical CL takes up issues in theoretical linguistics and cognitive science. It deals with formal theories about the linguistic knowledge that a human needs for generating and understanding language. Today these theories have reached a degree of ...view middle of the document...
Today's computers do not understand our language but computer languages are difficult to learn and do not correspond to the structure of human thought. Even if the language the machine understands and its domain of discourse are very restricted, the use of human language can increase the acceptance of software and the productivity of its users.
Natural language interfaces enable the user to communicate with the computer in French, English, German, or another human language. Some applications of such interfaces are database queries, information retrieval from texts, so-called expert systems, and robot control. Current advances in the recognition of spoken language improve the usability of many types of natural language systems. Communication with computers using spoken language will have a lasting impact upon the work environment, completely new areas of application for information technology will open up. However, spoken language needs to be combined with other modes of communication such as pointing with mouse or finger. If such multimodal communication is finally embedded in an effective general model of cooperation,we have succeeded in turning the machine into a partner.
Much older than communication problems between human beings and machines are those between people with different mother tongues. One of the original aims of applied computational linguistics has always been fully automatic translation between human languages. From bitter experience scientists have realized that they are still far away from achieving the ambitious goal of translating unrestricted texts. Nevertheless computational linguists have created software systems that simplify the work of human translators and clearly improve their productivity. Less than perfect automatic translations can also be of great help to information seekers who have to search through large amounts of texts in foreign languages.
The rapid growth of the Internet/WWW and the emergence of the information society poses exciting new challenges to language technology. ...