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Computational Linguistics

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A Theory of Linguistic Computation and Storage

Language allows us to express and comprehend an unbounded number of thoughts. This fundamental and much-celebrated property is made possible by a division of labor between a large inventory of stored items (e.g., affixes, words, idioms) and a computational system that productively combines these stored units on the fly to create a potentially unlimited array of new expressions. A language learner must discover a language’s productive, reusable units and determine which computational processes can give rise to new expressions.

From Neural Computation to Optimality-Theoretic Grammar Volume II: Linguistic and Philosophical Implications

Despite their apparently divergent accounts of higher cognition, cognitive theories based on neural computation and those employing symbolic computation can in fact strengthen one another. To substantiate this controversial claim, this landmark work develops in depth a cognitive architecture based in neural computation but supporting formally explicit higher-level symbolic descriptions, including new grammar formalisms.

From Neural Computation to Optimality-Theoretic Grammar Volume I: Cognitive Architecture

The nature of the interplay between language learning and the evolution of a language over generational time is subtle. We can observe the learning of language by children and marvel at the phenomenon of language acquisition; the evolution of a language, however, is not so directly experienced. Language learning by children is robust and reliable, but it cannot be perfect or languages would never change—and English, for example, would not have evolved from the language of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

The Core Language Engine presents the theoretical and engineering advances embodied in one of the most comprehensive natural language processing systems designed to date. Recent research results from different areas of computational linguistics are integrated into a single elegant design with potential for application to tasks ranging from machine translation to information system interfaces.

Optimal and Costly Computations

In this monograph Tanya Reinhart discusses strategies enabling the interface of different cognitive systems, which she identifies as the systems of concepts, inference, context, and sound. Her point of departure is Noam Chomsky's hypothesis that language is optimally designed--namely, that in many cases, the bare minimum needed for constructing syntactic derivations is sufficient for the full needs of the interface. Deviations from this principle are viewed as imperfections.The book covers in depth four areas of the interface: quantifier scope, focus, anaphora resolution, and implicatures.

This book addresses a fundamental software engineering issue, applying formal techniques and rigorous analysis to a practical problem of great current interest: the incorporation of language-specific knowledge in interactive programming environments. It makes a basic contribution in this area by proposing an attribute-grammar framework for incremental semantic analysis and establishing its algorithmic foundations.

The field of machine translation (MT)—the automation of translation between human languages—has existed for more than fifty years. MT helped to usher in the field of computational linguistics and has influenced methods and applications in knowledge representation, information theory, and mathematical statistics.

For the past forty years, linguistics has been dominated by the idea that language is categorical and linguistic competence discrete. It has become increasingly clear, however, that many levels of representation, from phonemes to sentence structure, show probabilistic properties, as does the language faculty. Probabilistic linguistics conceptualizes categories as distributions and views knowledge of language not as a minimal set of categorical constraints but as a set of gradient rules that may be characterized by a statistical distribution.

The Role of Geometric Constraints

With contributions from Tomás LozanoPérez and Daniel P. Huttenlocher.

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