Linguistic Issues in Language Technology (LiLT) -- Special Issue on the Interaction between Linguistics and Computational Linguistics: Virtuous, Vicious or Vacuous?

Timothy Baldwin, Valia Kordoni

CSLI 2011.


In its infancy, computational linguistics drew heavily on theoretical linguistics. There have been numerous examples of co-development successes between computational and theoretical linguistics over the years (e.g. syntactic theories (Gazdar et al., 1985, Pollard and Sag, 1994, Steedman, 2000, Bresnan, 2001, Kallmeyer, 2010) discourse processing (Grosz and Sidner, 1986, Walker et al., 1998) and language resource development (Marcus et al., 1993, Fellbaum, 1998, Prasad et al., 2008)), and significant crossover with other areas of linguistics such as lexicography (Boguraev and Briscoe, 1989, Wilks et al., 1996), psycholinguistics (Crocker, 1996, Dijkstra and de Smedt, 1996, Keller, 2001) and corpus linguistics (McEnery and Wilson, 2001, Sampson, 2001, Meyer, 2002). Throughout the history of the field, however, there has always been a subset of computational linguistics that has largely distanced itself from theoretical linguistics, perhaps most famously in the field of machine translation (MT) where there is relatively little in most modern-day MT systems that a linguist would identify with. In the current climate of hard-core empiricism within computational linguistics it is appropriate to reflect on where we have come from and where we are headed relative to the various other fields of linguistics. Our purpose in this special issue is partly to reflect on the status quo and, in the process, identify potential areas where greater crossover between the fields of linguistics and computational linguistics can and perhaps should occur. It is also, however, to highlight sub-areas of computational linguistics where that crossover is happening, and can be seen to have enhanced the linguistic and computational linguistic impact of the research. This special issue stems from an EACL 2009 workshop organised by the authors, somewhat provocatively titled “Interaction between Linguistics and Computational Linguistics: Virtuous, Vicious or Vacuous?”. It draws together extended versions of papers presented at the workshop, in addition to invited contributions from both linguists and computational linguists.

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence