What is Computational Linguistics?

Computational Linguistics focuses on the processing of natural language(s) in computer systems. Working questions include application-oriented problems as well as fundamental research, such as:

  1. the development of (software) tools allowing for an easier human-machine-communication by a faster and easier processing of large amounts of linguistic data (e.g. dialog systems to communicate with data bases and other information systems, automated replying in email, voice-operation in computer systems, voice output);  

  2. language- and text-technological tools for processing texts in natural language (voice-recording programmes, spell-checking programmes, screenreaders, translation programmes, information retrieval, document management, TI, text-generating, …), a field steadily gaining significance in our ‘information and communication society’; 

  3. the analysis of large amounts of linguistic data (e.g. text corpora) with the help of statistic and other qualitative methods to enable the mistake-free and comfortable complex description of languages (in dictionaries and grammar books), and to establish and maintain larger collections of textual data (linguistic corpora); 

  4. the usage of certain characteristics of natural languages for other means, e.g. language recognition in text documents, language-based determination of authorship for philological and forensic research; 

  5. the examination of connections between the characteristics of linguistic structures and processes and the discovery of universal rules beyond the boundaries of different languages and texts. Here, methods in computational linguistics are mostly used to verify established hypotheses in significant amounts of language materials.