The Main Concepts of Natural Language Processing (NLP)

The Main Concepts of Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Document details
Category: Language Essay
Subcategory: Living Languages
Words: 1910
Pages: 6

There have been high hopes for Natural Language Processing. Natural Language Processing, also known simply as NLP, is part of the broader field of Artificial Intelligence, the effort towards making machines think. Computers may appear intelligent as they crunch numbers and process information with blazing speed. In truth, computers are nothing but dumb slaves who only understand on or off and are limited to exact instructions. But since the invention of the computer, scientists have been attempting to make computers not only appear intelligent but be intelligent. A truly intelligent computer would not be limited to rigid computer language commands, but instead be able to process and understand the English language. This is the concept behind Natural Language Processing. The phases a message would go through during NLP would consist of message, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and intended meaning. (M. A. Fischer, 1987) Syntax is the grammatical structure. Semantics is the literal meaning. Pragmatics is world knowledge, knowledge of the context, and a model of the sender. When syntax, semantics, and pragmatics are applied, accurate Natural Language Processing will exist. Alan Turing predicted of NLP in 1950 (Daniel Crevier, 1994, page 9) 'I believe that in about fifty years' time it will be possible to program computers .... to make them play the imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than 70 per cent chance of making the right identification after five minutes of questioning.' But in 1950, the current computer technology was limited. Because of these limitations, NLP programs of that day focused on exploiting the strengths the computers did have. For example, a program called SYNTHEX tried to determine the meaning of sentences by looking up each word in its encyclopedia. Another early approach was Noam Chomsky's at MIT. He believed that language could be analyzed without any reference to semantics or pragmatics, just by simply looking...

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