Thanks to everybody who responded to the question:
1 - what is language engineering (LE), and,
2 - whether there is any relation of it to some type of social engineering,
such as language planning.
Frankly, I was a bit surprised that there was so much interest in the
The following people sent their responses (in reverse order of appearance,
sorry if I missed someone):
Ramesh Krishnamurthy (2x)
Gabriel Pereira Lopes
Geoffrey Sampson (2x)
Thanks a lot!
The respondents basically agreed, or I think they did, that LE:
-- is technical in approach
-- is an art, a methodology, rather than a science
-- the result is more important than scientific foundations, theories, etc.
-- involves -- a stronger version -- modelling of human (natural,
real-world) language, or various features of language, on computer, or -- a
weaker version -- any processing of human, etc. language on computer
(including word processors, electronic dictionaries, etc.)
-- and, though most people thought that LE does NOT have anything to do with
social engineering, in fact texts show clearly that IT DOES (did?), and
precisely in the sense that somehow got attached to it in my mind, i.e. with
-- a bit of history: it is highly likely that the spread of the term in
Europe is related to research funding lingo:
>"Language Engineering" was used officially as a label
>for a major sector of European Union research funding under the recently
>oncluded Framework IV research programme, so that Europeans naturally
>found themselves using this term -- in some contexts they _had_ to use
>and it commonly occurred as an acronym, LE. << (Geoffrey Sampson)
And here is a quotation that I like, a summary as well:
>... the phrase "language engineering" has had two quite different senses.
>use most people on this list are familiar with ("those research areas
>likely to be funded by the EU language engineering programme") is
>perhaps itself the result of language engineering in the earlier
>sense ("the process of tweaking language usage to match political or
>other social agendas") is something only history will tell us.
For further details I have to refer you to the relevant messages.
Here are some useful references:
There is a discussion about the meaning of the term in the first issue of
The Journal of Natural Language Engineering and, specifically, the paper by
"A Definition and Short History of Language Engineering" (with numerous
(pages 1--16, vol 5, 1999),
available from his Web page (http://www.dcs.shef.ac.uk/~hamish/)
(he provided relevant definitions from the paper in his message)
Mitkov R. - Language Engineering: towards a clearer picture.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Mathematical Linguistics,
Tarragona, Spain, 2-5 May 1996
Mitkov R. - Language Engineering: new perspectives for the multilingual
Proceedings of the Workshop on Language Engineering. Natural Language
Pacific Rim Symposium, 4-7 December 1995, Seoul, Korea (invited paper)
available on request from Professor Mitkov
Again: thank you!
Professor of Linguistics
Department of English
Opole University Zielinskiego 47/11
Oleska 48 PL-53-533 Wroclaw
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Feb 24 2000 - 11:31:37 MET