Re: Corpora: Language Engineering

From: Yorick Wilks (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 18:17:19 MET

  • Next message: "Re: Corpora: Query: broadcast conversations"

    Ive just caught up with this (what is..)language-engineering
    discussion after a while, but Lou's contribution (below) has provoked me
    to protest--this is reduction to two silly choices, neither of which
    is anywhere bear reality. The joke-positivist definition (X is what X-ists do)
    is sometimes fun but has been used so much and is only helpful where
    definitions are really no use --AI may be a case, and AI probably
    is what AIers do. But where there is a working/useful definition,
    that's egregious. Similarly, the use he supports with the Aitchison
    quote would (for me) require a quote from a sociolinguist (not a general survey
    of linguistics) before I believed it--Lou seems to think that the
    quote from Aitchison ABOUT this usage in some way attests it---the
    lexicographic fallacy if ever Ive seen it!

    More seriously, there surely isnt much doubt that, whatever
    its precise origins, in Manchester or wherever, LE was meant to point
    to the possibility of maturity in NLP where computer language applications
    could possibly be engineered to a high standard of robustness and
    reliability of the sort that sofware engineers talk about--SE is the
    analogical origin of LE surely. Derek Partridge and I wrote
    articles a decade ago with titles like 'AI and SE'arguing that
    some areas of AI (like NLP) could not conform to SE norms because of
    certain undecidable properties of language use. But that was not to deny,
    nor is it now, that 'LE' has a reasonable, aspirational, function.
    Yorick Wilks

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Feb 28 2000 - 18:16:52 MET