Relationship between Computational Linguistics and Theoretical Linguistics

Computational linguistics is of relevance to theoeretical linguistics mainly with regard to the following points:

  • The theories of modern linguistics have become so complex that computers have become the only means by which they can be tested for correctness and completeness.
  • Computers make it possible to analyse linguistic data in ways that would have otherwise been too complex and time-consuming (e.g. statistical analysis of large collections of texts, collecting corresponding text passages in concordances and localisation of specific syntactic constructions in text collections). Thus, a new range of linguistic insights comes into reach.
  • The concepts of analysis developed in computer science in general and specifically in computational linguistics often prove to be of interest to theoretical linguistics (e.g. the concept of unification or the distinction between declarative knowledge and procedural processing).