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Statistical Methods and Linguistics Steven Abney
 

Summary: Statistical Methods and Linguistics
Steven Abney
University of Tšubingen
In the space of the last ten years, statistical methods have gone from being
virtually unknown in computational linguistics to being a fundamental given. In
1996, no one can profess to be a computational linguist without a passing knowl-
edge of statistical methods. HMM's are as de rigeur as LR tables, and anyone
who cannot at least use the terminology persuasively risks being mistaken for
kitchen help at the ACL banquet.
More seriously, statistical techniques have brought significant advances in
broad-coverage language processing. Statistical methods have made real progress
possible on a number of issues that had previously stymied attempts to liberate
systems from toy domains; issues that include disambiguation, error correction,
and the induction of the sheer volume of information requisite for handling unre-
stricted text. And the sense of progress has generated a great deal of enthusiasm
for statistical methods in computational linguistics.
However, this enthusiasm has not been catching in linguistics proper. It
is always dangerous to generalize about linguists, but I think it is fair to say
that most linguists are either unaware (and unconcerned) about trends in com-
putational linguistics, or hostile to current developments. The gulf in basic

  

Source: Abney, Steven P. - School of Information, University of Michigan

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences