Mathematical Linguistics

Alice G.B. ter Meulen

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
Mathematical Linguistics

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Language Families
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sociolinguistics


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Mathematical linguistics is a field of scientific linguistic inquiry applying mathematical methods and concepts to linguistic systems, to phenomena observed in natural languages, or to the metatheory of models of grammars. Its original sources lie in Europe, where philosophers and logicians were relatively friendly toward ordinary language early in the 20th century. Later global developments quickly increased the field’s diversity and created independent research agendas on the complexity of computational processes, new ways to model linguistic phenomena in richer or more flexible logical systems, and mathematical characterizations of various notions of linguistic complexity. Neighboring disciplines include not only the foundations of mathematics and mathematical logic but also computational linguistics, philosophical logic, knowledge representation as a branch of artificial intelligence, theoretical computer science, and computational psychology. Mathematical linguistics has initially served as a foundation for computational linguistics, though its research agenda of designing machines to simulate natural language understanding is clearly more applied. Inductive methods have gained the upper hand in applied computational linguistics, whereas deductive logical methods are still very much in vogue in theoretical mathematical linguistics, with some new systems mixing both types of methods.

Article.  7072 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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