The May 1969 presidential address to the Association for Computational Linguistics in which the activities encompassed under the term "computational linguistics" are discussed. The proof of any theory about linguistic performance is whether a machine embodying that theory can reproduce the observed phenomena. The distinguishing characteristic of the true computational linguist is that he is as much a computer scientist as he is a language expert; while the ordinary linguist tries to find the weakest formalism that will serve, the computational linguist seeks the strongest formalisms possible. His computer programs are so intimately involved with his theories that they cannot be left to a programmer to write. 18 pp.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.