Computational Competence and Linguistic Performance.

by Martin Kay

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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.

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