The contents of the book are based on the course on computational linguistics
that has been delivered by the authors since 1997 at the Center for Computing Research, National Polytechnic Institute
, Mexico City. This course was focused on the basic set of ideas and facts from the fundamental science necessary for the creation of intelligent language processing tools, without going deeply into the details of specific algorithms or toy systems. The practical study of algorithms, architectures, and maintenance of real-world applied linguistic systems may be the topics of other courses.
The main objectives of this book are to provide the students with few fundamentals of general linguistics, to describe the modern models of how natural languages function, and to explain how to compile the data-linguistic tables and machine dictionaries-necessary for the natural language processing systems, out of informally described facts of a natural language. Therefore, this book intents to teach the reader how to prepare all the necessary tools for the development of programs and systems oriented to automatic natural language processing. In order to repeat, this book assumes that the readers are mainly students in computer sciences, i.e., in software development, database management, information retrieval, artificial intelligence or computer science in general.
Throughout this book, special emphasis is made on applications to the Spanish language. However, this course is not a mere manual of Spanish. A broader basis for understanding the main principles is to be elucidated through some examples from English, French, Portuguese, and Russian. Many literature sources provide the reader with interesting examples for these languages. This book provides analogous examples for Spanish wherever possible.
Since most of the literature on this matter is published in English regardless of the country where the research was performed, it will be useful for the students to read an introduction to the field in English. However, Spanish terminological equivalents are also given in the Appendix.