Finite-state methods in natural language processing and mathematics of language. Introduction to the special issue

Frank Drewes, Dept. of Computing Science, Umeå University, Sweden
Makoto Kanazawa, Department of Advanced Sciences, Hosei University, Tokyo, Japan, Japan


For more than half a century, finite-state methods and mathematical linguistics have benefitted from a close relation and fruitful interaction. Both research fields aim to achieve a deeper understanding of human language by means of mathematical techniques. For the automated processing of language by computers such a mathematical basis is an indispensable prerequisite. Historically, the goal pursued by mathematical linguists to formalize natural language syntax in a computer-accessible way was one of the strongest driving forces behind the development of finite-state methods. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the field of finite-state methods owes its existence to a large extent to mathematical linguistics. In turn, continued research on finite-state methods has resulted in a categorization of various kinds of language classes and language aspects, together with efficient and provably correct algorithms, thus expanding our understanding of the mathematical properties of language.

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ISSN of the paper edition: 2299-856X