Natural Language Engineering

A definition and short history of Language Engineering

a1 Institute for Language, Speech and Hearing (ILASH), and Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; e-mail:


This paper discusses the nature, history and current characteristics of Language Engineering, which is contrasted with Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics, and which is shown to have attained its own distinct identity in recent years. Major trends in the field are examined, including its focus on large-scale practical tasks and on quantitative evaluation of progress, and its willingness to embrace a diverse range of techniques. The importance of software engineering in this context is noted, as are some sociological aspects of the practitioner group.

(Received June 9 1998)
(Revised November 1998)