What I do
I am an aspiring teenage computer scientist who has an interest in linguistics, and would love seeing the two areas connected. I like to explore computational linguistics in my blogs, and to learn about the intricacies of the field that powers some of the most innovative technologies of our modern world. But besides that I think understanding the logic behind language is interesting, especially because language generally evolves to be easier over time. An example that many English speakers may be familiar with is the word “because” pronounced as ” ’cause”. This might sound as if it is something that just happened just in the modern era thanks to “the lazy teenagers” (I am familiar with the stereotype), but it has happened before. Take Latin, an ancient language with its beginnings going back thousands of years. To say “I want” in latin, the word is “volo”. The word “not” is “non” in Latin, so to say “I do not want” in Latin the obvious conclusion would be “non volo”, right? Well, the Romans might have actually said that at first, but just like us modern humans they eventually shortened their words, and instead of saying “non volo” they said “nolo”. Neat, right? The same thing that happened to “because” happened to “non volo”, in two different languages in two different time periods. Patterns in speech and language like this one is interesting to know and hear about, but they’re also useful in choosing the different kinds of neural networks to build to be most suitable for recognizing and understanding speech.
Learning about this new area takes time, and many papers informative, but they are long and difficult to understand, so the blog’s purpose is to share that knowledge in a hopefully more interesting and shorter way. They also introduce topics that may not be very popular or well-known, but are important to the topic of computational linguistics. It also serves as a way for me to better retain the information I’ve read about, because as they say the best way to know you’ve learned something is by teaching it.
Why does it matter?
Language has been the way humans communicated for millennia, and we are quite adept thanks to evolution in communicating this way, but our computer friends do not have this benefit or this feature. Thus, it needs to be taught to computers, so that it can be a better tool in assisting humans’ needs. Asking for help on simple skills like doing arithmetic will become improved and will no longer require help from humans. In fact, some of my own coding competition practice is done with the help of Chat-GPT, and most of the time it doesn’t require a mentor to help me, which quickens my ability to code quite a bit. This change to rely less on humans is something that is already prevalent and will become more prevalent as the tech improves, which is why computational linguistics is important, since it drives that improvment.