Re: Corpora: Language Engineering

From: Lou Burnard (
Date: Fri Feb 18 2000 - 17:28:27 MET

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    For what it's worth, I agree with Ramesh and others that the phrase
    "language engineering" has had two quite different senses. Whether the
    use most people on this list are familiar with ("those research areas
    likely to be funded by the EU language engineering programme") is
    perhaps itself the result of language engineering in the earlier
    sense ("the process of tweaking language usage to match political or
    other social agendas") is something only history will tell us.

    As evidence of that earlier usage, here's a quote from Jean Aitchison's
    "Teach Yourself Linguistics" (5th edition):

    `The imposition of a standard language cannot be brought about by
    force. Sometimes it occurs spontaneously, as has happened in
    England. At other times, conscious intervention is required.... A
    branch of sociolinguistics known as `language planning' or more
    recently `language engineering' is attempting to solve the practical
    and theoretical problems involved in such attempts'.

    (It may be of interest that it was Professor Aitchison herself who
    brought this sense to my attention when, in 1996, I tried to use the
    term in recruiting someone to work on the BNC!)


     Lou Burnard

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