Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of computer science and linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages. Natural language generation systems convert information from computer databases into readable human language. Natural language understanding systems convert samples of human language into more formal representations such as parse trees or first order logic that are easier for computer programs to manipulate. Many problems within NLP apply to both generation and understanding; for example, a computer must be able to model morphology (the structure of words) in order to understand an English sentence, and a model of morphology is also needed for producing a grammatically correct English sentence.

NLP has significant overlap with the field of computational linguistics, and is often considered a sub-field of artificial intelligence. The term natural language is used to distinguish human languages (such as Spanish, Swahili or Swedish) from formal or computer languages (such as C++, Java or LISP). Although NLP may encompass both text and speech, work on speech processing has evolved into a separate field.

NLP should not be confused with the pseudo-scienceneuro-linguistic programming”.

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