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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Restricted subsystems of language can arise spontaneously in a subject-matter domain where speech or writing is used for special purposes. Alternatively, language restrictions can be imposed by conscious design. This chapter introduces the phenomenon of natural sublanguage in the first case, and contrasts it with the increasingly important notion of controlled language, which applies in the second case. Many of the successful language processing applications which deal with language meaning are limited to naturally occurring sublanguages. We give examples of natural sublanguages and describe their key properties for automatic processing. One or more related sublanguages may serve as the basis for a controlled language, where standards are introduced to reduce ambiguity, limit complexity, and enforce uniform style.

Keywords: sublanguage, restricted, semantic, domain, controlled, natural language

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