Romantics and Revolutionaries

Mark Steedman

Abstract


In every field in which progress beckons, romantics and revolutionaries find themselves in an uneasy alliance. The role of the romantics is to define the often unattainable goal. That of the revolutionaries is to advance towards it. Each needs the other, and constantly fears they are forsaken. Sometimes they are right.

Theoretical linguists are the romantics of our field: They seek to understand language for its own sake, intuitively, and on its own terms. Computational linguists are the revolutionaries: They want to make things work better. How are they getting along, these days?


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