Linguistics is the study of the nature and structure of language, including the pronunciation of words (phonetics), the way words are built up from smaller units (morphology), the way words are arranged together (syntax), the meaning of linguistic utterances (semantics), and the relation between language and context of use (pragmatics) including the relationships of groups of sentences (discourse). As humans, we combine all of this linguistic knowledge with knowledge of the world to understand natural language. Symbolic NLP techniques also utilize this linguistic information in attempting to interpret free-text. Below we describe NLP techniques that take advantage of syntactic, semantic, and discourse knowledge in order to address the linguistic characteristics of clinical texts.
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