Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Text Generation

  • Li Zhang
  • Jian-Tao Sun
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_416


Natural language generation (NLG)


Text generation is a subfield of natural language processing. It leverages knowledge in computational linguistics and artificial intelligence to automatically generate natural language texts, which can satisfy certain communicative requirements.

Historical Background

Research work in the text generation field first appeared in the 1970s. Goldman’s work on natural language generation from a deep conceptual base appeared in [2]. In the 1980s, more significant work was contributed in this field: McDonald saw text generation as a decision-making problem [6] and Appelt on language planning (1981) (McKeown [8]). In the 1990s, a generic architecture for text generation was discussed (Reiter [10], Hovy [3]). Still today, variations on the generic architecture is still a widely discussed question (Mellish et al. [9]).


Text generation, or natural language generation (NLG), is usually compared with another subfield of natural...

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Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Dale R. Introduction to the special issue on natural language generation. Comput Linguist. 1998;24(3):346–53.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Goldman NM. Computer generation of natural language from a deep conceptual base. PhD thesis, Stanford University, 1974.Google Scholar
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    Hovy EH, Varile GB, Zampolli A. Language generation. Chapter 4. In: Survey of the state of the art in human language Technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1997. p. 139–63.Google Scholar
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    Hovy EH. Natural language generation. Entry for MIT encyclopedia of computer science. Cambridge: MIT Press; 1998. p. 585–8.Google Scholar
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    Hovy EH. Language generation. Entry for encyclopedia of cognitive science, article 86. London: McMillan; 2000.Google Scholar
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    McDonald DD. Natural language production as a process of decision making under constraint. PhD thesis, Cambridge: MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; 1980.Google Scholar
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    McDonald DD, Dale RH, Moisl H. Somers 1Natural language generation, Chapter 7. In: Handbook of natural language processing. New York: Marcel Dekker; 2000. p. 147–80.Google Scholar
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    McKeown KR. Text generation: using discourse strategies and focus constraints to generate natural language text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Mellish C et al. A reference architecture for natural language generation systems. Nat Lang Eng. 2006;12(1):1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Reiter E. Has a consensus NL generation architecture appeared and is it psycholinguistically plausible? In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Natural Language Generation; 1994. p. 163–170.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Reiter E, Dale R. Building natural language generation systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Zhang
    • 1
  • Jian-Tao Sun
    • 2
  1. 1.Peking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Microsoft Research AsiaBeijingChina

Section editors and affiliations

  • Zheng Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Microsoft Research AsiaMicrosoft CorporationBeijingChina