The noun compound – a sequence of nouns which functions as a single noun – is very common in English texts. No language processing system should ignore expressions like steel soup pot cover if it wants to be serious about such high-end applications of computational linguistics as question answering, information extraction, text summarization, machine translation – the list goes on. Processing noun compounds, however, is far from trouble-free. For one thing, they can be bracketed in various ways: is it steel soup, steel pot, or steel cover? Then there are relations inside a compound, annoyingly not signalled by any words: does potcontainsoup or is it for cookingsoup? These and many other research challenges are the subject of this special issue.
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