NLP Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on Natural Language Processing (NLP)!. In this tutorial we are going to learn what is NLP? NLP is a rapidly growing field transforming how we interact with computers and machines. This tutorial will cover the basics of NLP, its key concepts, and popular techniques. We will also discuss how to preprocess text data, perform sentiment analysis and text classification tasks, and build NLP models using Python and popular NLP libraries such as NLTK, spaCy, and TensorFlow. By the end of this tutorial, you will have a solid foundation in NLP and be able to apply this knowledge to real-world problems. Let's dive in!


The audience of an NLP tutorial can vary but typically includes individuals interested in learning about NLP and its applications. This may include:

  • Students studying computer science, artificial intelligence, or linguistics
  • Researchers exploring NLP techniques for their work
  • Data scientists and machine learning engineers interested in building NLP models
  • Developers and engineers looking to integrate NLP into their applications
  • Business professionals seek to leverage NLP for customer engagement, marketing, and analytics.

Depending on the intended audience, the tutorial can be tailored to different levels of expertise, ranging from beginner to advanced.


The prerequisites for an NLP tutorial can vary based on the level of expertise and the specific topics covered in the tutorial. However, some general prerequisites include the following:

  • Basic knowledge of programming concepts and syntax, preferably in Python
  • Understanding of data structures and algorithms
  • Familiarity with machine learning concepts such as supervised and unsupervised learning, classification, and regression
  • Understanding of statistical concepts such as probability and linear algebra
  • Knowledge of linguistics is helpful but optional.

What is NLP?

NLP stands for Natural Language Processing, a branch of Artificial Intelligence that focuses on the interactions between computers and humans in natural language. It involves using algorithms and machine learning techniques to enable machines to interpret, and generate human language.

NLP techniques have many applications, including sentiment analysis, language translation, speech recognition, text classification, and named entity recognition. In addition, these techniques allow machines to process and understand human language, opening up opportunities for applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and automated language translation. NLP has become increasingly important in recent years due to the exponential growth of digital data and the need for automated language processing.

History of NLP

The history of NLP dates back to the 1950s, beginning with Alan Turing's Turing Test and machine translation research. In the 1960s, Chomsky's theories on syntax inspired rule-based approaches like SHRDLU. The 1980s saw statistical methods emerge, while the 1990s introduced machine learning techniques, improving NLP's efficiency. The 2000s gave rise to large-scale data-driven models, and the 2010s saw deep learning and neural networks revolutionize NLP with models like Word2Vec, BERT, and GPT. As AI advances, NLP continues to evolve, driving innovation and enabling more sophisticated human-computer interactions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of NLP


  • NLP enables efficient information retrieval, language translation, and improved accessibility for people with disabilities, enhancing user experiences.
  • Sentiment analysis and text classification offered by NLP benefit various industries and research domains, allowing for better decision-making.


  • NLP faces difficulties in handling ambiguity, context, and idiomatic expressions, limiting its accuracy and effectiveness.
  • Privacy concerns arise due to data collection and biased training data leading to biased outputs. Additionally, NLP's growing reliance on deep learning has led to a "black box" problem, making it challenging to explain decisions made by these systems.

Components of NLP

For learning "what is NLP? we need to understand the components of NLP. NLP consists of various components that work together to understand, interpret, and generate human language. Key components include tokenization, which breaks text into words or phrases; stemming and lemmatization, which reduce words to their root forms; part-of-speech tagging, which classifies words based on grammatical roles; syntax analysis, which identifies sentence structure; semantic analysis, which extracts meaning; and discourse analysis, which interprets context across sentences. Other components involve named entity recognition, which identifies entities such as names or organizations, and coreference resolution, which links pronouns to their antecedents. These components contribute to NLP's diverse applications in AI systems.

Applications of NLP

  • NLP applications include language translation, sentiment analysis, text classification, and summarization aiding information retrieval and management.
  • NLP powers chatbots, virtual assistants, speech recognition, and named entity recognition, impacting industries such as marketing, healthcare, and finance.
  • NLP techniques contribute to spam detection, plagiarism checking, and natural language generation, enabling accessibility for individuals with disabilities and streamlining customer service and user interactions.

Phases of NLP

Lexical and Morphological Analysis

Lexical and morphological analysis are two important components of Natural Language Processing (NLP) that involve the analysis of words and their structures. Let's take a closer look at each of these components:

  • Lexical Analysis

Lexical analysis is a fundamental NLP component that processes and analyzes text at the word level. It involves breaking text into tokens (words or phrases) using tokenization, which helps in subsequent processing. Lexical analysis also includes stemming and lemmatization, which reduce words to their root forms, enabling a more efficient analysis of different word forms. Another aspect is part-of-speech tagging, which classifies words based on their grammatical roles (e.g., noun, verb, adjective). These processes facilitate a deeper understanding of text and help with tasks like syntax analysis, semantic analysis, and other higher-level NLP operations.

  • Morphological Analysis

Morphological analysis is an essential NLP component that examines the structure and formation of words. It focuses on identifying the smallest units of meaning within words, called morphemes, which include roots, prefixes, and suffixes. This process helps reveal the relationship between different word forms, enabling the extraction of base or root forms through stemming and lemmatization. Morphological analysis also aids in generating new words and understanding inflectional variations. It supports part-of-speech tagging and disambiguation by providing insights into the grammatical roles and properties of words. Overall, morphological analysis plays a crucial role in understanding and processing language efficiently.

Syntactic Analysis

Syntactic analysis, also known as parsing, is a crucial component of natural language processing (NLP). It is the process of analyzing the grammatical structure of a sentence to understand its meaning. Syntactic analysis involves breaking down a sentence into its constituent parts and identifying its relationships.

There are two main types of syntactic analysis: constituency parsing and dependency parsing.

  • Constituency and dependency Parsing

Constituency and dependency parsing are techniques used in NLP to analyze and represent sentence structures. Constituency parsing generates a hierarchical tree, called a parse tree, with constituents (phrases) nested within larger constituents. It is based on context-free grammar and captures the syntactic relationships between words and phrases.

Dependency parsing, on the other hand, constructs a tree that represents the grammatical dependencies between words. It focuses on the relationships between a headword and its dependents, highlighting the functional structure of a sentence.

Both approaches reveal valuable syntactic information, but dependency parsing is often preferred for its efficiency and direct representation of relationships between words.

Semantic Analysis

Semantic analysis is a crucial NLP component that extracts meaning from text. It goes beyond syntactic structure to understand the relationships between words, phrases, and sentences, as well as the context in which they occur. The semantic analysis encompasses tasks such as word sense disambiguation, which determines the correct meaning of ambiguous words, and semantic role labeling, which identifies the relationships between words in a sentence (e.g., subject, object, action). It also involves understanding idiomatic expressions, metaphors, and anaphora. Semantic analysis is vital for applications like machine translation, sentiment analysis, and question-answering systems, as it enables machines to comprehend human language more accurately.

Discourse Integration

Discourse integration is a branch of natural language processing (NLP) that analyzes the relationships between sentences in a text to understand the overall meaning and discourse structure. It goes beyond the syntactic and semantic analysis of individual sentences and examines how they relate in context.

There are various techniques used for discourse integration in NLP, including:

  1. Coreference Resolution: Coreference resolution is identifying when two or more expressions in a text refer to the same entity.

  2. Discourse Parsing: Discourse parsing is the process of analyzing the relationships between sentences in a text to understand the overall structure of the discourse.

  3. Coherence Modeling: Coherence modeling is the process of building models that capture the degree of coherence between sentences in a text.

Pragmatic Analysis

Pragmatic analysis is an approach in linguistics that focuses on the ways in which people use language to communicate effectively in different contexts. It considers the social, cultural, and situational factors that influence language use and interpretation. This analysis seeks to understand how speakers and listeners make use of context, inference, and implicature to convey and interpret meaning. Pragmatic analysis is essential in understanding how language is used in everyday communication and is useful in a variety of fields, such as language teaching, cross-cultural communication, and discourse analysis.

Top NLP Libraries

Scikit-learn: A popular Python library for machine learning and data analysis, offering a wide range of algorithms for classification, regression, clustering, and dimensionality reduction. It integrates with other Python libraries and is known for its simplicity and efficiency.

NLTK: The Natural Language Toolkit is a comprehensive Python library for NLP tasks, including tokenization, stemming, parsing, and sentiment analysis. It offers extensive linguistic resources and a user-friendly interface, making it suitable for beginners and researchers alike.

Pattern: A Python library for web mining, NLP, and machine learning, providing tools for data extraction, text analysis, and sentiment classification. It supports multiple languages and offers functionalities like part-of-speech tagging and n-gram generation.

TextBlob: A user-friendly Python library for NLP that builds on NLTK and Pattern. It simplifies text processing tasks, such as part-of-speech tagging, noun phrase extraction, sentiment analysis, and translation, making it ideal for beginners and rapid prototyping.

Quepy: A Python framework for question-answering systems, enabling the conversion of natural language questions into queries for databases or knowledge graphs. Quepy supports multiple query languages, such as SPARQL and MQL, and helps build domain-specific Q&A applications.

Gensim: A specialized Python library for unsupervised topic modeling and NLP tasks, focusing on vector space modeling and topic modeling techniques. It is highly scalable, efficient, and supports popular algorithms like Word2Vec, FastText, and Latent Semantic Analysis.

How Long Does It Take to Learn NLP?

  • Time to learn NLP depends on factors like prior programming and linguistic knowledge, learning speed, desired depth, and available resources.
  • Beginners may need to learn additional skills, such as machine learning and data analysis, which can prolong the learning process.
  • With dedication and the right resources, proficiency in NLP can be achieved in several months to a year, while basic techniques can be applied within weeks.

About this Natural Language Processing Tutorial

  • This tutorial will perfectly answer the question: what is NLP?

  • The tutorial covers the different components of NLP, including lexical and morphological analysis, syntactic analysis, semantic analysis, discourse integration, and pragmatic analysis. It also introduces several popular libraries used in NLP, such as Scikit-learn, NLTK, Pattern, TextBlob, Quepy, SpaCy, and Gensim.

  • For those new to NLP, the tutorial briefly introduces each of these libraries, including how to install, import and use them in Python. The tutorial also provides further learning and practice resources, including books, courses, and online tools.

  • Overall, this NLP tutorial aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the field of NLP while providing practical guidance for those who want to start with Python programming.

Take-Away Skills from This Natural Language Processing Tutorial

After completing this Natural Language Processing (NLP) tutorial, you have gained the following skills:

  • Understanding of NLP and its history, advantages, and disadvantages
  • Knowledge of the different components of NLP, including lexical and morphological analysis, syntactic analysis, semantic analysis, discourse integration, and pragmatic analysis.
  • Knowledge of more advanced NLP techniques such as named entity recognition, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling.
  • Ability to apply these techniques to real-world NLP problems and datasets.
  • Resources for further learning and practice in NLP.
Written by Industry expertsLearn at your own paceUnlimited access forever
16 Modules19 Hour 31 Minutes112 Lessons110 ChallengesLanguage IconLanguage: English
Written by Industry expertsLearn at your own paceUnlimited access forever
16 Modules19 Hour 31 Minutes112 Lessons110 ChallengesLanguage IconLanguage: English