The widening use of computers has powerfully influenced the way people communicate, search and store information. For the majority of individuals and situations, the primary vehicle for such information is natural language, and text and speech are crucial encoding formats for the information revolution. This book introduces students to the fundamentals of how computers are used to represent, process, and organize textual and spoken information. It allows students to effectively understand how the computer works and where the problems arise with the involvement of natural language. Self-contained chapters cover the central analytical concepts and provide students with tips on how to effectively integrate this knowledge into their working practice. The authors ground the concepts and analyses covered in the text in real-world examples familiar to students. Drawing on these examples, the authors teach students how to produce evidence-based analyses and arguments about language. The result is a book that teaches students to generate, justify and argue for valid conclusions about the design, capabilities and behavior of natural language systems.