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Victor Akinode Olalekan
Victor Akinode Olalekan

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Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a subfield of artificial intelligence that focuses on enabling machines to understand, interpret, and manipulate human language. NLP techniques are used in a wide range of applications, including sentiment analysis, language translation, text classification, and chatbots. As a beginner, getting started with NLP may seem daunting, but with the right resources and tools, anyone can start exploring this exciting field. In this blog post, I will guide you on how to get started with NLP, provide examples and case studies, and give code snippets to help you kick-start your NLP journey.


Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field of study concerned with the interactions between computers and human languages. NLP is an interdisciplinary field that combines linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence to create computational models of human language. With the rapid growth of digital data, NLP has become a crucial tool in data analysis, information retrieval, and machine learning. In this book, we will explore the fundamentals of natural language processing and how it can be used to solve real-world problems.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you to start a career in NLP as a beginner:

  1. Learn the Basics of Programming Languages: Before diving into NLP, it’s essential to have a good understanding of programming languages. Some programming languages commonly used in NLP include Python, R, and Java. Python is the most widely used language in NLP because it has many libraries and tools that simplify the process of text analysis. If you are new to programming, you can start by learning the basics of Python. There are many online resources to learn Python, including Codecademy, Udemy, and DataCamp.

2. Understand the Basic Concepts of NLP:

To work with NLP, you need to understand its basic concepts. Here are some essential concepts you should know:

  • Tokenization: The process of breaking down text into smaller units, or tokens, such as words or phrases. This is the first step in most NLP tasks.
  • Part-of-speech (POS) Tagging: The process of labeling each token with its part of speech, such as noun, verb, adjective, or adverb.
  • Sentiment Analysis: The process of determining the emotional tone of a piece of text, such as positive, negative, or neutral.
  • Named Entity Recognition (NER): The process of identifying and extracting named entities, such as people, places, or organizations, from text.

3. Familiarize Yourself with NLP Libraries and Tools:

There are many NLP libraries and tools available to simplify the process of text analysis. Here are some popular ones:

  • Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK): An open-source library for NLP written in Python. It provides tools for tokenization, POS tagging, sentiment analysis, and more.

  • SpaCy: An industrial-strength NLP library for Python. It provides tools for tokenization, POS tagging, NER, and more.

  • Stanford CoreNLP: A suite of tools for NLP developed by Stanford University. It provides tools for tokenization, POS tagging, NER, sentiment analysis, and more.

4. Start with Small Projects:

Once you have a good understanding of programming languages and NLP concepts, start working on small NLP projects. Here are some project ideas:

  • Text Classification: Classify text into predefined categories, such as news articles into sports, politics, or entertainment.

Code snippet in Python using NLTK:

import nltk
from nltk.tokenize import word_tokenize
from nltk.probability import FreqDist

# Sample text to tokenize
text = "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The lazy dog, peeved to be labeled lazy, jumps over a snoring turtle."

# Tokenize the text
tokens = word_tokenize(text.lower())

# Compute the frequency distribution of the tokens
fdist = FreqDist(tokens)

# Print the top 10 most common words and their frequencies
for word, frequency in fdist.most_common(10):
    print(f"{word}: {frequency}")
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This code first imports the necessary modules from NLTK: word_tokenize for tokenizing the text into words, and FreqDist for computing the frequency distribution of the tokens.

Next, it defines a sample text to tokenize, which contains two sentences. The word_tokenize function is then used to tokenize the text into a list of lowercase words.

Finally, the FreqDist class is used to compute the frequency distribution of the tokens, which is printed out in descending order of frequency using a for loop.

Another example is Text Preprocessing. Below is a code snippet for it:

import re

def preprocess_text(text):
    # Remove HTML tags
    text = re.sub('<.*?>', '', text)

    # Remove punctuation marks
    text = re.sub('[^\w\s]', '', text)

    # Convert to lowercase
    text = text.lower()

    return text
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Or this:

import nltk
from nltk.corpus import stopwords
from nltk.tokenize import word_tokenize

text = "This is an example of text preprocessing using NLTK. We will remove stopwords and perform tokenization."

# convert text to lowercase
text = text.lower()

# tokenize text
tokens = word_tokenize(text)

# remove stopwords
stop_words = set(stopwords.words('english'))
filtered_tokens = [token for token in tokens if token not in stop_words]

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The last example is Sentiment Analysis using TextBlob, here is a code snippet:

from textblob import TextBlob

# Sample text for sentiment analysis
text = "I love pizza"

# Perform sentiment analysis
blob = TextBlob(text)
sentiment = blob.sentiment.polarity

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  1. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!

For beginners in natural language processing (NLP), it is essential to keep practicing to improve their skills and knowledge in the field. NLP is a complex and rapidly evolving field that requires a combination of computer science, linguistics, and statistics knowledge. Therefore, practice is crucial to developing a deep understanding of the techniques and algorithms used in NLP.

By practicing NLP, beginners can learn how to apply different NLP techniques to real-world problems, including sentiment analysis, text classification, and machine translation. Additionally, practice helps beginners gain hands-on experience with different NLP libraries and tools such as Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), spaCy, and Gensim.

Furthermore, practicing NLP can help beginners stay up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in the field. With the rapid evolution of NLP techniques, staying up-to-date with the latest developments is crucial to keep pace with the field’s growth.


Here are some case studies for Natural Language Processing which you might be interested to read more about and lay hands on:

Case Study 1: Chatbots

Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in various industries, such as customer service and healthcare. Chatbots use NLP techniques such as sentiment analysis and named entity recognition to understand user queries and provide appropriate responses.

Case Study 2: Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis is used to determine the sentiment of a piece of text, such as a tweet or a product review. Companies use sentiment analysis to understand customer opinions and improve their products and services.

Case Study 3: Machine Translation

Machine translation uses NLP techniques to translate text from one language to another. Machine translation is used in various applications such as e-commerce, travel, and healthcare.


In conclusion, NLP is an exciting field that is rapidly advancing with the help of powerful NLP libraries and tools. Beginners can get started with NLP by choosing a programming language, learning the basics of NLP, choosing an NLP library, and performing NLP.

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