Linguistic theory and computer applications. (English) Zbl 0713.68041

Boston, MA: Academic Press, Inc. X, 329 p. $ 17.50 (1988).
The book is a compilation of invited contributions to a workshop on computational aspects of linguistic theory and theoretical aspects of computational linguistics. Each paper in this collection has appended to it a transcript of the discussion session following its presentation. The topics covered include the methodological foundations and relations of linguistics and computational linguistics, reflections on theories of grammar currently prevalent in linguistic circles and their potential for the design and specification of natural language processing systems.
The book starts with an examination of aspects of notational similarity and inter-reducibility among linguistic descriptions based on formal grammar theories (considering reductions of LFG and GPSG variants to PATR-II expressions, and vice versa) and the possible (in)dependence of empirical analyses of various linguistic phenomena on any of these formalisms (Shieber).
After that, various linguistic applications of defaults and default inheritance mechanisms are surveyed amply considering examples in the literature on morphology, lexicology, syntax, and pragmatics (Gazdar).
Implications the theoretical principles of deterministic parsing might have on practical concerns of natural language system building are illustrated providing deterministic analyses of linguistic phenomena such as the resolution of lexical ambiguity, the parsing of sentence fragments in ordinary discourse, and the analysis of conjunctions and other coordinate structures (Marcus).
Arguments about misleading methodological assumptions underlying computational linguistic, and psycholinguistic studies of language (i.e., the proliferation of procedural specifications to gain computational efficiency, the limited evidences on which far-reaching substantive constraints in grammar specifications are based in order to restrict powerful formal grammar devices in theoretical linguistics, the confusion of two separate issues, simulation (execution) and explanation (specification), in non-modular, interactionist models of language understanding) are raised and a proposal to avoid these problems is made within the formal framework of Lexical Functional Grammar (Kaplan).
This contribution is followed by a survey of the semantical theories behind and the interface between syntax and semantics in major grammatical theories of language (GPSG, LFG, GB, etc.), and how various of these grammatical approaches differ in the way semantical interpretations (usually logical expressions) are derived (Pulman).
Furthermore, the organization and contents of lexicons (dictionaries) in natural language processing systems and current linguistic theories are surveyed (Ritchie). An applicational perspective underlies the general overiew of main characteristics, requirements, theoretical foundations and motivations behind the development of machine translation systems (R. Johnson), while a more theoretical concern is evident in the proposal of using Montague grammar for machine translation on the basis of restricted types of compute-efficient Montague grammars, viz. M-grammars and isomorphic M-grammars, the latter being particularly adapted to the requirements of machine translation systems (Landsbergen).
Finally, an attempt is made to delimit the border-lines between linguistic theories and the realms of extra-linguistic information (world knowledge) beyond which is needed to fully account for human and machine natural language understanding capabilities (Sparck Jones).
Reviewer: U.Hahn


68T50 Natural language processing
68-06 Proceedings, conferences, collections, etc. pertaining to computer science
68U99 Computing methodologies and applications