Periode 2: November 2003 - Januari 2004
Trans 10, kamer 2.13
3512 JK Utrecht
This course provides an introduction to the techniques and tools that
are necessary for the implementation of precise and extensible
grammars which are required both in research and in industrial
applications. Computational grammars constitute an essential component
of text understanding systems, spell-checkers, grammar-checkers,
machine translation systems and communication tools for disabled
The course will combine background lectures with practical exercises
on how to formalize linguistic knowledge working mainly within the framework
of Head-driven Phrase Structure
Grammar (HPSG) (Pollard and Sag 1987,
1994). This framework has the advantage of being well suited both for
theoretical linguistic work and for computational implementations.
HPSG can be defined as a constraint-based, lexicalist approach to
grammatical theory. It is based on the assumption that human
linguistic sentence processing has a powerful lexical basis. It is
for this reason that its notion of phrase structure is built around
the concept of a lexical head which encodes information that
determines crucial grammatical properties of the phrase it
projects. Furthermore, HPSG is a surface-based grammar formalism in
that it provides a direct characterization of the actual surface order
of string elements in a sentence. It can also be viewed as a
declarative approach to grammar since the association between strings
and informational elements are defined in terms of what
associations are possible and not how they are computed. The
HPSG informational elements are feature structures, which are
partial function from features to their value.
The implementation of HPSG grammar fragments will be conducted within
the processing system
HDrug, which has been developed at the University of Groningen for
formalization and visualisation of constraint-based grammars.
The course will compare HPSG to another grammatical model, that is
Tree Adjoining Grammar (TAG).
Skills/Knowledge that the students are going to acquire during
- general knowledge of the computational properties of HPSG and
TAG and of their similarities and differences;
- general knowledge of the way specific linguistic phenomena are
formalized and implemented in unification based grammar models acquired by
means of self investigation of already implemented grammar fragments;
- relation between the two grammar models and their use in the language
- hands-on experience with the implementation of a
(unification-based) grammar fragment;
- presentation of papers by means of visual tools;
- writing of a scientific article.
[ Dutch version ]
Books and papers
The books/papers listed below are meant for reference. Only selected chapters
will be used during the course.
Abeille' A. 1993.
Les Nouvelles Syntaxes, Grammaires d'unification et analyse du
francaise. Paris: Armand Colin.
(Introduction contains an overview of the development of
Pollard C. and I. Sag (1987)
Information based syntax and
Pollard C. and I. Sag (1994)
Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Stanford:
Sag I. and T. Wasow (1999)
Syntactic Theory. A formal introduction. Stanford:
(Appendix on the development of Generative Grammar)
Shieber S. (1986)
An introduction to unification-based approaches to
Various grammar formalisms- webpages
HPSG - Logical foundations
Various grammar implementation tools - webpages
Material for making slides for the presentation
|| 18-11 until 20-1
|| BG 048 (Uithof)
|| 20-11 until 22-1
|| KNG 66, 005
Onderwijsvorm: 4 uur hoorcollege en 2 uur werkcollege
||Introduction to unification grammars. History:
unification grammars as a criticism to
Transformational grammars and a way to formalize
grammars. Development: DCG,FUG,PATR. Different types
of formal grammars. Exercises and discussion.
||Features to represent linguistic information. Way
features are used in various grammar
formalisms. Feature theory. Unification. Subsumption.
Exercises and discussion.
||HPSG - general description. Linguistic signs as
typed feature structures. The use of types and
inheritance. Exercises and discussion.
||Features used to represent linguistic information
in HPSG. Different kinds of features: atomic,
complex. Lexical entries in HPSG.
Lexical entries in HPSG. The schemas of immediate
dominance and the principles that govern the good
formation of the phrases.
|| Lexical entries in HPSG
|| Generalizations in the lexicon. Morphology in
|| Morphology + determiners.
Dterminers + complementizers + modifiers
|| Long distance dependencies.
|| TEST: 10-13 Trans I, B
|| Raising and control.
|| TAG: general principles.
||HPSG vs. TAG: a comparison of the general principles.
|| Presentation and discussion of HPSG papers.
|| Presentation and discussion of HPSG papers.
|| KNG 80, zaal 012
||15.00 - 17.00
In the werkcollege we will have hands-on sessions to get acquainted
with the implementation of HPSG grammars. The system HDrug will be
adopted to implement the phenomena discussed during the hoorcollege.
The Final Project consists in a paper of max. 4 pages in which
the students, working in couples, can choose among one of the following
- discussion of the formalization and/or the implementation of a
phenomenon of choice in one of the grammar models presented during the
course (on the basis of existing articles/implementations);
- comparison between the formalization of a phenomenon already
analyzed during the course with the formalization of the same
phenomenon either in TAG or in the Minimalist Programme or in
- Test = 30%
- Eindopdracht = 20%
- Practicum = 20%
- Presentatie + class participation = 30%
In order to pass the course you have to have at least a 5.5.
You can find the results of the course here.
Check het rooster op de CKI web-pagina.