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Computationally relevant properties of natural languages and their grammars

Research paper by Gerald Gazdar, Geoffrey K. Pullum

Indexed on: 01 Sep '85Published on: 01 Sep '85Published in: New Generation Computing



Abstract

This paper surveys what is currently known about natural language morphology and syntax from the perspective of formal language theory. Firstly, the position of natural language word-sets and sentence-sets on the formal language hierarchy is discussed. Secondly, the contemporary use by linguists of a range of formal grammars (from finite state transducers to indexed grammars) in both word-syntax (i.e. morphology) and sentencesyntax is sketched. Finally, recent developments such as feature-theory, the use of extension and unification, default mechanisms, and metagrammatical techniques, are outlined.