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7 - Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2011

Nissim Francez
Affiliation:
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa
Shuly Wintner
Affiliation:
University of Haifa, Israel
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Summary

We have reached the final destination of our journey into unification grammars, and can pause and look back at what we have done. Our main purpose has been the presentation of a powerful formalism for specifying grammars, for both formal and natural languages. In doing so, we intended to combine insights from both linguistics and computer science.

From linguistics, we have adopted various analyses of complex syntactic constructs, such as long-distance dependencies or subject/object control, that prevail in natural languages and are easily recognized as inadequately represented, say, by context-free grammars. Several linguistic theories deal with such constructs; a common denominator of many of them is the use of features (and their values) to capture the properties of strings, based on which a grammar can be specified. However, the use of features is mostly informal. The formalism we presented adopts (from linguistics) feature structures as its main data-structure, but with a rigorous formalization. As a result, claims about grammars can be made and proved. We believe that resorting to proofs (in the mathematical sense) should become a major endeavor in any study of theoretical linguistics, and the ability to prove claims should be a major ingredient in the education of theoretical linguists. By understanding its underlying mathematics, one can better understand the properties of the formalism, recognizing both its strengths and weaknesses as a tool for studying the syntax of natural languages.

From computer science, we took several insights and adapted them to also suit the analysis of natural language.

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Unification Grammars , pp. 275 - 276
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • Conclusion
  • Nissim Francez, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Shuly Wintner, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Book: Unification Grammars
  • Online publication: 25 October 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139013574.008
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  • Conclusion
  • Nissim Francez, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Shuly Wintner, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Book: Unification Grammars
  • Online publication: 25 October 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139013574.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Nissim Francez, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Shuly Wintner, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Book: Unification Grammars
  • Online publication: 25 October 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139013574.008
Available formats
×