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5 - Linguistic applications

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 developed an elaborate theory of unification grammars, motivated by the failure of context-free grammars to capture some of the linguistic generalizations one would like to express with respect to natural languages. In this chapter, we put the theory to use by accounting for several of the phenomena that motivated the construction. Specifically, we account for all the language fragments discussed in Section 1.3.

Much of the appeal of unification-based approaches to grammar stems from their ability to a account for linguistic phenomena in a concise way; in other words, unification grammars facilitate the expression of linguistic generalizations. This is mediated through two main mechanisms: First, the notion of grammatical category is expressed via feature structures, thereby allowing for complex categories as first-class citizens of the grammatical theory. Second, reentrancy provides a concise machinery for expressing “movement,” or more generally, relations that hold in a deeper level than a phrase-structure tree. Still, the formalism remains monostratal, without any transformations that yield a surface structure from some other structural representation.

Complex categories are used to express similarities between utterances that are not identical. With atomic categories of the type employed by context free grammars, two categories can be either identical or different. With feature structures as categories, two categories can be identical along one axis but different along another.

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Unification Grammars , pp. 165 - 212
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • Linguistic applications
  • 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/CBO9781139013574.006
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  • Linguistic applications
  • 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/CBO9781139013574.006
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.

  • Linguistic applications
  • 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/CBO9781139013574.006
Available formats
×