2001 FoundationsOfCompLing

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Subject Headings: Computational Linguistics, Survey, Left-Associative Grammar, Parsing Task, Word Bank.


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  • About this book: The central task of a future-oriented computational linguistics is the development of cognitive machines which humans can freely talk with in their respective natural language. In the long run, this task will ensure the development of a functional theory of language, an objective method of verification, and a wide range of practical applications.
  • Natural communication requires not only verbal processing, but also non-verbal perception and action. Therefore the content of this textbook is organized as a theory of language for the construction of talking robots. The main topic is the mechanism of natural language communication in both the speaker and the hearer. The book contains more than 700 exercises for reviewing key ideas and important problems.
  • In the 2nd edition, Chapters 22-24 have been completely rewritten. They present a declarative outline for programming the semantic and pragmatic interpretation of natural language communication.
  • Keywords: complexity, computational linguistics, database semantics, human-computer communication, left-associative grammar (LAG), parsing, time-linear navigation, word bank
  • Table of Contents
    • I. Theory of Language: 1. Computational language analysis. 2. Technology and grammar. 3. Cognitive foundations of semantics. 4. Language communication. 5. Using language signs on suitable contexts. 6. Structure and functioning of signs.-
    • II. Theory of Grammar: 7. Generative grammar. 8. Language hierarchies and complexity. 9. Basic notions of parsing. 10. Left-associative grammar (LAG). 11. Hierarchy of LA-grammar. 12. LA- and PS-hierarchies in comparison.-
    • III. Morphology and Syntax: 13. Words and morphemes. 14. Word form recognition in LA-Morph. 15. Corpus analysis. 16. Basic concepts of syntax. 17. LA-syntax for English. 18. LA-syntax for German.-
    • IV. Semantics and Pragmatics: 19. Three system types of semantics. 20. Truth, meaning, and ontology. 21. Absolute and contingent propositions. 22. Database semantics. 23. Structure and functions of a SLIM machine. 24. A formal fragment of natural language.

4 Language communication

4.3 Using literal meaning

  • Dependeing on whether or not the relevant context of use is the current task environment, immediate (unmittlebar/German) and mediated (mittlebar/German) reference are to be distinguished.


  • Immediate reference is the speaker's or hearer's reference to objects in the current task environment.
  • Mediated reference is the speaker's or hearer's reference to objects which are not in the current task environment.
  • In addition to the notion of literal meaning as a property of expression types, there is the notion of speaker meaning as a property of utterances, i.e., actions in which tokens of language expressions are being used. These two notions of meaning apply to two difference kinds of phenomena. They are equally legitimate and equally necessary to explain the function of natural language. For the sake of clear and concise terminology, the literal meaning of language expressions is called meaning_1, while the speaker meaning of utterances is called meaning_2.
  • The functional connection between meaning_1 and meaning_2 is described by the first principle of pragmatics, also called PoP-1.

4.2.2 First Principle of Pragmatics (PoP-1)

  • The speaker's utterance meaning_2 is the use of the sign's literal meaning_1 relative to an internal context.
  • The meaning_1 of an expression exists independently of any contextual substructures that might match it. Conversely, the contextual substructures exist independently of any corresponding meaning_1 of the language. The meaning_2 derived by the hearer is nevertheless called the speaker meaning because the hearer's interpretation is successful only if the speaker's subcontext is reconstructed correctly.

13 Words and morphemes

13.2 Segmentation and concatenation

13.2.2 Examples of Neologisms

  • Just as sentences are composed of word forms rather than words, words forms are composed of allomorphs rather than morphemes. By analogy to the definition of a words, a morpheme is defined as the name of the set of associated allomorphs.

13.2.3 Definition of the Notion - Morpheme

  • Like words forms, allomorphs are formally analyzed as ordered triples, consisting of the surface, the category, and the semantic representation.

13.2.5 Comparsing the morpheme and word wolf

  • morpheme wolf =_def {wolf, wolv} allomorphs.
  • word wolf =_def {wolf, wolf/'s wolv/es, wolv/es/'} word forms.

13.3 Morphemes and allomorphs

  • The number and variation of allomorphs of a given morpheme determine the degree of regularity of the morpheme and - in the case of a free morpheme - the associated word. An example of a regular word is the verb to learn, the morpheme of which is defined as a set contains only one allomorph .
  • A comparatively irregular word, on the other hand, is the verb to swim, the morpheme of which has four allomorphs, namely swim, swimm, swam, and swum, the change of the stem vovel may be found also in other verbs, e.g. sing, sang, sung, and is called ablaut. … Thus we say that swam is an allomorph of the morpheme swim.
  • Cases in which there is no similarity at all between the allomorphs of a given morpheme are called suppletion.
  • While the regular degree in, for example, fast, fast/er, fast/est uses only one allomorph for the stem, the irregular degree in, for examples, good, bett/er, b/est uses several (for practical purposes, one may analyze good, better, best as basic allomorphs without concatenation). Even in a suppletive form like bett, the associated morpheme is readily available as the third element of the ordered triple analysis.
  • In structuralism, morphemes of the open and closed classes are called free morphemes, in contradiction to bound morphemes. A morpheme is free if it can occur as an independent word form. e.g., book. Bound morphemes, on the other hand, are affixes such as the prefixes un-, pre-, dis-, etc. and the suffixes -s, -ed, -ing, etc., which can occur only in combination with free morphemes.



 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
2001 FoundationsOfCompLingRoland HausserFoundations of Computational Linguistics: Human-Computer Communication in Natural Language, 2nd editionhttp://www.springer.com/computer/artificial/book/978-3-540-42417-8