Parsing and Generating English Using Commutative Transformations

Unknown author (1982-05-01)

This paper is about an implemented natural language interface that translates from English into semantic net relations and from semantic net relations back into English. The parser and companion generator were implemented for two reasons: (a) to enable experimental work in support of a theory of learning by analogy; (b) to demonstrate the viability of a theory of parsing and generation built on commutative transformations. The learning theory was shaped to a great degree by experiments that would have been extraordinarily tedious to perform without the English interface with which the experimental data base was prepared, revise, and revised again. Inasmuch as current work on the learning theory is moving toward a tenfold increase in data-base size, the English interface is moving from a facilitating role to an enabling one. The parsing and generation theory has two particularly important features: (a) the same grammar is used for both parsing and generation; (b) the transformations of the grammar are commutative. The language generation procedure converts a semantic network fragment into kernel frames, chooses the set of transformations that should be performed upon each frame, executes the specified transformations, combines the altered kernels into a sentence, performs a pronominalization process, and finally produces the appropriate English word string. Parsing is essentially the reverse of generation. The first step in the parsing process is splitting a given sentence into a set of kernel clauses along with a description of how those clauses hierarchically related to each other. The clauses are hierarchically related to each other. The clauses are used to produce a matrix embedded kernel frames, which in turn supply arguments to relation-creating functions. The evaluation of the relation-creating functions results in the construction of the semantic net fragments.