Meaning versus grammar

an inquiry into the computation of meaning and the incompleteness of grammar

Crit Cremers; Maarten Hijzelendoorn; Hilke Reckman

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Meaning versus grammar

paperback/ gebrocheerd: € 61.00: GRATIS verzending! (NL)

ISBN: 9789087282127, geïllustreerd, June 2014, Engels
Formaat: 23.4 (h) x 15.6 (b) x 2.1 (d) cm. Gewicht: 540 gram.

Uitgever: Leiden University Press


This research monograph investigates the relation between grammar, computation and meaning in natural languages. It specifies conditions under which meaning-driven processing of natural language is feasible. It discusses an operational and accessible implementation of the grammatical cycle for Dutch: the parsing of a grammar, yielding fully specified semantics, logical inference, and generation from logic by applying grammar again. The book combines an in-depth description of the syntactic, semantic and lexical architecture of the parser and generator with arguments for the following conjectures:
- the proposition associated with a sentence can be represented as a fully-specified conjunction of small clauses, for which a logic is defined.
- the structure of this proposition is independent of the sentence's structure.
- from a structurally independent logical proposition, sentences can be generated that entertain a decidable semantic relation to that proposition.
- underspecified and fully-specified levels of representation are produced by essentially different procedures: graph unification and functional composition, respectively.
- formal grammar enjoys incompleteness: a well-defined class of true assertions on form and meaning can be deduced neither by unification nor by composition.
- the computational, semantic lexicon is essentially phrasal and constructional; it can be organized and accessed efficiently as a non-hierarchical, indexed family of complex phrasal signs.

The book is an effort to prove that both constituency and entailment for natural language are formally computable because they are objects of a different nature and reliable grammar is quintessentially incomplete.

Crit (dr C.L.J.M.) Cremers (1951) is an associate professor in Formal Semantics and Computational Linguistics at Leiden University. His research is in computing categorial grammar and in formal semantics. Together with the second author and many students he designed and constructed the Delilah parser and generator for Dutch.
Maarten (P.M.) Hijzelendoorn (BSc) (1961) is a Senior Software Engineer at the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University. He developed the datastructures and the computational backbone of the Delilah system. He co-authored several articles on computational aspects of the Delilah system.
Hilke (dr. H.G.B.) Reckman (1978) is a senior researcher in the information retrieval industry. Previously, she was post-doctorate researcher at MIT Media Lab. Her 2009 dissertation Flat but not shallow elaborates on the architecture of deep semantic representations for inference in the Delilah system.

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