LINGUIST List 10.412

Thu Mar 18 1999

FYI: Corpora, Grammatical Framework, Syntax

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>


  1. Jean Carletta, Summary of spoken dialogue corpus annotations
  2. Aarne Ranta, GF - Grammatical Framework
  3. Lotfi, Minimalist Program Revisited

Message 1: Summary of spoken dialogue corpus annotations

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 11:08:03 +0000
From: Jean Carletta <>
Subject: Summary of spoken dialogue corpus annotations

The MATE project (Telematics LE4-8370) aims to facilitate re-use of
language resources by addressing the problems of creating, acquiring, and
maintaining spoken dialogue corpora. As part of the project, we have
put together a summary of coding schemes, concentrating on prosody,
(morpho-) syntax, co-reference, dialogue acts, and communicative
difficulties. I have been requested to advertise this summary more widely
because some of the community has found the summary quite useful
(especially regarding dialogue acts). The summary can be found at

as deliverable 1.1. We invite comments about either the deliverable
or the project, of course.

Jean Carletta

Human Communication Research Centre
University of Edinburgh
2 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh EH8 9LW
Phone: +44 (0)131 650-4438
Fax: +44 (0)131 650-4587
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Message 2: GF - Grammatical Framework

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 12:24:15 +0100
From: Aarne Ranta <>
Subject: GF - Grammatical Framework

FYI: GF - Grammatical Framework

GF is a framework for writing grammars. Its intended use is to define
fragments of natural languages for specific technical domains, with a
semantic control of content. Moreover, GF supports multilinguality:
grammars may differ a lot intheir concrete syntax, and still share an
abstract GF structure. GF is also suitable for the description of
formal languages, so that GF helps in interfacing formal notations
with natural language.

GF is a synthesis of two traditions, logical and linguistic. From the
linguistic point of view, GF is a grammar formalism: it permits a
declarative definition of grammars, for which it provides generic
parsing and generation algorithms. From the logical point of view, GF
is a logical framework (hence its name): it permits type-checking
algorithm and an interactive type-driven syntax editor.

GF has had experimental applications at Xerox Research Centre Europe
(XRCE) and at NTC/HUT (Nokia Telecommunications and Helsinki
University of Technology). At XRCE, GF is being applied in the
prototyping of multilingual documentation systems. Small GF grammars
have been written for several languages: English, Finnish, French,
German, Italian, and Swedish. At NTC/HUT, GF is used in the design of
a persistent industrial functional programming language, for which it
provides a concrete syntax and a type-checker at the same time.

Developers: Aarne Ranta (XRCE), with a typechecker by Petri Menp (NTC)

Freely distributed Haskell source and Unix binaries (Solaris and Linux),
as well as documentation, are available at the GF home page 
Related publications:

 Aarne Ranta: Type-Theoretical Grammar (Oxford University Press, 1994) 
 (on the semantic theory underlying GF)
 (general information on logical frameworks)
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Message 3: Minimalist Program Revisited

Date: 14 Mar 1999 22:11:56 EDT
From: Lotfi <>
Subject: Minimalist Program Revisited

Hello every body,

Recently I've been conducting a research on formal features and how
they may affect the structure of sentences. Despite fundamental
agreement with Chomsky's MP framework, I find his thesis of movement
rather faulty in several respects. Please find below the abstract of
my paper "Minimalist Program Revisited: Chomsky's Strength to Trigger
Movement." Those who are interested can send an email to my address
and ask for the ascii version of the whole paper.

A. R. Lotfi
English Department
Azad University


The checking theory in its present form is not explanatorily adequate
as it does not shed light on such questions as why certain formal
features, i.e. [-interpretable] ones, are present after all in the
collection of formal features FF(LI) of a lexical item LI if they are
doomed to be finally deleted and typically erased due to
uninterpretability at LF, why certain features (and not others) happen
to be strong in some languages, and how strength can be defined
without restating the problem in PF convergence terms. Even if we
hypothesize that (strong) un/interpretable are simply there in order
to trigger overt movement, we will end up in some kind of circularity
because we need now to resort to the predestined existence of such
features in order to answer the question of why some elements should
move at all.

The Pooled Features Hypothesis is based on the assumption that the
computational system CHL for human language is economical in its
selection of formal features from the lexicon in the sense that if two
LIs (to be introduced in the same derivation) happen to have some
identical formal features, such features are selected only once but
shared by the syntactic objects in the derivation. It follows that the
objects in question must be as local in their relations as possible.
The locality of relations as such, which is due to economy
considerations, results in some kind of (bare) phrase structure with
pooled features located in the tree as nodes dominating the syntactic
objects. Pooled features, in a sense, are structurally
interpreted. Other features, i.e. those not pooled, have to wait until
interpreted at LF.
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