LINGUIST List 3.373

Tue 28 Apr 1992

FYI: Software, Nameserver

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Alvey Natural Language Tools (3rd release)
  2. "Norval Smith, problem with the linguists nameserver

Message 1: Alvey Natural Language Tools (3rd release)

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 92 11:52:28 +0Alvey Natural Language Tools (3rd release)
From: <>
Subject: Alvey Natural Language Tools (3rd release)


A third release of the Alvey Natural Language Tools (ANLT) is now
available. The UK Alvey Programme originally funded three projects at
the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh and Lancaster to provide
tools for use in natural language processing research. The DTI and
SERC has funded their continued support and enhancement. The tools, a
individually as well as together (integrated by a GRAMMAR DEVELOPMENT
ENVIRONMENT) forming a complete system for the morphological,
syntactic and semantic analysis of a considerable subset of English.


The ANLT system is available by anonymous FTP from Cambridge
University, Computer Laboratory. The files containing grammars,
lexicons and source code are encrypted, however, reports describing
the system, specimen licence agreement and other information is not.
If after examining the documentation, you wish to purchase a licence
for use of the system for research purposes, you should complete and
sign the specimen agreement and return it together with a cheque for
the amount specified in the agreement (currently 500 ECU -- 100 ECU
upgrade -- or local currency equivalent) to:

Lynxvale WCIU Programs
20 Trumpington St.
Cambridge, CB2 1QA, UK
Fax: +223 332797

On receipt Lynxvale will send you (by letter) the key which can be used
in conjunction with the software provided to decrypt the remaining


The MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSER provides a set of mechanisms for the
analysis of complex word forms. The analyser requires data files
specifying a lexicon of base morphemes, rules governing spelling
changes when concatenating morphemes, and rules describing valid
combinations of morphemes in complex words. The tools include a
description of English morphology in this form. The analyser should be
capable, though, when provided with the necessary linguistic analyses,
of being used for most European languages and many others.

There are two alternative PARSERS. The main one is an optimized chart
parser, incorporating a 'packing' mechanism (making it much more
efficient when parsing sentences containing multiple local
ambiguities). The other parser is a non-deterministic LALR(1) parser
which seems, in most cases, to be even more efficient than the chart

The GRAMMAR is a wide-coverage syntactic and semantic grammar of
English, written in a metagrammatical formalism derived from
Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar. Full coverage is provided of the
following constructions and their combinations:

 - all sentence types: declaratives, imperatives and questions (yes/no,
 tag and wh questions),
 - all unbounded dependency types: topicalisation, relativisation, wh
 - a relatively exhaustive treatment of verb and adjective complement
 - phrasal and prepositional verbs of many complement types,
 - passivisation, verb phrase extraposition,
 - sentence and verb phrase modification,
 - noun phrase complements,
 - noun phrase pre- and post-modification,
 - partitives,
 - coordination of all major category types,
 - nominal and adjectival comparatives.

The LEXICON contains 40,000 homonyms (63,000 entries in total) in the
form required by the morphological analyser.

The GRAMMAR DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT gives access to all of the other
components of the tools, allowing grammars to be input, edited, and
browsed; it also compiles them into the base grammatical formalism
used by the parsers, and provides extensive grammar debugging
facilities. A simple quantifier scoping and post-processing module is
supplied as an example of how the result of parsing a sentence can be
converted into a representation suitable for further semantic and
pragmatic processing.

All of the software components are written in Common Lisp and have
been tested in several implementations on a wide range of machines.

Some published references to these projects can be found in:

Briscoe, E., C. Grover, B. Boguraev & J. Carroll, 'A Formalism and
Environment for the Development of a Large Grammar of English',
Proceedings of 10th International Joint Conference on Artificial
Intelligence, Milan, 1987, pp. 703-708.

Ritchie, G., G. Russell, A. Black & S. Pulman, 'Computational
Morphology: Practical Mechanisms for the English Lexicon', MIT Press,

Technical reports describing the system in detail are available via
FTP as detailed in the file `instruct' (and Annex A of the licence


ANLT distribution arrangements and instructions, and a machine-readable
specimen licence agreement are available in files on the FTP server (

To fetch this information use anonymous FTP (login with user name
anonymous, and password your e-mail address), go to the directory
`nltools', and fetch the files

licence a machine-readable specimen licence agreement
instruct instructions on how to FTP technical reports and the ANLT itself

The following example shows how to fetch these files:

$ ftp
Connected to
220- FTP server (Version 5.60+UA) ready.
Name ( anonymous
Password ( <type your e-mail address here>
ftp> cd nltools
250 CWD command successful.
ftp> get licence
ftp> get instruct
ftp> quit
221 Goodbye.

(The $ is the Unix shell command prompt). If the FTP command does not
know about the address, try giving the command the
internet number ( instead. If you still have problems, or
FTP is not available to you, then you can obtain the ANLT on magnetic
tape by writing to Lynxvale WCIU Programs at the address given above
(specifying the type of tape and format you require).
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Message 2: problem with the linguists nameserver

Date: Wed, 22 Apr 92 16:11 MET
From: "Norval Smith <>
Subject: problem with the linguists nameserver

On the 20th and 21st our local mainframe developed a problem, which resulted
in 20-30 nameserver requests going unanswered. If the people who sent these
requests could submit them again, I hope that they will now receive an
answer. The experts claim that the problem is now solved.

Norval Smith
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