LINGUIST List 6.353

Sat 11 Mar 1995

FYI: Yuen Ren Chao, AGFL Home Page, Ling in science fiction

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. David Prager Branner, Yuen Ren Chao
  2. Erik Oltmans, Release of AGFL Home Page
  3. Thomas B Ernst, re: linguistics in science fiction

Message 1: Yuen Ren Chao

Date: Sun, 5 Mar 1995 18:19:13 -Yuen Ren Chao
From: David Prager Branner <>
Subject: Yuen Ren Chao

Content-Length: 311

There is an appreciation of the work of Yuen Ren Chao (1892-1982) on the
Web at:

Your comments are welcome.

David Prager Branner, Yuen Ren Society
Asian L&L, DO-21, University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195 (
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Message 2: Release of AGFL Home Page

Date: Wed, 08 Mar 95 10:15:42 10Release of AGFL Home Page
From: Erik Oltmans <>
Subject: Release of AGFL Home Page

This message announces the release of the World Wide Web Home Page
of AGFL (Affix Grammars over a Finite Lattice).


The AGFL formalism, developed at the University of Nijmegen,
The Netherlands, is a formalism in which context free grammars
can be described compactly. AGFLs are two level grammars: a first,
context free level is augmented with features for expressing
agreement between parts of speech. Features are treated as types,
and their values may range over the subsets of a given finite set,
which explains the acronym Affix Grammars over a Finite Lattice.

AGFL grammars are transformed into a parser by the parser generator
OPT. The generated parser is a Recursive Backup parser which computes
the values of the affixes on the fly. In this way, fast and efficient
parsers can be generated. The formalism is quite simple and limited,
and therefore easy to read and write.

AGFL comes with a Grammar WorkBench GWB, supporting the development
of grammars and the checking of their consistency.

The AGFL formalism does not require any special hardware. The parser
generator OPT runs on regular SPARC-systems and MS-DOS machines (386
or higher) and is relatively small. For instance, the MS-DOS version
requires less than 1 Mb harddisk space.

2. AGFL on the Web

AGFL has now been made available to the (computational) linguistic
community. We think it can be used by (computational) linguists who
are in need of a simple grammar formalism with a fast parser generator,
suitable for experimental purposes.

Therefore, we have made AGFL available via FTP and, recently, via WWW.

The AGFL Home Page contains information about the AGFL formalism like
the AGFL manual, documentation and papers, sample grammars and the
latest developments. There is also the possibility to download the
software and to register yourself as an AGFL user.

You are invited to take a look at the Home Page and to read the
information or to download the software. Please feel free to make
use of AGFL and its Home Page; we look forward to hear about your

We are currently planning an AGFL workshop in June. The latest news
about this workshop can also be found on the AGFL Home Page.

The URL of the AGFL Home Page is:

The address of the FTP-site is:

The organisation of the WWW page should be self-explanatory. The
structure of the FTP-site is as follows:

 - readme
 - DOC : this directory contains a number of relevant papers
 - PC386 : this directory contains software for MS-DOS machines and
 an installation guide.
 - SUN4 : this directory contains software for SPARC-stations and
 an installation guide.

Any questions or remarks with respect to AGFL or the AGFL Home Page can
be sent to:

On behalf of the AGFL team,

Erik Oltmans
Department of Computer Science
University of Nijmegen
The Netherlands
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Message 3: re: linguistics in science fiction

Date: Sun, 5 Mar 1995 14:25:30 -re: linguistics in science fiction
From: Thomas B Ernst <>
Subject: re: linguistics in science fiction

With regard to Mike Maxwell's recent posting about linguistics in
science fiction, there is a very funny and interesting piece by
Brian Aldiss called "Confluence", consisting entirely of a lexicon
of words in an alien language, tentatively translated into English.
It's in Judith Merril, ed., SF 12, Dell, N.Y., 1968.

Tom Ernst
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