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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

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Discussion Details

Title: Re: A Challenge to the Minimalist Community
Submitter: John Goldsmith
Description: Just a brief comment on a remark made by Ash Asudeh:

"All grammars, those used in statistical parsing or otherwise, attempt
to reject ungrammatical sentences: Nobody wants their
grammar/parser to overgenerate. Even if the claim is true of statistical
parsers (I don't think it is), it certainly isn't true of the LFG and HPSG
parsers and grammars noted above."

That's not quite right. There is not universal agreement to the position
that the ability to distinguish grammatical from ungrammatical
sentences is an important function to be able to model directly,
whether we are looking at humans or at software. There are certainly
various serious parsing systems whose goal is to be able to parse, as
best they can, any linguistic material that is given to them -- and
arguably, that is what we speakers do too. I think of Microsoft
Research's NLPWin parser as an example of such a system.

Needless to say, the disagreement about this point brings into play a
lot of very serious questions, and I think both sides of the question I
mentioned take reasonable positions -- but my point here is to
emphasize that Ash Sudeh's point represents one side of an issue,
not both sides.
Date Posted: 05-May-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
Discipline of Linguistics
LL Issue: 16.1432
Posted: 05-May-2005

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