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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 ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

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Discussion Details

Title: Re: A Challenge to the Minimalist Community
Submitter: Paul Kiparsky
Description: In response to Asudeh, Goldsmith remarks that parsers might not need
to be able to distinguish grammatical from ungrammatical sentences.

  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.

But isn't detection of ungrammaticality necessary for correct
disambiguation? For example, if a parser can't recognize the
ungrammaticality of Chomsky's (2), how can it recognize that
(3) has just one reading, the one corresponding to (1)?

(1) Which violins are these sonatas easy to play on?
(2) *Which sonatas are these violins easy to play on?
(3) What are they easy to play on?
Date Posted: 09-May-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
Discipline of Linguistics
LL Issue: 16.1454
Posted: 09-May-2005

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