Natural Language Engineering



On building a more effcient grammar by exploiting types


DAN FLICKINGER a1
a1 Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; e-mail: dan@csli.stanford.edu

Abstract

Modern grammar development platforms often support multiple devices for representing properties of a natural language, giving the grammar writer some freedom in implementing analyses of linguistic phenomena. These design alternatives can have dramatic consequences for efficiency both in processing and in grammar building. In this paper I report on three experiments in making systematic modifications to a broad-coverage grammar of English in order to gain efficiency without loss of linguistic elegance. While the experiments are to some degree both platform-dependant and theory-bound, the kinds of modifications reported should be applicable to any unification-based grammar which makes use of types. The results make a strong case for a more visible role for the linguist in the collaborative effort to achieve greater processing efficiency.

(Received November 7 1999)
(Revised March 2 2000)