Grammatical Competence and Parsing Performance

Overview

How does a parser, a device that imposes an analysis on a string of symbols so that they can be interpreted, work? More specifically, how does the parser in the human cognitive mechanism operate? Using a wide range of empirical data concerning human natural language processing, Bradley Pritchett demonstrates that parsing performance depends on grammatical competence, not, as many have thought, on perception, computation, or semantics.

Pritchett critiques the major ...

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Overview

How does a parser, a device that imposes an analysis on a string of symbols so that they can be interpreted, work? More specifically, how does the parser in the human cognitive mechanism operate? Using a wide range of empirical data concerning human natural language processing, Bradley Pritchett demonstrates that parsing performance depends on grammatical competence, not, as many have thought, on perception, computation, or semantics.

Pritchett critiques the major performance-based parsing models to argue that the principles of grammar drive the parser; the parser, furthermore, is the apparatus that tries to enforce the conditions of the grammar at every point in the processing of a sentence. In comparing garden path phenomena, those instances when the parser fails on the first reading of a sentence and must reanalyze it, with occasions when the parser successfully functions the first time around, Pritchett makes a convincing case for a grammar-derived parsing theory. Bradley L. Pritchett is assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226684420
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
List of Abbreviations and Glosses
1 The Garden Path Phenomenon 1
1.0 The Problem 1
1.1 Grammar and Parser 2
1.2 Local and Global Ambiguity 4
1.3 Problematic and Unproblematic Ambiguity 6
1.4 Deep and Surface Factors in Processing Breakdown 7
1.5 Theta Attachment 11
1.6 The Theta Reanalysis Constraint 15
2 Performance-Based Models of Human Natural Language Processing 21
2.0 Perceptual Approaches 21
2.0.1 The Canonical Sentoid Strategy 22
2.0.2 Kimball's Seven Surface Principles 26
2.0.3 The Sausage Machine 30
2.0.4 Steal-NP 36
2.1 Computational Approaches 40
2.1.1 Augmented Transition Networks 41
2.1.2 Deterministic Parsing and Look-Ahead 44
2.1.3 Deterministic Parsing and Minimal Commitment 48
2.2 Lexical Approaches 51
2.2.1 Lexical Functional Grammar 52
2.3 Semantic Approaches 59
2.3.1 Interpretive Islands 59
2.3.2 Semantic Reanalysis Strategies 62
2.4 Summary 66
3 A Grammatical Theory of Processing 68
3.0 Starting Assumptions 68
3.0.1 An Unambiguous Example 69
3.1 Object-Subject Ambiguity 70
3.1.1 Prepositional Object versus Clausal Subject 71
3.1.2 Verbal Complement versus Clausal Subject 74
3.2 Complement Clause-Relative Clause Ambiguity 84
3.3 Matrix Clause-Relative NP Ambiguity 87
3.3.1 Canonical Garden Path Effects 87
3.3.2 Canonical Garden Paths Avoided 91
4 The On-Line Locality Constraint 97
4.0 Ditransitive Ambiguities 97
4.0.1 A False Prediction 98
4.0.2 From the TRC to the On-Line Locality Constraint 100
4.0.3 (Re)Establishing the OLLC 103
4.0.4 Ditransitives Redux 111
4.1 Lexical Ambiguity 120
4.1.1 Intracategorial Ambiguity 121
4.1.2 Structural Ramifications of Lexical Ambiguity 121
4.1.3 Structural Constancy and Multi-Element Chains 128
5 Generalized Theta Attachment 136
5.0 Beyond the Theta Criterion 136
5.0.1 Eliminating Role Content 136
5.1 Adjunct Attachment 143
5.1.1 The Failure of Minimal Attachment 144
5.1.2 Quasi-Arguments 146
5.2 Cross-Linguistic Predictions 149
5.2.1 Mandarin 149
5.2.2 Hebrew 149
5.2.3 German 150
5.2.4 Japanese 151
5.2.5 Korean 154
5.3 Conclusions 154
Notes 157
References 181
Index of Names 187
General Index 189
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