Metagrammar Engineering: Towards systematic exploration of implemented grammars

Antske Fokkens

In: Proceedings of ACL-HLT 2011. Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (ACL-HLT-2011) June 20-22 Portland OR United States Association for Computational Linguistics 2011.


When designing grammars of natural lan- guage, typically, more than one formal anal- ysis can account for a given phenomenon. Moreover, because analyses interact, the choices made by the engineer influence the possibilities available in further grammar de- velopment. The order in which phenomena are treated may therefore have a major impact on the resulting grammar. This paper proposes to tackle this problem by using metagrammar development as a methodology for grammar engineering. I argue that metagrammar engi- neering as an approach facilitates the system- atic exploration of grammars through compar- ison of competing analyses. The idea is illus- trated through a comparative study of auxil- iary structures in HPSG-based grammars for German and Dutch. Auxiliaries form a cen- tral phenomenon of German and Dutch and are likely to influence many components of the grammar. This study shows that a spe- cial auxiliary+verb construction significantly improves efficiency compared to the standard argument-composition analysis for both pars- ing and generation.


P11-1107.pdf (pdf, 132 KB )

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz