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Publication Details

Logic For Natural Language Analysis

by Pereira, Fernando

Technical Note 275
Institution: AI Center, SRI International
Address: 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Jan 1983.

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Abstract

This work investigates the use of formal logic as a practical tool for describing the syntax and semantics of a subset of English, and building a computer program to answer data base queries expressed in that subset. To achieve an intimate connection between logical descriptions and computer programs, all the descriptions given are in the definite clause subset of the predicate calculus, which is the basis of the programming language Prolog. The logical descriptions run directly as efficient Prolog programs. Three aspects of the use of logic in natural language analysis are covered: formal representation of syntactic rules by means of a grammar formalism based on logic, extraposition grammars; formal semantics for the chosen English subset, appropriate for data base queries; informal semantic and pragmatic rules to translate analyzed sentences into their formal semantics. On these three aspects, the work improves and extends earlier work by Colmerauer and others, where the use of computational logic in language analysis was first introduced.

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