Linguistics 471: Grammar Engineering

Lab 4 Due 5/2

Read all the way through the assignment once before starting it. Once again I'll be asking for write ups, differing slightly depending on which pieces of this assignment are relevant to your language. Watch for the flag "write-up" (in red) as you read the assignment.


The goal of this lab is to be able to parse the two sentences I can eat glass. It doesn't hurt me., and assign them appropriate semantics. You have already done some of the work: from previous labs, your grammar should already handle pronouns, case (if applicable), and transitive verbs. You should already have most of the vocabulary required (except can and not). You may need to add the appropriate verb forms, and may get inspired to add some lexical rules for verbal agreement in the process (if applicable, and if you haven't already).

You will need to add a treatment of however your language expresses the modal meaning {\it can} and of sentential negation. The instructions below outline several possibilities. If none of them fit what's going on in your language, contact me (preferably by email before Wednesday's lab).

Semantic representations

Your semantic representations for the two sentences should look approximately like this. Acceptable forms of deviation would be: different quantifier relations (since not everyone has the same inventory), the variables (e's, x's, and h's) showing up with different numbers, and the SEMSORT information showing up in different places (it goes on the first instance of the variable, not on any particular relation, so depending on your word order, it might look different). The representations given here are copied from what the menu option "indexed MRS" produces.

Updated matrix.tdl available

can as an auxiliary verb

Use this version if in your language the morpheme expressing the same notion as can is a separate word which takes a VP complement and a subject.

can as a bound morpheme

Use this version if the morpheme expressing the same meaning as can in your language attaches morphologically to the main verb of the sentence.

Negation as an adverb modifier

Use this version if your language expresses sentential negation via an adverb which modifies the V, VP or S.

(Note: English has two forms of sentential negation "contracted", which is actually an affix on the verb, cf. Zwicky and Pullum 1983, and the full-form adverb. This adverb is not actually treated syntactically as a modifier in sentential negation, but rather selected by auxiliary verbs, including the do of do-support. For the details of this analysis, see Sag, Wasow and Bender 2003 chapter 13 and Kim and Sag 1995. I would be surprised if another language being treated in this class had a system very similar to the English one, as it seems like a pretty quirky part of English grammar. Further, it's a subtle matter to establish what is actually going on in English, and I don't think anyone would have time in one week to show the same about another language.)

Negation as a verbal affix

Use this version if your language expresses sentential negation by adding a morpheme to the main verb.

Two-part negation

Use this version if your language expresses negation with both an affix on the verb and an adverb (e.g., French ne ... pas). If both elements are arguably affixes, you probably just want to write a pair of lexical rules, i.e., take the "Negation as a verbal affix" route, but write two rules and make sure you can require that they both apply or neither apply.

Test your grammar and try generating!

Write up

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