Linguistics 567: Knowledge Engineering for NLP

Lab 7 Due 2/18


This lab has four goals:

Run a baseline test suite

Before making any changes to your grammar for this lab, run a baseline test suite instance. If you decide to add items to your test suite for the material covered here, consider doing so before modifying your grammar so that your baseline can include those examples. (Alternatively, if you add examples in the course of working on your grammar and want to make the snapshot later, you can do so using the grammar you turned in for Lab 6.)

Matrix Patch

I have made some updates to the lexical rule types in matrix.tdl. Before you start this week's lab:

Semantic representations

The semantics for declarative and interrogative clauses will be the same except for the value of the feature SF (sentential force) on the event index of the main predicate.

Embedded clauses should have their local top handle related to an ARGn position in the embedding verb's relation through a qeq. EB TODO Add example here

Matrix yes-no questions

For some of you, the customization script provided the right kind of matrix yes-no questions. Examine the behavior of you grammar on relevant sentences to discover whether this is so. Note that if you have no syntactic difference between matrix yes-no questions and matrix declaratives, your grammar should be giving all such clauses the SF value 'prop-or-ques'.

If your language's strategy for matrix yes-no questions was not covered by the customization script, you'll need to add them now. Here are some descriptions of how to handle strategies that I'm aware of but haven't yet put into the customization script.

Interrogative matrix clauses: Verbal inflection

If you language marks matrix interrogatives with inflection on the verb, try to determine whether that inflection unambiguously marks interrogatives. If so, create a lexical rule (inflectional, add-only, no-ccont, ltol or ltow accoring to how it fits in with the rest of your rules) which adds the inflection and constrains the INDEX.SF of the verb to question.

If, on the other hand, that same inflectional marker is also used in other constructions, you may wish to pursue this alternative treatment:

Interrogative matrix clauses: Markers on either end

This option is for languages that mark interrogatives with particles on either end of the clause (or alternatively, with intonation or [in signed languages] non-manual signs which extend the length of the clause and are represented in transcription with markers on either end). Rather than attach one of these markers before the other, the most straight-forward thing appears to be to create a ternary rule. I've added some types supporting ternary rules to the matrix (included in the patch provided above).

We're going to take a construction-y approach to analysis, creating a phrase structure rule which calls for specific elements in two of the three daughters and does the right thing in the semantics itself. Specifically, do the following:

Clause embedding verbs

We will be using clausal complements as our example of embedded clauses. To do so, we need to create clause-embedding verbs. First, find examples of verbs that can embed propositions and verbs that can embed questions. If you also find verbs that are happy to embed either, we can make use of them. For inspiration, you can look here or here.

If your matrix and embedded clauses look the same, you should be able to test this immediately. If not, you'll have to wait until you've implemented the syntax for your embedded clauses.


Some languages mark embedded clauses (declaractive, interrogative or both) with complementizers (e.g., that and whether in English). To implement this, you'll need to do the following. (If your language also marks matrix questions with a question particle, you have some of the following in your grammar already.)

Test your embedded clauses. Do they parse as expected? Can you still generate?

The feature MC

If your matrix and embedded clauses have different syntactic properties (e.g., presence v.\ absence of complementizers), you'll need to constrain things so that the embedded clause syntax only appears in embedded clauses and vice versa for matrix clause syntax. There are three resources for doing so:

If the difference is strictly S v. CP, you don't need the feature MC. Otherwise, you probably will need all three: The root condition will require [MC +], the embedding verb will require [MC -], and the constructions/lexical rules/etc which create the embedded and matrix clauses themselves should set appropriate values for MC.

Be sure your test suite contains negative examples illustrating matrix clause syntax in embedded clauses and vice versa.


One common way to create imperatives is to leave off the subject, perhaps in conjunction with a particular verb form. To handle this:

If your language marks imperatives with some sort of particle, see if you can treat it as a kind of a complementizer (see instructions on complementizers above).

If your language does something else, talk to me :)

Test your grammar

Write up

Submit via ESubmit

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