Lab 1 (due 1/7), 11:59pm

NB The lab assignments will typically include write up instructions at the end. Before you start, read the whole assignment once, including the write-up instructions, so you know what to keep track of along the way.

In addition: I will attempt to post the lab rubrics as each lab is posted, so that you can see what is expected (and what would be going above and beyond). For Lab 1, this is directly in Canvas, associated with the assignment.

Find a partner and choose your language

This year again Ling 567 will be focused solely on field languages and working from automatically generated first-pass grammar specifications (choices files). I have collected resources for the following languages, listed in priority order:


By the end of this week, all students will need to have found a partner to work with, and we'll need to figure out which language each group is doing. If you have a particular preference or connection to any of the above languages, please let me know. There's a Canvas discussion for this topic that we can use to coordinate.

If we manage to get this done sooner, I encourage you to spend some time this week familiarizing yourself with the materials (descriptive grammar) for your language.

Grammar Customization: Get a small grammar for English

Emacs: Getting started

I strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with emacs at the very start of the quarter. Here's one tutorial and another. Or, you can do the tutorial within emacs by typing "Control-h" and then "t".

LKB: Getting started

Try interactive unification

These instructions assume you are using the LUI interface, which I believe is on by default. If they don't make sense, try invoking (lui-initialize) at the LKB prompt (the *) in emacs.

Chain of identities

In the MRS assigned by this grammar to A cat chased me, the ARG0 value the _cat_n_rel is associated with the ARG1 value of the _chase_v_rel (that is, the cat is doing the chasing). In this part of the assignment, you will trace the chain of identities that connects these two.

Note that in addition to exploring the supertypes by searching through the .tdl files, you can also look at them through the LKB. For example, think of the constraint that you expect the lexical entry for "cat" to be contributing. Then:

Write up

Please submit write-ups as plain text files. (In future labs, that will help me run example sentences through your grammar.)

Your write up should include:

  1. The four sentences you found that parse.
  2. The two (or more) strings you found that didn't parse.
  3. The names of the rules you used in interactive unification to see why they didn't parse.
  4. The tdl snippets that lead to the conflicting constraints for each non-parsing string, along with a prose description of what they do.
  5. A description of TWO STEPS in the chain of identities linking the ARG0 of _cat_n_rel to the ARG1 of _chase_v_rel in A cat chased me. Each link in the chain should say which instance is involved (e.g., lexical entry for cat), which supertype it inherits the constraint from, and show the tdl for the constraint. In addition, you should indicate which identity tag is enforcing the constraint. Your description should take the form of a numbered list.

    This chain is very long and has a lot of links. I'm only asking you to document two of them here (other than the one given below). To help you out, and to give you a sense of the format I'm expecting, here's one of them. (I picked this one because it is possibly the most obscure.)

    The head-spec phrase structure rule inherits the following
    constraints from basic-head-spec-phrase:
        HEAD-DTR [ SYNSEM [ LOCAL [ CONT.HOOK #hdhook ],
    	 [ LOCAL [ CAT [ VAL [ SPEC < [ LOCAL [ CONT.HOOK #hdhook ] > ] ],
                       CONT.HOOK #hook ] ],
        C-CONT [ HOOK #hook ] ].
    identifying the C-CONT.HOOK of the rule with the HOOK of the non-head
    daughter via #hook, and identifying the CONT.HOOK of the head daughter
    with the CONT.HOOK value inside the non-head daughter's SPEC via #hdhook.
  6. At least three questions that this lab caused you to wonder about. (Please indicate if you've figured out the answers, or if you would still like to see them addressed. Also note that it's fine to include here questions you posted to Canvas while doing the assignment!)
  7. If you were unable to complete any part of the assignment, a description of the problems you encountered and what you think might be going on. (You can earn partial credit for any part of the assignment you couldn't get working by describing it in this section.)

Submit your assignment

Last modified: