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Asymmetries in Natural Languages and the Performance Systems
Major Collaborative Research Project
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
1998-2003


This major collaborative research seeks to define the asymmetries proper to the grammar of natural languages, in spite of the linguistic diversity, and the treatment of these asymmetries by the performance systems, that is, the systems that provide the conceptual and acoustic interpretations to linguistic expressions.

Asymmetry is an essential concept in current linguistic research, as it offers an explanation to the existence of constraints on the fusion of the linguistic categories, their dependency, and their linear order (Chomsky, 1995; Kayne, 1994). It is also important in computational linguistics, which integrates the current developments of linguistic theories in computational models (Berwick, 1991; Berwick and Weinberg, 1997). A typical model includes axiomatization of a grammar and a set of heuristics that associate one or more formal representations to the expressions submitted to processing. Notwithstanding the progress achieved in these fields, the nature of the configurations interpretable by the performance systems is yet to be defined. Our research provides a strong hypothesis in this respect, stating that only asymmetrical configurations are interpretable in an optimal way.


VRQ - Natural Language Processing
Major Collaborative Research Project on Natural Language Processing
Funded by Valorisation Recherche Québec

This program is part of a major collaborative research project (MCRP) on natural language processing, on which the theory of the asymmetry of grammar was based. The theory of asymmetry targets the properties of interpretable linguistic representations by the performance systems (Di Sciullo, 1999, in press). We defined the motivation for the theory of parsing by the recovery of local asymmetrical relations. We developed a prototype of morphological analyzer, which is a transparent implantation of the theory of morphological asymmetry (Di Sciullo, 1995). This prototype analyzes the argument structures of complex lexical expressions automatically (Di Sciullo and Fong, 1999, demonstrator available). We equally developed an aspectual-conceptual parser for complex morphological expressions, which is integrated into a system of information processing by way of a specialized module (Di Sciullo 1998, demonstrator available). We are currently trying to develop the empirical coverage of our theory, the robustness of the prototypes and their integration in a search engine.

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