Metagrammar Engineering: Towards systematic exploration of implemented grammars

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


When designing grammars of natural language,
typically, more than one formal analysis
can account for a given phenomenon.
Moreover, because analyses interact, the
choices made by the engineer influence the
possibilities available in further grammar development.
The order in which phenomena
are treated may therefore have a major impact
on the resulting grammar. This paper proposes
to tackle this problem by using metagrammar
development as a methodology for grammar
engineering. I argue that metagrammar engineering
as an approach facilitates the systematic
exploration of grammars through comparison
of competing analyses. The idea is illustrated
through a comparative study of auxiliary
structures in HPSG-based grammars for
German and Dutch. Auxiliaries form a central
phenomenon of German and Dutch and
are likely to influence many components of
the grammar. This study shows that a special
auxiliary+verb construction significantly
improves efficiency compared to the standard
argument-composition analysis for both parsing
and generation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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