Dewar, Hamish

The Syntactic Analysis of English by Machine


INTRODUCTION In this paper we describe a program which will assign deep and surface structure analyses to an infinite number of English sentences.1 The design of this program differs in several respects from that of other automatic parsers presently in existence. Among the most notable of these features is the program's ability to assign syntactic labels to an infinite number of words while operating with a finite dictionary. But undoubtedly the most important decision that resulted from our attempt to construct a model for the perception of syntactic structure was our decision that the program should assign both deep and surface structure analyses to sentences. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the efficiency with which human beings recognize the syntactic structure of sentences is to some extent the result of their ability, having heard part of a sentence, to predict the structure of the remainder.