Longuet-Higgins, H.C.

Question-answering in English


The problem we consider in this paper is that of discovering formal ruleswhich will enable us to decide when a question posed in English can beanswered on the basis of one or more declarative English sentences. Toillustrate how this may be done in very simple cases we give rules whichtranslate certain declarative sentences and questions involving the quantifiers'some', 'every', 'any', and 'no' into a modified first-order predicate calculus,and answer the questions by comparing their translated forms with those ofthe declaratives. We suggest that in order to capture the meanings of morecomplex sentences it will be necessary to go beyond the first-order predicatecalculus, to a notation in which the scope of words other than quantifiersand negations is clearly indicated.Machine Intelligence 6