Longuet-Higgins, H.C.

Question-answering in English


To illustrate how this may be done in very simple cases we give rules which translate 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 of the declaratives. John kissed Mary (1) Did John kiss Mary? (5) We begin by describing a method for translating a modest subset of English into a slightly modified first-order predicate calculus -- modified just enough to provide a representation for questions. We would like to have rules which transcribe such declarative sentences into predicate calculus formulae, such as VxMxj (7') 3x-- The matrix will be preceded by a string of quantifiers and negations -- and possibly a question mark; we have found that the transcription rules which appear below produce unique and acceptable orderings of these symbols from unambiguous sentences of the specified type.