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Natural language & AI

In J. Bresnan (ed.), The mental representation of grammatical relations. Cambridge, MIT Press, 173-281.


Ronald M. Kaplan. Joan Bresnan

Lexical-functional grammar: A formal system for grammatical representation


This paper presents a formalism for representing the native speaker’s syntactic knowledge. In keeping with the Competence Hypothesis, this formalism, called lexical-functional grammar (LFG), has been designed to serve as a medium for expressing and explaining important generalizations about the syntax of human languages and thus to serve as a vehicle for independent linguistic research. Of equal signicance, it is a restricted, mathematically tractable notation for which simple, psychologically plausible processing mechanisms can be defined. Lexical-functional grammar has evolved both from previous research within the transformational framework (e.g. Bresnan and from earlier computational and psycholinguistic investigations (Woods 1970; Kaplan 1972, 1973, 1975a; Wannter and Maratsos 1978).

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