Prof. Dr. Walt Detmar Meurers
Dealing with Optional Complements in HPSG-Based Grammar Implementations


Kordula De Kuthy and W. Detmar Meurers


In Proceedings of the Tenth Int. Conference on HPSG. Stanford: CSLI Publications.


This paper discusses how the English Resource Grammar (ERG) captures the optionality of certain complements of verbs based on a single lexical entry coupled with an ontology of markings distinguishing optional from obligatory as well as unrealized from realized elements. Subject-head and head-complement structures are modified accordingly, but due to the lack of a possibility to express and use relational goals in grammars implemented in the LKB system, the ERG encoding falls short of the goal of treating optional complements in a general way. Instead, it requires two new types of `auxiliary' phrases which are otherwise unmotivated. We show that the problem can be overcome by using a recursive relation selecting a member from a list. The use of a lean implementation platform not supporting such relational goals, such as the LKB, thus results in a loss of generality of the grammars that can be expressed, which undermines the closeness of the implemented grammar to current linguistic analyses as one of the hallmarks of HPSG-based grammar implementation. The case study presented in this paper thus supports the position argued in Götz and Meurers (1997) that a system for the implementation of HPSG-based grammars should include both universal implicational principles as well as definite clauses over feature terms.




The paper appears in the procedings edited by Stefan Müller for CSLI Publications.



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Bibtex entry:

  author =       {De Kuthy, Kordula and Meurers, Walt Detmar},
  title =        {Dealing with Optional Complements in 
  HPSG-Based Grammar Implementations},
  editor =       {Stefan M\"uller},
  booktitle =    {Proceedings of the Tenth Int. Conference on {HPSG}},
  publisher =    {CSLI Publications},
  address =      {Stanford, CA},
  url =          {},
  year =         {2003}