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Joint ICCS/LFCS Seminar Grammatical Specification in ASL: Germanic Dependent Clause Order

Michael Newton Aurema Pty Limited 3pm Friday 29 September 2000 Psychology Dept, George Square, room F21 Michael Newton's 1992 PhD thesis on the application of ideas from algebraic specification to linguistics was supervised at Edinburgh by Ewan Klein and Don Sannella. Contact Lex Holt if you would like to meet the speaker during his visit here. This seminar is arranged in collaboration with the Institute for Communicating and Collaborative Systems.

I consider the use of the algebraic specification language ASL (Sannella & Wirsing, 1983) in treating dependent clause word order in English, German and Dutch. ASL is a wide-spectrum language, in which one can write loose specifications, admitting of non-isomorphic models. Within the language, one can describe the relationship between one's abstract, inspecific notion of the properties a grammar should have, and the specific grammars which one employs in seeking to test and refine this notion. A loose specification can also act as a parameter in a specification embodying formally the idea that a grammatical contruction, intended to account, say, for a particular linguistic phenomenon, could be made to work equally well in a variety of grammatical frameworks, or in accounting for a variety of natural languages.

Sannella, D.T. and Wirsing, M. (1983) A kernel language for algebraic specification and implementation. Report CSR-131-83, Department of Computer Science, University of Edinburgh, 1983.

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