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Rules and Constraints in a Finite-State Grammar

Jean-Pierre Chanod, Pasi Tapanainen
This report describes the rule system of a robust finite state parser implenented for French. The parser attaches syntactic tags to cach word as well as part of speech and morphological tags, and determines clause boundaries. It is reductionist parser i.e. it removes readings from the originally ambiguous text. The underlying parser is based on finite state networks and their intersection. We describe essential elements of the rule writing system, and show how it is actually applied to solve various phenomena, such as argument uniqueness, argument or apposition. We show some results which indicate that, even in its current stage, the parser can parse technical manuals with high accuracy (in a test sample 95% of part of speech and functional tags were correct). The average number of parses per sentence is very low, more than 90% of sentences produce less than 4 parses, including the correct one. A test on very long sentences form newspaper corpora and a discussion or errors provides some examples of parses as well as indications on how to run the grammar.
MLTT Technical reports (Jan 96)