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Electronic Grammars and Reproducible Research

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Title:Electronic Grammars and Reproducible Research
Authors:Maxwell, Mike
Date Issued:Oct 2012
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Maxwell, Mike. 2012. Electronic Grammars and Reproducible Research. In Sebastian Nordoff (ed). 2012. Electronic Grammaticography. 207-235. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Series:LD&C Special Publication 04
Abstract:It is time for grammatical descriptions to become reproducible research. In order for this to happen, grammar descriptions must be testable, not only by the original author, but also by other linguists. Given the complexity of natural language grammars, and the ambiguity of prose descriptions, that testing is best done using computational tools to verify a computationally implementable grammar. At the same time, grammars need to be useful---and testable---for the foreseeable future; that is, they must be archivable. Yet if a computational grammar is tied to particular computational tools, it will inevitably become obsolescent. This paper describes a means of creating computationally interpretable grammars which are not tied to particular computational tools, nor (to the extent possible) to any particular linguistic theory, and which can therefore be expected to remain useful into the future. In order to make such formal grammars simultaneously understandable to humans, they are embedded into descriptive grammars of a more traditional sort, using the technique of Literate Programming. The implementation of this technology for morphology and phonology is described. It has been used to create morphological grammars for Bangla, Urdu and Pashto which are both human-readable and computationally testable.
Appears in Collections: LD&C Special Publication No. 4: Electronic Grammaticography

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