What grammars are, or ought to be





Progress toward distinguishing clearly between generative and model-theoretic syntactic frameworks has not been smooth or swift, and the obfuscatory term ˋconstraint-based' has not helped. This paper reviews some elementary subregular formal language theory relevant to comparing description languages for model-theoretic grammars, generalizes the results to trees, and points out that HPSG linguists have maintained an unacknowledged and perhaps unintended allegiance to the idea of strictly local description: unbounded dependencies, in particular, are still being conceptualized in terms of plugging together local tree parts annotated with the SLASH feature. Adopting a description language with quantifiers holds out the prospect of eliminating the need for the SLASH feature. We need to ask whether that would be a good idea. Binding domain phenomena might tell us. More work of both descriptive and mathematical sorts is needed before the answer is clear.


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How to Cite

Pullum, Geoffrey K. 2019. What grammars are, or ought to be. Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar 58–78. (doi:10.21248/hpsg.2019.4) (https://proceedings.hpsg.xyz/article/view/867) (Accessed March 28, 2023.)