Linearization Grammars

Type: Advanced course

Section: Language & Computation

Lecturers: Detmar Meurers and Stefan Müller


The syntactic analysis of freer word order languages such as German has made significant advances in terms of the empirical coverage and generalizations expressed by current linguistic frameworks such as Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). A prominent line of research permits discontinuous constituents to arise for certain phenomena, and the Babel system as one of the largest implemented grammar fragment for German is based on this paradigm.

After introducing the basic machinery for the analysis of complex utterances in the HPSG framework, the first part of the course focuses on central word order phenomena and their analysis. In the second part of the course, we turn to the computational aspects by showing how parsing algorithms can be adopted to efficiently process grammars licensing discontinuous constituencies. Interestingly, the two treebanks available for German (NEGRA, VERBMOBIL) also heavily rely on discontinuous constituents in their syntactic annotation, and we end the course with a comparison of these data-driven representations with the theory-driven ones.

Prerequisites: Some knowledge of phrase structure grammar.

Course material: (version of March 28, 2004):

Further Reading:

St. Mü. (
Created February 09, 2003, last modified April 12, 2010