Gerald Penn Visits IEAS

Gerald Penn from the University of Toronto is staying at IEAS for three weeks to work with Gert Webelhuth, Manfred Sailer, Niko Schenk, and Frank Richter on several extensions of the TRALE grammar implementation system.

TRALE is at the heart of various long-term projects we are pursuing at the linguistics department. Most visibly, it provides the underlying software platform for the online grammars which Gert Webelhuth uses throughout his syntax courses. In order to make the graphical user interface of the online grammars in those classes more intuitive, a systematic labeling system is now being added that allows users to hide excessively large and complicated structures from viewers. The complete structures can then still be brought back on demand, if there is need to inspect them. The simplified graphical representations are much easier to navigate for novices in syntactic theory and are, for good reasons, much closer to actual introductory textbook representations.

In addition, we attempt to re-integrate a graphical debugging system, Kahina, with TRALE to make it easier for grammar writers to develop and implement more advanced grammars. A final major effort concerns TRALE’s module for semantic representations, called CLLRS, the constraint language for lexical resource semantics. CLLRS is an implementation of the semantic framework of Lexical Resource Semantics, which Manfred Sailer and Frank Richter favor in their semantics courses. CLLRS has so far not been ready for use in the classroom due to its highly abstract way of displaying (underspecified) semantic representations. The current goal is to add resolution to the underspecified semantic representations, which would lead to an output of standard logical expressions in the way in which they are typically used in our seminars.