Libraries and tools/Linguistics/Applicative universal grammar

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Applicative universal grammar (AUG) is a far-reaching approach in linguistics. Seeing its main goals (and comparing it to other approaches), it could be characterised as

because it does not follow a “grammar vs semantics” view, and has a relational approach to understand sign and meaning
wanting not only to enable us to write better natural language processing projects, but also to understand better how language works. Also ultimate questions (like explaining why the languages of the word show both deep resemblences and differences, or why children can learn such a difficult thing like language) are tried to solve
because it makes a difference -- it separates two levels in understanding how language works: a common genotype grammar is underlying each language, enabling us to discover invariants and general resemblences, leaving the explanations of specific differences to the level called phenotype grammar

These levels in understanding language are the followings:

  • a genotype grammar is common in all human languages -- AUG aims to find invariants, and to explain concepts abstracting away from concrete languages.
  • phenotype grammars are responsible for special features of languages.

Attribute universal grammar uses many thoughts from combinatory logic.

References for this section:

(see them also below).

General resources

Bernard Paul Sypniewski's book An Introduction to Applicative Universal Grammar. This book does not require the reader to know combinatory logic.

The same author has also an entire homepage with the linguistical and AUG-related papers.

As an article describing what AUG is, see also Shaumyan's Two Paradigms of Linguistics: The Semiotic versus Non-Semiotic Paradigm.


Sebastian Shaumyan's long answers to comments in Disc: Ungrammatical Sentences gives examples, thus can help at understanding the above mentioned materials -- by discussing the notions like meaning, grammatical vs syntactic etc.

Some other citings and fragments from Sebastian Shaumyan can be read here.


Long-Distance Dependencies and Applicative Universal Grammar (written by Sebastian Shaumyan and Frédérique Segond) compares (presenting some advantages of the latter)

  • combinatory categorial grammar
  • applicative universal grammar

Linguistic Types and the Valence of Operators in Applicative Universal Grammar written by Bernard Paul Sypniewski. In case of problems, here is an alternative link.

Implementing these ideas

A Haskell application for natural language parsing, based on Applicative Universal Grammar (AUG) is described in Mark P. Jones', Paul Hudak's and Sebastian Shaumyan's Using Types to Parse Natural Language (if this link is busy, here is another location). The Haskell source code given by the article is full, it can be run by Gofer, and after a few modification, by GHC too (transpose must be explictly imported from standard library module Data.List, and class Text renamed to Show).

A more detailed description of the topic of this previous article described in Sebastian Shaumyan and Paul Hudak's Linguistic, Philosophical, and Pragmatic Aspects of Type-Directed Natural Language Parsing.

To do

Short-term plans:


Directly related resources

Shaumyan, Sebastian: A semiotic theory of language. Indiana University Press, Bloomington (Ind.), 1987. (Advances in semiotics) ISBN 0-253-30472-5

Formal semantics

Lappin, Shalom (ed.): The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 1996.
Aronoff, Mark & Rees-Miller, Janie (eds): The Handbook of Linguistics. Blackwell Publishers, hardback ISBN 0-631-20497-0, (Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics)