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Re: English/Language/Grammar

by Tiefling (Monk)
on Jun 05, 2001 at 13:48 UTC ( #85760=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to English/Language/Grammer

The problem with grammar checkers in general is that they can't distinguish between:

Atlantis flies like a 'plane.
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

(Apologies to gumpu, whose answer I hadn't seen when I wrote this - this is clearly a good example :-)

And indeed, code to distinguish between generalisations of those three examples alone would be more trouble to code than it's worth (unles you're being paid to research natural language, in which case you're lucky). There are modules to conjugate English verbs and decline English nouns, but this will only help your program to write simple grammatical sentences, such as Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. :-)

M$'s grammar checkers commit further errors by producing entirely spurious queries, such as 'passive voice' (one of the few parts of speech their system usually spots), which it regards as wrong! The same system also routinely argues 'subject-verb agreement' errors where none exist, and (if the right 'feature' is enabled) can prevent you using any gender-specific language.

Tiefling (and remember - verbing weirds language)

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Re: Re: English/Language/Grammar
by gumpu (Friar) on Jun 05, 2001 at 23:02 UTC

    It a very good example :) I 'borrowed' it from a really wonderful book called "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinkerton. Well worth a read! It explains in vividly how wonderful flexible natural languages are, and how complex the machinery (the brain) is to process it.

    Have Fun

      Curious - I got the 'Time flies...' and 'Fruit flies...' elements from Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue. The bit about Atlantis was my idea, as I was struck by the thought that 'Time flies like an arrow' is not actually a canonical use of the verb 'to fly'.

      Tiefling (who flies like a brick)

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