[b-hebrew] Generation grammar and b-hebrew

Eric Inman eric-inman at comcast.net
Sun Jun 20 07:26:49 EDT 2010


Dave,

I don't think there's any need to worry about the math, if there is any, in
the paper. I think if you just skim the article, especially the introductory
sections, you'll see comments which indicate that at least some people in
the field feel that some modification of the models, including grammars, is
desirable when dealing with languages with a relatively high degree of
freedom in word order. That's probably the direction I would take if I were
to try to develop a grammar.

Eric 

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of dwashbur at nyx.net
Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2010 10:18 PM
To: b-hebrew
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Generation grammar and b-hebrew

Eric,
Something else I need to mention: I'm not mathematically inclined in any
sense of the word.  
More precisely, you could take what I know about this kind of math, pour it
into a thimble, and still have room for your foot.  I'll take a look at the
paper you linked, but if it's as math- theory-intensive as the paragraph
below, I can just about guarantee it'll sail way over my head.

On 19 Jun 2010 at 15:56, Eric Inman wrote:

> Dave,
> 
> Here's a quick example. If you have rules which take A to a1, a2, and 
> a3 in any order, you would have six (3 factorial, or 3!) rules: A -> 
> a1 a2 a3, A->
> a1 a3 a2, etc. The same if you had rules which take B to b1, b2 and
> b3 in
> any order. Then, if the components of A and B could be freely 
> intermixed with each other, you would need 6! = 720 rules to describe 
> that. In this example there is total freedom of word order, which 
> probably rarely occurs, but hopefully it serves to show how quickly 
> the number of permutations could rise even when the amount of freedom 
> is less than 100%.
> 
> Doing some quick googling I found that freedom of word order does 
> present a significant issue in syntax description. See for example 
> "Syntax Description of Free Word Order Languages"
> (http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/C/C90/C90-3056.pdf).
> 
> I'll rephrase my original question. Would Biblical Hebrew be 
> considered a free word-order language or, if not, a language in which 
> there is more freedom in word order than in English? If either case is 
> true, are there any allowances that should be made for this when 
> embarking on a generative grammar? From quickly scanning the few 
> papers that I googled it looks like there should be.
> 
> Eric
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of 
> dwashbur at nyx.net
> Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:45 PM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Generation grammar and b-hebrew
> 
> Eric,
> Obviously I can't speak for anybody else, but I could use some 
> examples to illustrate what you mean.
> 
> On 19 Jun 2010 at 6:55, Eric Inman wrote:
> 
> > Here's why I think word order can be a problem. It's true that if
> you
> > have multiple word orders then you can define multiple rules. If
> you
> > have a unit of speech where the next-level components can occur in 
> > different orders, then providing the multiple rules to represent
> the
> > different orders is not a problem.
> > 
> > Where I think there might be a problem is when you have two or
> more
> > units of speech whose components are intermingled with each other
> and
> > can be intermingled in many different ways. It's true that you can 
> > still define multiple rules to handle this situation, but the
> problem
> > is that the number of rules required to represent all of the 
> > permutations can get out of hand.
> > At this point it appears that a generative grammar ceases to be a 
> > useful model for describing the language, and I think there are 
> > probably other models that would be more useful. I think this 
> > situation arises in Greek but I don't know if it would arise in 
> > Hebrew.
> > 
> > I think whether or not this issue is premature would depend on
> whether
> > or not this is already known to be a problem in Hebrew. If it is,
> then
> > bringing it up now might allow people to avoid repeating steps
> that
> > have already been taken and instead move more directly to seeking
> a
> > better approach to handling what would be a known problem.
> > 
> > What do you think?
> 
> 
> Dave Washburn
> 
> http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> 


Dave Washburn

http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
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