Grammar Writer's Workbench for Lexical Functional Grammar

[LFG logo]

Participants: Ron Kaplan and John Maxwell

The Xerox LFG Grammar Writer's Workbench is a complete parsing implementation of the LFG syntactic formalism, including various features introduced since the original Kaplan and Bresnan (1982) paper (functional uncertainty, functional precedence, generalization for coordination, multiple projections, etc.) It includes a very rich c-structure rule notation, plus various kinds of abbreviatory devices (parameterized templates, macros, etc.). It does not directly implement recent proposals for lexical mapping theory, although templates can be used to simulate some of its effects. The system has an elaborate mouse-driven interface for displaying various grammatical structures and substructures--the idea is to help a linguist understand and debug a grammar without having to comprehend the details of specific processing algorithms. Click here to see how the Medley screen looks.

The workbench ran on most Unix systems (Sun, DEC, HP...) and under DOS on PC's, although most of our experience was gathered with Suns. It does not have a teletype interface--it only runs as a graphical program. It requires at least 16MB of ram on UNIX and 8MB under DOS, plus 40 or more MB of disk (for program storage and swapping).

Xerox makes the system available at no cost by anonymous FTP under a license that allows for noncommercial uses of the workbench in research and education. The system and its documentation (in Kaplan and Maxwell 1996) are located at in the directory /pub/lfg/.

For further information, contact


Kaplan, Ronald M. and Joan Bresnan. 1982. Lexical-Functional Grammar: A formal system for grammatical representation. In Joan Bresnan, editor, The Mental Representation of Grammatical Relations. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pages 173--281. Reprinted in Dalrymple, Kaplan, Maxwell, and Zaenen, eds., Formal Issues in Lexical-Functional Grammar, 29--130. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information. 1995.

Kaplan, Ronald M. and John T. Maxwell. 1996. LFG grammar writer's workbench. Technical report, Xerox PARC.

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