"Intro to Pyparsing" Article at ONLamp

Christopher Subich csubich.spam.block at spam.subich.block.com
Mon Jan 30 16:08:30 EST 2006

Anton Vredegoor wrote:
> And pave the way for a natural language parser. Maybe there's even some
> (sketchy) path now to link computer languages and natural languages. In
> my mind Python has always been closer to human languages than other
> programming languages. From what I learned about it, language
> recognition is the easy part, language production is what is hard. But
> even the easy part has a long way to go, and since we're also using a

I think you're underestimating just how far a "long" way to go is, for 
natural language processing.  I daresay that no current 
computer-language parser will come even close to recognizing a 
significant fraction of human language.

Using English, because that's the only language I'm fluent in, consider 
the sentence:

"The horse raced past the barn fell."

It's just one of many "garden path sentences," where something that 
occurs late in the sentence needs to trigger a reparse of the entire 
sentence.  This is made even worse because of the semantic meanings of 
English words -- English, along with every other nonconstructed language 
that I know of, is grammatically ambiguous, in that semantic meanings 
are necessary to make 100% confident parses.

That's indeed the basis of a class of humour.

"Generating" human language -- turning concepts into words -- is the 
easy part.  A "concept->English" transformer would only need to 
transform into a subset of English, and nobody will notice the difference.

It's just an object; it's not what you think.

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