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Computational Linguistics

Paola Merlo, Editor
September 2013, Vol. 39, No. 3, Pages 591-629
(doi: 10.1162/COLI_a_00144)
© 2013 Association for Computational Linguistics
XMG: eXtensible MetaGrammar
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In this article, we introduce eXtensible MetaGrammar (XMG), a framework for specifying tree-based grammars such as Feature-Based Lexicalized Tree-Adjoining Grammars (FB-LTAG) and Interaction Grammars (IG). We argue that XMG displays three features that facilitate both grammar writing and a fast prototyping of tree-based grammars. Firstly, XMG is fully declarative. For instance, it permits a declarative treatment of diathesis that markedly departs from the procedural lexical rules often used to specify tree-based grammars. Secondly, the XMG language has a high notational expressivity in that it supports multiple linguistic dimensions, inheritance, and a sophisticated treatment of identifiers. Thirdly, XMG is extensible in that its computational architecture facilitates the extension to other linguistic formalisms. We explain how this architecture naturally supports the design of three linguistic formalisms, namely, FB-LTAG, IG, and Multi-Component Tree-Adjoining Grammar (MC-TAG). We further show how it permits a straightforward integration of additional mechanisms such as linguistic and formal principles. To further illustrate the declarativity, notational expressivity, and extensibility of XMG, we describe the methodology used to specify an FB-LTAG for French augmented with a unification-based compositional semantics. This illustrates both how XMG facilitates the modeling of the tree fragment hierarchies required to specify tree-based grammars and of a syntax/semantics interface between semantic representations and syntactic trees. Finally, we briefly report on several grammars for French, English, and German that were implemented using XMG and compare XMG with other existing grammar specification frameworks for tree-based grammars.