The University of Sussex

Feature logics, infinitary descriptions and the logical treatment of grammar

Bill Keller

Now published by Chicago UP in CSLI Lecture Series. This thesis makes two broad contributions to the application of feature logics in studying grammar formalisms and the representations of linguistic knowledge. First, the feature logic introduced by Rounds and Kasper is extended to incorporate the linguistically useful device of functional uncertainty proposed by Kaplan and Zaenen. The extended language can be used to express certain kinds of infinite disjunction, and has application to the analysis of unbounded dependency constructions. Second, a simple and general method for handling recursion is proposed. A uniform logical language is developed which is sufficiently powerful to allow for the expression of recursive descriptions of feature structures, and can be viewed as a "stand-alone" formalism for representing grammars. The general approach emphasizes a view of grammar as a branch of model theory. Throughout the thesis, attention is given to both the formal properties and linguistic applications of the logical languages under discussion.

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