Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

National Initiatives


Polymnie : Parsing and synthesis with abstract categorial grammars. From lexicon to discourse

Participants : Maxime Amblard, Philippe de Groote, Aleksandre Maskharashvili, Sylvain Pogodalla [coordinator] , Sai Qian.

Polymnie (http://semagramme.loria.fr/doku.php?id=projects:polymnie ) is a research project funded by the French national research agency (ANR). It relies on the grammatical framework of Abstract Categorial Grammars (ACG). A feature of this formalism is to provide the same mathematical perspective both on the surface forms and on the more abstract forms the latter correspond to. As a consequence:

  • ACG allows for the encoding of a large variety of grammatical formalisms such as context-free grammars, Tree Adjoining grammars (TAG), etc.

  • ACG define two languages: an abstract language for the abstract forms, and an object language for the surface forms.

Importantly, the notions of object language and abstract language are relative to each other. If we can naturally see surface forms as strings for instance and abstract forms as the associated syntactic trees, we can also consider to associate this abstract form to a first order logical formula as surface (object) form. This property it central in our project as it offers a unified approach to text analysis and text generation, in particular considering the underlying algorithms and their complexity.

ACG definition uses type-theory and lambda-calculus. From this point of view, they smoothly integrate formal semantics models issuing from Montague's proposal. Theories that extend to the discourse level such as Discourse Representation Theory (DRT) and Dynamic Predicate Logic (DPL) were not initially formulated using lambda-calculus. But such formulation have been proposed. In particular, a formulation based on continuation semantics allow them to be expressed quite naturally in the ACG architecture. Dynamic effects of discourse, in particular those related to anaphora resultion or rhetoretical relation inference, have then to be expressed by lexical semantics or computed from the syntactic rules as studied in the Inria Collaborative Research Project (ARC) CAuLD (http://www.loria.fr/~pogodall/cauld/ ).

It has been shown that the discourse structure of texts play a key role in their understanding. This is the case not only for both for human readers but also for automatic processing systems. For instance, it can enhance text transformation systems such as the ones performing automatic summarization.

Polymnie focuses on studying and implementing the modeling of sentences and discourses in a compositional paradigm that takes into account their dynamics and their structures, both in parsing and in generation. To that end, we rely on the ACG framework. The kind of processing we are interested in relate to the automatic construction of summaries or to text simplification. This has to be considered in the limits of the modelling of the linguistic processes (as opposed to inferential processes for instance) these tasks involve.

The complexity of the phenomena, of their formal description, and of their interactions, require to set up a testing and development environment for linguistic modelling. It will consist in extending and stabilizing a software implementing the functionnalities of the ACG framework. It will provide a tool for experimentation and validation of the approach.


  • Sémagramme people

  • Alpage (Paris 7 university & Inria Paris-Rocquencourt): Laurence Danlos (local coordinator), C. Braud, C. Roze, Éric Villemonte de la Clergerie

  • MELODI (IRIT, CNRS): Stergos Afantenos, Nicholas Asher (local coordinator), Juliette Conrath, Philippe Muller

  • Signes (LaBRI, CNRS): Jérôme Kirman, Richard Moot, Christian Retoré (local coordinator), Sylvain Salvati, Noémie-Fleur Sandillon-Rezer