[MUD-Dev] Re: Prepositions and parsing

Chris Gray cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA
Fri May 16 21:18:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


:>In English we disambuate such things by a slight rephrasing:
:>    shoot the paper which is under the book on the table
:>    shoot the paper under the book which is on the table
:
:Both of these are still ambiguous.  The first could mean to shoot the
:paper which is located under the book, so that it moves onto the
:table, or to shoot the paper which is located under the book which is
:located on the table.	Simiarly for the second one.
:
:  shoot the paper which is under the book onto the table
:
:Works a bit better, as does
:
:  shoot the paper under the book which is on top of the table
:
:or
:
:  shoot the paper under the book which is atop the table
:
:for the other side.
:
:>Perhaps handling syntax something like that is a way to go?
:
:<kof>
:
:Given the average state of western education and general language
:articulacy, I'm not keen on requiring a gramatically unambiguous
:parse.

Grin!

However, if the intent is to be able to have a textual form of what
the user does in a graphical world with a mouse or something, any
unambiguous form will do. That leaves what to do with ambiguous
forms, and maybe just not allowing them is enough?

    shoot the paper which is under the book which is on the table
    shoot the paper under the book which is on top of the table
    shoot the paper which is under the book onto the top of the table

There *are* ways! English likely does have truly ambiguous statements,
but I suspect there are always unambigous forms.

--
Chris Gray   cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA



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