[MUD-Dev] Natural Language Parsing (Was: Re: darkness/visibility)

s001gmu at nova.wright.edu s001gmu at nova.wright.edu
Thu Jun 18 14:53:57 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


On Sun, 14 Jun 1998, T. Alexander Popiel wrote:

> In message:  <3584199E.29AF at dial.pipex.com>
>              Richard Woolcock <KaVir at nospam.dial.pipex.com> writes:
> >   ]get the bread from my backpack
> >   You get a loaf of bread from your leather backpack.
> >   ]eat it
> >   You attempt to stuff the leather backpack into your mouth.
> 
> I would expect the direct object to take precedence over the
> prepositional indirect object.  Of course, the only real solution
> is to maintain list of possible antecedents (prioritized via some
> method (hopefully with actual use increasing priority)), and then
> see which of the possible antecedents actually fit the circumstances.
> This need not take up huge amounts of memory, since humans have
> severe limits on list size (generally no more than 7, though beware
> inobvious aggregates acting as a single entry), and there's not
> much point in outperforming humans here.

exactly.  the 'it' should refernce the loaf of bread you just 'got'.  The
action verb takes prevedence over the 'prepositional indirect object'.
(oy... gotta get a book on english grammer one of these days...)
 
> >   [remove my backpack and get my sword and cheese from it, then eat it and
> >    sheath it
> >
> >Which is...well...just silly.  Perhaps I should leave it as it is - its just 
> >that I feel I could take it further.
> 
> Yeah, it's kind of silly, but what's the harm in that, as long
> as nobody gets confused?

I read it as:

  remove my backpack and get my sword and cheese from it (the backpack),
    then eat it (the backpack) and sheath it (the backpack).

Without respecifying, the 'it' still referes to the same thing.
To accomplish anything like what I think you want, it should look like:

  remove my backpack and get my sword and cheese from it, then eat the
    cheese and sheath the sword.

I really don't think you can replace the nouns with 'it'.

There are more subtle situations, like the 'it' in "To accomplish anything
like what I think you want, it should look like" which refers to 'the
command', which comes from the genral context of the conversation.

You could take the approach of breaking things down by context...

Global context ("How's it going?")
Conversation context ("... it should look like")
Sentance context ("remove backpack and get my sword and cheese from it")

Sentance context might be more appropriately called Clause context...

"Remove my backpack and get the sword from it, then clean the sword and
sheath it"

Has two distinct clauses, with two distinct it's.  My grammar being as bad
as it is, I can't say if that is grammatically correct, but it appreas so
to me...

I am straying pretty far from anything I've really studied, so anyone with
more expertise than I please feel free to correct any glaring stupidities
in my (admittedly ad-hoc) approach.

-Greg





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