LINGUIST List 4.342

Thu 06 May 1993

Qs: PS Trees, Sicilian, Field recording, Brown Corpus

Editor for this issue: <>


  • "Karen A. Mullen", Phrase-Structure Trees
  • , grammar of Sicilian
  • , field recording equipment
  • "Amy Uhrbach", q: Brown Corpus

    Message 1: Phrase-Structure Trees

    Date: Tue, 4 May 93 20:43:03 EDPhrase-Structure Trees
    From: "Karen A. Mullen" <KAMULL01ULKYVM.LOUISVILLE.EDU>
    Subject: Phrase-Structure Trees

    Dept of English, University of Louisville, LOU KY 40292 PHONE: 502/588-5901 or -7158 Does anyone know of any software that will generate phrase-structure trees? I am teaching a course on the Structure of Modern American English, using Noel-Burton's text *Analysing Sentences* as the students' source of information on representing the structure of sentences. It follows the usual conventions in its representation of tree structures. (The students are native-speakers of the language--most usually English majors, most usually seeking a teaching certificate.)

    In the course, I ask students to analyze sentences according to their structure. I want to try to develop computer-assisted tutorials for students who are having difficulties doing the analysis and representing that analysis via tree-diagrams.

    In the first phrase, the tutorial would ask questions (e.g., from Chapter 4):

    What is the subject of the sentence? What is the predicate of the sentence? What is the verb-group of the sentence? Are there any complements to the verb-group? If so, how many? (If one), what is the complement? (If one), what is the function of this complement? (If two), what is the first complement? (If two), what is the function of the first complement? (If two), what is the second complement? (If two), what is the function of the second complement? What is the sub-category feature of the verb-group?

    If the students answer incorrectly, some response would be given to guide students to the rethink their answers. For example, if they said that the complement of the verb was a direct object, but they indicated that the sub-category feature of the verb-group was "intensive", it would say something like "You indicated earlier that the complement of "x" was "y" and that "y" functioned as a direct object. "Intensive" verbs have subject complements, not direct objects. What kind of verb has a direct object?"

    In the second phase, the tutorial would ask them to draw a tree-diagram to represent this information.

    The program would ask them what the label for the root node is and put it on the screen. It would then ask them how many branches they want to come off the root node. The program would draw these branches Then the program would ask them how they want to label these branches, one by one, and would label them accordingly. Then the program would ask them how many branches were to come off each of these nodes, and would draw them. Then, the program would ask them how they wanted to label these branches, one by one, and label them accordingly. And so

    Naturally, the program would have information about the sentence already, would be able to tell if the student is answering correctly, and would be able to provide responses to lead the student in the right direction, if they answer incorrectly.

    Given this format, then, in the second phrase, the program would have to have a way of: a. reading in instructor-provided sentences, gleaned from *Newsweek*, *Time*, *The New Yorker*, etc. b. reading in instructor-provided answers to the questions that have to do with constructing the tree (or perhaps there are are programs that will parse instructor-provided sentences automatically!?) c. putting a node on the screen, finding it later, drawing branches from it, and labelling the branches.

    The tutorial should be usable on IBM-compatible machines of something less than a 386 or 486 vintage, and should be PC-based.

    Given this lengthy introduction, my questions are two: 1. Does anyone know if tutorials like this already exist? 2. If not, does anyone have any idea of the appropriate software to use to generate such tutorials? (I COULD start from scratch and write them in BASIC, but I think there must be a more efficient way to do this!!! I have programming experience and know computers rather well, so I can learn almost anything, if it will do what I want it to do.)

    I would appreciate any advice to design (or re-design) this project and implement it with the technology currently available.

    Message 2: grammar of Sicilian

    Date: Wed, 05 May 1993 17:00:17 grammar of Sicilian
    From: <>
    Subject: grammar of Sicilian

    I am doing some research on the Sicilian language with native-speaking respondents. I would also like to look at some grammars of Sicilian. Can anyone recommend grammar sources for this language? Thanks in advance.

    Message 3: field recording equipment

    Date: 6 May 93 16:12:38 GMT-1200field recording equipment
    From: <>
    Subject: field recording equipment

    I would like to hear about people's experiences with recording and transcribing equipment in the field. I'm particularly interested in hearing about experiences with providing electricity via solar panels in areas with unreliable or no electricity. what is involved?

    also, what models of tape recorders, conference mikes and transcribers have people used and had good experiences with (ie minimal or no breakdowns even under heavy use and good quality sound). what experiences have people had with camcorders? do they provide good enough audio to not need an additional audio recording or not?

    the types of projects I have in mind are ones which would involve taping and transcribing naturally occuring interactions.

    Please respond directly to me. If there is interest, I will summarize for the net.

    Message 4: q: Brown Corpus

    Date: 05 May 93 11:02:03 EDT
    From: "Amy Uhrbach" <AMY.UHRBACHOFFICE.WANG.COM>
    Subject: q: Brown Corpus

    Is the Brown Corpus available anywhere on the net, ftp or otherwise?