Report Number: CS-TR-73-384
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: The generation of French from a semantic representation.
Author: Herskovits, Annette
Date: August 1973
Abstract: The report contains first a brief description of Preference Semantics, a system of representation and analysis of the meaning structure of natural language. The analysis algorithm which transforms phrases into semantic items called templates has been considered in detail elsewhere, so this report concentrates on the second phase of analysis, which binds templates together into a higher level semantic block corresponding to an English paragraph, and which, in operation, interlocks with the French generation procedure. During this phase, the semantic relations between templates are extracted, pronouns are referred and those word disambiguations are done that require the context of a whole paragraph. These tasks require items called PARAPLATES which are attached to keywords such as prepositions, subjunctions and relative pronouns. The system chooses the representation which maximises a carefully defined "semantic density." A system for the generation of French sentences is then described, based on the recursive evaluation of procedural generation patterns called STEREOTYPES. The stereotypes are semantically context sensitive, are attached to each sense of English words and keywords and are carried into the representation by the analysis procedure. The representation of the meaning of words, and the versatility of the stereotype format, allow for fine meaning distinctions to appear in the French, and for the construction of French differing radically from the English original.