Definition of Grammar

ANLP: Competitive Grammar Writing Exercise

The exercise will take place in Week 6, during the lecture on October 25, 2019. Class that day could potentially take two hours (it is your decision whether to stay for a second hour).

There will be a special hands-on lecture, in which you will design and develop a grammar for English, as part of a Competitive Grammar Writing task. This will take the lab in Week 5 much further, and allow you to attempt and write a grammar for "language in the wild". The lab in Week 5 should inspire you to take some of its techniques, and make them more robust. The goal of this exercise is to experiment with the ambiguity that is present in natural language, and understand how complicated it is to model natural language syntax.

Preparation before the lecture:

During the lecture:

Come prepared to the lecture! If you feel comfortable with the exercise, you are more than welcome to work on your grammar at any point before the lecture.

After the lecture:

Evaluation of grammars:

We will evaluate your grammars by doing the following: This means that you want to generate grammatical sentences as much as possible, while making them complex so that other grammars cannot parse them. The team with the best grammar will get a small prize in a lecture following the exercise. Depending on the financial situation of the lecturers at the time, there might be second- and third-place prizes. No grade-affecting marking is involved in this assignment.


The code used in this task is based on the competitive grammar writing task code written by Anoop Sarkar (here) based on the following paper:

Jason Eisner and Noah A. Smith. Competitive Grammar Writing. In Proceedings of the ACL Workshop on Issues in Teaching Computational Linguistics, pages 97-105, Columbus, OH, June 2008.

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