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However, certain aspects of a natural language, at least, are completely analyzable using finite-state methods, in particular its phonotactics (the determination of legitimate sequences of sounds in natural language; Johnson 1970, Kaplan & Kay 1994), and its morphology excluding compound formation (Koskenniemi 1983). Despite the fact that in principle morphological rules can give rise to sets of words that cannot be generated by a finite-state grammar, no such system for natural languages has ever been discovered (Langendoen 1981). Consequently in the areas of speech (and orthographic) analysis and of morphological analysis, finite-state methods have become standard.
The use of finite-state methods in syntax and semantics was somewhat slower to develop, in large measure due to the belief that these aspects of linguistic structure are not fully analyzable in those terms. However, partial syntactic and semantic analyses have been carried out using finite-state methods beginning with the Transformation and Discourse Analysis Project at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1950s (Joshi & Hopely 1999). The first serious proposal that finite-state methods are fully adequate for syntactic analysis was made by Krauwer & des Tombe (1981), and a sophisticated (augmented) finite-state grammar that handles discontinuous elements was developed by Blank (1989). For recent surveys of what is now a vast and rapidly growing field, see Roche & Schabes (1997), Kornai (1999), and Beesley & Karttunen (forthcoming).
ADDITIONS TO BIBLIOGRAPHY
Beesley, K. R. & L. Karttunen. forthcoming. Finite state morphology: Xerox tools and techniques. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Blank, G. D. 1989. A finite and real time processor for natural language. Communications of the ACM 32.11741189.
Johnson, C. D. 1970. Formal aspects of phonological representation. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
Joshi, A. & P. Hopely. 1999. A parser from antiquity: An early application of finite state transducers to natural language parsing. In Kornai 1999, pp. 615.
Kaplan, R. M. & M. Kay. 1994. Regular models of phonological rule systems. Computational Linguistics 20.331378.
Kornai, A., ed. 1999. Extended finite state models of language. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Koskenniemi, K. K. 1983. Two-level morphology: A general computational model for word-form recognition and production. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Langendoen, D. T. 1981. The generative capacity of word-formation components. Linguistic Inquiry 12.320(322.
Nederhof, M.-J. 2000. Practical experiments with regular approximation of context-free languages. Computational Linguistics 26.1744.
Roche, E. & Y. Schabes, eds. 1997. Finite-state devices for natural language processing. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
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