Formal Grammars and Languages

Carlos Martín-Vide

in The Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276349
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743573 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Formal Grammars and Languages

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  • Computational Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


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This article introduces the preliminaries of classical formal language theory. It outlines the main classes of grammars as language-generating devices and automata as language-recognizing devices. It offers a number of definitions and examples and presents the basic results. It classifies grammar according to several criteria. The most widespread one is the form of their productions. This article presents a systematic study of the common properties of language families has led to the theory of abstract families of languages. It shows that a context-free grammar generates not only a set of strings, but a set of trees too: each one of the trees is associated with a string and illustrates the way this string is derived in the grammar.

Keywords: language theory; language-generating devices; grammar; abstract families; context-free grammar

Article.  7309 words. 

Subjects: Computational Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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