People have long been intrigued by the possibility of using a computer to "understand" natural language. Most researchers attempting to solve this problem have begun their efforts by trying to have the computer recognize the underlying syntactic form (the parse tree) of the sentence. This thesis presents an overview of the history of syntactic parsing of natural language, and it compares the major methods that have been used. Linguistically, two recent grammars are described: transformational grammar and systemic grammar. Computationally, three parsing strategies are described and compared: top-down parsing, bottom-up parsing, and a combination of both of these methods. Several important natural language systems are described, including Woods' LUNAR program, Winograd's SHRDLU, and Marcus' PARSIFAL.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mathematical linguistics--Data processing; Natural language processing (Computer science); Computational linguistics

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Computer Science (GCCIS)


Anderson, Peter

Advisor/Committee Member

Biles, John

Advisor/Committee Member

Ellis, John


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: P98.W45 1983


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