[developers] "Quite" problematic: MRS -> EDS conversion

Michael Wayne Goodman goodmami at uw.edu
Sun Jul 15 19:24:56 CEST 2018

Hi developers (but mostly Stephan and Dan),

I'm turning my attention briefly from TDL to making the MRS -> EDS
conversion in PyDelphin more harmonious with the LKB, and the first order
of business is implementing "predicate modification".

I'd like to only use grammar-agnostic graph properties to find the
"representative nodes" of EP conjunctions, as I do with MRS -> DMRS
conversion, but the LKB currently does a regex match on the predicates of
EPs in a conjunction, something like "if the predicate matches
/_x_deg$|^neg$|^_quite_x$/ and it's ARG1 is not currently assigned, set its
ARG1 to point to another EP in the conjunction, with some other heuristics
at work to select that other EP. (Aside: I think this ERG-specific regex
pattern is now grammar-defined instead of being baked into the LKB, but
currently I only see lkb/eds.lsp in the LOGON version of the ERG---not the
trunk version) The _x_deg$ subpattern handles, e.g., "nearly all", "not
all", etc., but I was having trouble finding a construction where the neg$
subpattern selected a predicate modifier (any ideas?).

My main concern, however, is with the _quite_x$ subpattern. It seems to
work well enough with "quite a few dogs bark." and "quite many dogs bark."
(and also "quite all dogs bark" and "quite dogs bark", but my
grammaticality judgments differ with the ERG's here). "Not quite all dogs
bark" uses _not+quite_x, which doesn't match any subpattern and thus is
disconnected in EDS. The strangest one is "quite nearly all dogs barked",
where in the EDS _quite_x and _nearly_x_deg select each other, cyclically,
as their ARG1s (the MRS for this is as one would expect).

My guess is that the *eds-predicate-modifiers* pattern is out of sync
and/or insufficient with the current ERG. There are bigger issues here,
such as our ever-unsatisfying treatment of quantifier modification, but
right now I'm just trying to figure out a good way to do EDS conversion.

A request, though: if we're not going to allow quantifiers to be selected
as the ARG1 of degree modifiers in MRS, can we use a different role (e.g.,
MOD) in EDS? That would make back-conversion simpler, I think.

Michael Wayne Goodman
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