Subject: Computational Grammar Models    
Course: Computational Grammar Models

Teacher: prof. dr. sc. Sanja Seljan           
ECTS credits: 5    
Language: Croatian    
Duration: 1 semester    
Status: obligatory / elective
Method of teaching: 1 lecture hour, 1 seminar hour, 1 hour of labs
Prerequisite: N/A
Assessment: written exam, oral exam, exercises, seminar


Course description:

The aim of the course is to teach students specific type computational grammar - Lexical-Functional Grammar in the domain of language engineering and present real applications in machine translation, language learning etc. Students will understand formal modelling in language engineering, analyse existing models, use the specific tool, compare them, and create models for the specific phenomena for English, Croatian and/or other languages for the chosen data set.

The course consists out of theoretical part, practical exercises and seminar works. In the theoretical part students will learn on the development, basic principles,  limitations and possiblities of the specific formal model of the Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) and get insight into possible applications in machine translation, language learning, information retrieval, etc.. Students will analyse the formal model on several levels: constituent structure, functional structure, lexical annotations, argument level, templates in Xerox Language Engineering (XLE) environment. The specific formal descriptions will be presented and analysed for the English and/ or ther languages and in parallel specific models will be created for Croatian languages. Athe the end of the course, student will create proper language models using LFG computational grammar model.



  • Acquisition of knowledge related to creation of computational grammar models in computational linguistics and possible applications in concrete projects
  • Knowledge acquisition of formal model of Lexical-Functional Grammar, its ways of formalization, basic principles, limitations and possible use
  • Building of knowledge and skills related to use of XLE (Xerox Language Engineering) software and, optionally, other tools
  • Use of theoretical knowledge and skills for natural language processing using LFG model for English, Croatian, and, optionally, other languages
  • Integration and creation of proper formal model using LFG model and XLE language engineering tool for several sentence levels
  • Design, application, critical evaluation and proposition of proper word and sentence-based model
  • Synthesis, integration and application proposal based on informatics, information and logical models in the process of linguistic engineering and natural language processing
  • Demonstration of basic principles of computational building of lexicon integrated into digital system
  • Development of corpus linguistic methods integrated with other language engineering tools and methods
  • Planning, organization, conducting scientific research and analysis of applications of natural language processing, acquisition of presentation and communication skills
  • Development of skills necessary for life-long learning


Teaching methods:

- classical frontal methods and by e-learning system

lectures - theoretical part

exercises - individual work

seminar - individual or team work, class presentation


Final grade:

course attendance


seminar work

written/ oral exam


Quality check and success of the course:

The evaluation will be performed inside and outside evaluations and by mentoring work, i.e. by the teacher, students, participation on seminars, conferences, workshops and in different cooperation activities.


Reading list:

1, Bresnan, Joan. Lexical-Functional Syntax. Blackwell Publishers, 2001

2. Falk, Yehuda. Lexical-Functional Grammar: An Introduction to Parallel Constraint-Based Syntax. Lecture Notes No 126. Stanford: CSLI, 2001.

3. Seljan, Sanja. The Role of the Lexicon in Lexical-Functional Grammar - Example on Croatian // Proceedings of Language Technologies Conference IS-LTC 2006. Ljubljana, 2006, 198-203

4. Dick Crouch, Mary Dalrymple, Ron Kaplan, Tracy King, John Maxwell, and Paula Newman. XLE Documentation, 2008. Walkthrough, Xerox Corporation and Copyright, Palo Alto Research Center

5. Seljan, S. Lexical - Functional Grammar - Example on Croatian // Proceedings of 5th International Language Technologies Conference IS-LTC 2006. Ljubljana, 2006, 198-203

6. Seljan, Sanja. Unifikacijske gramatike kao okvir za leksičko-funkcionalnu gramatiku (LFG). Suvremena lingvistika 1-2, 47-48. Zagreb, 1999, 181-193

7. Seljan, Sanja. Lexical-Functional Grammar: Theoretical and Practical Models. XIX International Conference of the Association of Young Linguists, 10-12 March 2004, Valencia, Proceedings Interlinguistica No15. 1279-1288


1. Bryl, Anton and van Genabith, Josef . Two approaches to automatic matching of atomic grammatical features in LFG. CSLI Publications, 2010.

2. Thomann, J., LFG as a pedagogical grammar, in King, T. and Butt, M. (eds.) 'Proceedings of the LFG02 Conference,' (Stanford: CSLI Publications 2002)

3. Miriam Butt, Tracy Holloway King, María-Eugenia Niño, and Frédérique Segond, A Grammar Writer's Cookbook, 1999.

4. Sanja Seljan, Kristina Vučković, Zdravko Dovedan. Sentence Representation in Context-Sensitive Grammars. Suvremena lingvistika 1-2 (53-54), 2002, 205-218

5. Butt, Miriam; Dipper, Stephanie; Frank, Anette; Holloway King, Tracy. Writing Large-Scale Parallel Grammars for English, French and German. Proceedings of LFG99 Conference. CSLI Publications

6. Abbas Ali Ahangar, Nader Jahangiri, Fahimeh Mohammadpour. A Lexical-Functional Model for Machine Translation of English Zero-place Predicators, International Journal of English Linguistics, Vol. 2, No. 3; 2012.

7. Seljan, Sanja. Formal Description of Some Linguistic Phenomena in Croatian by Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG). Zbornik radova Odsjeka za informacijske znanosti. Zagreb: Zavod za informacijske studije Odsjeka za informacijske znanosti Filozofskog fakulteta sveučilišta u Zagrebu, 2002, 119-132

8. Lexical Functional Grammar

9. LFG Demo

10. LFG – Archive Papers

11. LFG – DOP

12. Grammar Writer's Workbench for Lexical Functional Grammar

13. Fortmann, Christian; Forst, Martin. An LFG grammar checker for CALL, In ICALL, 2004.

14. Stefan Riezler, Tracy H. King, Ronald M. Kaplan, Richard S. Crouch, John T. Maxwell III, Mark Johnson: Parsing the Wall Street Journal using a Lexical-Functional Grammar and Discriminative Estimation Techniques. ACL 2002, 271-278

15. K.Owczarzak, J. Genabith, A. Way. Evaluating machine translation with LFG dependencies. Machine Translation , Vol. 21 (2), 2007.

16. Fahime Mohammadpour, Abbas Ali Ahangar, Nader Jahangiri. Building a Hybrid Machine Translation System for Translating. English Linguistics Research, Vol. 1, No. 2; 2012

17. Dalyrmple M., Kaplan R. M., Maxwell III J. T., Zaenen, A., ed: Formal Issues in Lexical-Functional Grammar. Stanford: CSLI, 1995.