Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 45-81

First online:

A Resource Sensitive Interpretation of Lexical Functional Grammar

  • Mark JohnsonAffiliated withDepartment of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University Email author 

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This paper investigates whether the fundamental linguistic insights and intuitions of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG), which is usually presented as a “constraint-based” linguistic theory, can be reformulated in a “resource sensitive” framework using a substructural modal logic. In the approach investigated here, LFG's f-descriptions are replaced with expressions from a multi-modal propositional logic (with permutation and possibly limited contraction). In effect, the feature structure “unification” basis of LFG's f-structures is replaced with a very different resource based mechanism. It turns out that some linguistic analyses that required non-monotonic devices in LFG (such as the “constraint equations” in the Andrews (1982) analysis of Icelandic) can be straightforwardly expressed in the framework presented here. Moreover, a Curry–Howard correspondence between proofs in this logic and λ-terms provides a semantic interpretation as a by-product of the process of showing syntactic well-formedness.

Lexical Functional Grammar feature-structures “unification” grammar