Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 33–70 | Cite as

A Principled Approach to Grammars for Controlled Natural Languages and Predictive Editors

  • Tobias Kuhn


Controlled natural languages (CNL) with a direct mapping to formal logic have been proposed to improve the usability of knowledge representation systems, query interfaces, and formal specifications. Predictive editors are a popular approach to solve the problem that CNLs are easy to read but hard to write. Such predictive editors need to be able to “look ahead” in order to show all possible continuations of a given unfinished sentence. Such lookahead features, however, are difficult to implement in a satisfying way with existing grammar frameworks, especially if the CNL supports complex nonlocal structures such as anaphoric references. Here, methods and algorithms are presented for a new grammar notation called Codeco, which is specifically designed for controlled natural languages and predictive editors. A parsing approach for Codeco based on an extended chart parsing algorithm is presented. A large subset of Attempto Controlled English has been represented in Codeco. Evaluation of this grammar and the parser implementation shows that the approach is practical, adequate and efficient.


Anaphoric references Attempto Controlled English Chart parsing Controlled natural languages Predictive editors 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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