Common-sense resolution of syntactic ambiguity in database queries

  • Lai Leng Hui
  • Ingrid Zukerman
Natural Language
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 406)


In a natural language database query, the existence of syntactic ambiguity within the input utterance results in more than one possible interpretation of the input. This paper describes a procedure to resolve this type of ambiguity by making use of domain knowledge and information in the database schema, and by examining the sentential structure of the input utterance.

Keywords and Phrases

Natural Language Understanding User Interface Database Queries 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Dahl, V. (1982), On Database Systems Development through Logic. In ACM Transaction on Database Systems, Vol 7, No. 1, March 1982.Google Scholar
  2. Grosz, B.J., Appelt, D.E., Martin, P.A., and Pereira, F.C.N. (1987), TEAM: An Experiment in the Design of Transportable Natural-Language Interfaces. In Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 32, pp. 173–243.Google Scholar
  3. Kaplan, J. (1982), Co-operative Responses from a Portable NL Query System. In Journal of Artificial Intelligence, Vol 19, pp. 165–187.Google Scholar
  4. McDonald, D.B. (1981), Compound: a program that understands noun compounds. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.Google Scholar
  5. Nilsson, N.J. (1980), Principles of Artificial Intelligence, Tioga Publishing Co., Palo Alto, California.Google Scholar
  6. Raz, Y., Supporting Natural Language Interfaces For Relational Databases Using RRA — A Reshaped Relational Algebra, Technical Report #410, Israel Institute of Technology, Dept. of Comp. Sc., May 1986.Google Scholar
  7. Rieger, C. (1975), Conceptual Analysis, In R.C. Schank (Ed.), Conceptual Information Processing, 1975, North Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  8. Riesbeck, C. (1978), An Expectation-Driven Production System for Natural Language. In D. A. Waterman & F. Hayes-Roth (Eds.), Pattern Directed Inference Systems, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Schank R. C. and Riesbeck C. K. (1981), Inside Computer Understanding, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  10. Sparck Jones, K. (1985), So what about parsing compound nouns?. In Sparck Jones K. & Wilks Y. (Eds.), Automated Natural Language Parsing, Ellis Horwood Ltd., 1985.Google Scholar
  11. Wilks, Y. (1975a), An Intelligent Analyzer and Understander of English. In Communications of the ACM, Vol. 18, No. 5, May 1975, pp. 264–274.Google Scholar
  12. Wilks, Y. (1975b), A Preferential Pattern Seeking Semantics for Natural Language Inference. In Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 6, pp. 53–74.Google Scholar
  13. Wilks, Y., Huang, X. and Sass, D. (1985), Syntax, Preference and Right Attachment. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lai Leng Hui
    • 1
  • Ingrid Zukerman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

Personalised recommendations