This post is about phrase-structure grammars, which can be both entertaining and educational.
If you're a linguistics student, you will be interested in this. We’re going to learn how to define
a little set of rules for a made up language, and then generate possible sentences in that
language based on the rules. We can also use it to test if something is grammatical in our
You may already be familiar with phrase structure from linguistics class, or parsing in programming. Regardless, this introduction is accessible for everyone - including novices.
We will first learn the basics of these little rules, and then illustrate by generating random plot summaries for possible episodes of the TV show Midsomer Murders
(à la the Midsomer Murders Bot on twitter) and also Beatles lyrics.
Even Barnaby can see the templatic nature of the show. How many nas do we need to generate this song? Nearley parser We will be using the Nearley parser, a computer program that helps parse se…