We thought it would be good to let you know what we have been up to in the last few months, besides publishing posts on our website. Well, we have been very busy improving our parser and the conjugators that are based on it. Some of the new features were added thanks to the sentences you tried on our Voice Conjugator and Tense Conjugator, which made us aware of problems we had overlooked.
We have recently expanded the coverage of the Contextors Parser to include adjuncts and locative complements. Adjuncts are phrases that provide information about, among other things, the location and time of the events designated by the verb. Locative complements are phrases that provide the starting point (source) and endpoint (goal) of the events designated by motion verbs (walk, run, chase, jump, etc.).
Adding adjuncts and locative complements to our parser has expanded our Voice Conjugator’s and Tense Conjugator’s coverage. Before adjuncts and locative complements were added, a sentence containing these elements could not be parsed and therefore could not be paraphrased in the required voice or in other tenses. Now most of the sentences with these elements that have been given as input by our users are parsed and properly paraphrased. To give one example concerning the Voice Conjugator, the sentence , where yesterday is a temporal adjunct, is now paraphrased as .
A second improvement to our Voice Conjugator that is the result of the addition of adjuncts is that one more type of passive is now generated. This is the passivization of location adjuncts, as exemplified below.
A third improvement to the Voice Conjugator that is related to adjuncts is that it can now switch between adjuncts that are negative polarity items, like ever, and their negative counterparts. We discuss this matter in detail in the post Voice Alternation and Negative Polarity Items, so here we will just give an example: whereas in the previous version of the Voice Conjugator, an active sentence like was wrongly paraphrased in the passive as *Anyone is no longer visited by the piglet, the Voice Conjugator currently assigns to it the correct paraphrase, namely: .
In addition to the updates described above here are some of the other modifications that have been introduced to our parser and widgets:
These days we are working on extending our parser’s range so that it also covers sentences containing content clauses (subordinate clauses). Content clauses may be declarative or interrogative and may realize different functions in the sentence. In (1) the content clauses are internal complements of the verb; in (2) they are subjects; and in (3) they are complements of prepositions.
Content clauses may undergo extraposition, a process whereby the original position of the content clause comes to be occupied by the dummy pronoun ‘it’, and the content clause itself moves toward the end of the sentence; for example: It is unclear [whether a piglet can reason] is derived from [Whether a piglet can reason] is unclear by extraposition of the bracketed clause. The next version of the parser will cover this phenomenon as well.
We also intend to add to our Voice Conjugator the passivization of content clauses functioning as internal complements, as in the example below:
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