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Journal of Inforamtion Science and Engineering, Vol.5 No.4, pp.349-366 (October 1989)
The Identification of Thematic Roles
in Parsing Mandarin Chinese

Keh-Jiann Chen, Chu-Ren Huang+ and Li-Ping Chang#
Institute of Information Science
Academia Sinica
Taipei, Taiwan 11529, Republic of China
+Institute of History and Philology
Academia Sinica
Taipei, Taiwan 11529, Republic of China
#Computing Center
Academia Sinica
Taipei, Taiwan 11529, Republic of China
and Graduate Institute of Linguistics
Fu Jen Catholic University
Hsinchuang, Taiwan 24205, Republic of China

In parsing, the identification of thematic roles not only is fundamental to semantic interpretations but also can reduce syntactic branches and ambiguities. Since the syntactic structures for natural languages are usually complicated and ambiguous, there is no uniquely deterministic parsing strategy. This paper observes that, in addition to real world knowledge, there are four parameters to identify the roles of constituents in a sentence. They are syntactic categories and semantic features of constituents, case frames and case restrictions of verbs, syntactic configurations and word order, and obligue case assigners. Further, this paper shows how the parameters, including syntactic and semantic information, are represented in feature structures, and how they function in identifying thematic roles. The thematic roles of constituents can be determined by accumulating parametric information. Thus, it is believed that the unification parsing strategy can make parsing more deterministic and efficient.

Keywords: parsing mandarin Chinese, semantic analysis, identification of thematic roles, unification, information-based representation

Received September 28, 1989; revised November 5, 1989.
Communicated by Lin-Shan Lee.