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Re: Of Legal Language and CS Notation

On 2003-11-21T15:57:09-0500, Anton van Straaten wrote:
> Along these lines, there seems to be something of a movement to use lambda
> calculus in analyzing natural languages. [...]

On 2003-11-22T10:52:15-0500, Vadim Nasardinov wrote:
> Ken Shan wrote:
> >since English is by many accounts a lightweight language...
> Could you provide pointers to any of those accounts?

It is not a particularly recent movement to use the lambda calculus to
analyze natural languages; the beginning was Richard Montague's work (in
papers with titles like "English as a formal language") in the 1960's.
The research tradition that this work gave rise to is generally known as
"formal semantics", though like most names of academic fields this one
does not literally circumscribe its exact coverage.  Theories of formal
semantics often propose a syntactic formalism that is lightweight in the
sense in which the lambda calculus might be argued to be lightweight,
and use it to account for as much of natural language as possible, which
is lightweight for its users as Perl might be argued to be.

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"... On the upside, [Boston roads] do express a very Lovecraftian
non-Euclidian geometry if you're a fan of that sort of thing."
   -- Dan Sugalski, ll1-discuss, 11/5/2003

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