A descriptive characterisation of linear languages

Abstract
Lautemann et al. (1995) gave a descriptive characterisation of the class of context-free languages, showing that a language is context-free iff it is definable as the set of words satisfying some sentence of a particular logic (fragment) over words. The present notes discuss how to specialise this result to the class of linear languages. Somewhat surprisingly, what would seem the most straightforward specialisation actually fails, due to the fact that linear grammars fail to admit a Greibach normal form. We identify an alternative specialisation, based on an alternative characterisation of context-free languages, also noted by Lautemann et al. (1995).
Keywords Descriptive complexity  Linear languages  Greibach normal form
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