Off-line parsability and the well-foundedness of subsumption

Typed feature structures are used extensively for the specification of linguistic information in many formalisms. The subsumption relation orders TFSs by their information content. We prove that subsumption of acyclic TFSs is well founded, whereas in the presence of cycles general TFS subsumption is not well founded. We show an application of this result for parsing, where the well-foundedness of subsumption is used to guarantee termination for grammars that are off-line parsable. We define a new version of off-line parsability that is less strict than the existing one; thus termination is guaranteed for parsing with a larger set of grammars.
Keywords computational linguistics  parsing  feature structures  unification
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008252619710
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