Fragments of language

By a fragment of a natural language we mean a subset of thatlanguage equipped with semantics which translate its sentences intosome formal system such as first-order logic. The familiar conceptsof satisfiability and entailment can be defined for anysuch fragment in a natural way. The question therefore arises, for anygiven fragment of a natural language, as to the computational complexityof determining satisfiability and entailment within that fragment. Wepresent a series of fragments of English for which the satisfiabilityproblem is polynomial, NP-complete, EXPTIME-complete,NEXPTIME-complete and undecidable. Thus, this paper represents a casestudy in how to approach the problem of determining the logicalcomplexity of various natural language constructions. In addition, wedraw some general conclusions about the relationship between naturallanguage and formal logic.
Keywords complexity   computational   generalized   language   natural   quantifiers   semantics
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DOI 10.1023/B:JLLI.0000024735.97006.5a
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