Syntactic Analysis of Hebrew Sentences

Shuly Wintner, Uzzi Ornan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to recent developments in the area of computational formalisms for linguistic representation, the task of designing a parser for a specified natural language is now shifted to the problem of designing its grammar in certain formal ways. This paper describes the results of a project whose aim was to design a formal grammar for modern Hebrew. Such a formal grammar has never been developed before. Since most of the work on grammatical formalisms was done without regarding Hebrew (and other Semitic languages as well), we had to choose a formalism that would best fit the specific needs of the language. This part of the project has been described elsewhere. In this paper we describe the details of the grammar we developed. The grammar deals with simple, subordinate and coordinate sentences as well as interrogative sentences. Some structures were thoroughly dealt with, among which are noun phrases, verb phrases, adjectival phrases, relative clauses, object and adjunct clauses; many types of adjuncts; subcategorization of verbs; coordination; numerals, etc. For each phrase the parser produces a description of the structure tree of the phrase as well as a representation of the syntactic relations in it. Many examples of Hebrew phrases are demonstrated, together with the structure the parser assigns them. In cases where more than one parse is produced, the reasons of the ambiguity are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-288
Number of pages28
JournalNatural Language Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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