Diagramming sentences

Mark Liberman, Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, Apr 14, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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The problem with sentences like "Man arrested with fake CIA badge" is that it suggests the fake CIA badge was used to make the arrest. Obviously there's a problem of ambiguity here, which is corrected with proper grammar. But how do we represent, and subsequently teach, the correct grammar? For decades, the Reed-Kellogg system has been used in schools; it diagrams the same basic sentence elements that might be found in, say, phrase structure rules. But the contemporary method of diagramming sentences, the Penn Treebank, is nowhere to be found in schools (at least, according to this post ). Why not? "Who is doing all the research, and writing all those thousands of scholarly, scientific and technical papers? Computational linguists and computer scientists." Indeed, sentence analysis is big business and treebank libraries have been produced for dozens of languages. There is a disconnect here, argues Liberman, between what's being done in the world, and what's being taught in schools. "The people who know about this stuff have done a dreadful job of public relations." (Image: Sentence Diagram)

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