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On certain formal properties of grammars

By Noam Chomsky


A grammar can be regarded as a device that enumerates the sentences of a language. We study a sequence of restrictions that limit grammars first to Turing machines, then to two types of system from which a phrase structure description of the generated language can be drawn, and finally to finite state Markov sources (finite automata). These restrictions are shown to be increasingly heavy in the sense that the languages that can be generated by grammars meeting a given restriction constitute a proper subset of those that can be generated by grammars meeting the preceding restriction. Various formulations of phrase structure description are considered, and the source of their excess generative power over finite state sources is investigated in greater detail

Publisher: Published by Elsevier Inc.
Year: 1959
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S0019-9958(59)90362-6
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