Floating Constraints in Lexical Choice

Jacques Robin, Kathleen McKeown, Michael Elhadad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Lexical choice is a computationally complex task, requiring a generation system to consider a potentially large number of mappings between concepts and words. Constraints that aid in determining which word is best come from a wide variety of sources, including syntax, semantics, pragmatics, the lexicon, and the underlying domain. Furthermore, in some situations, different constraints come into play early on, while in others, they apply much later. This makes it difficult to determine a systematic ordering in which to apply constraints. In this paper, we present a general approach to lexical choice that can handle multiple, interacting constraints. We focus on the problem of floating constraints, semantic or pragmatic constraints that float, appearing at a variety of different syntactic ranks, often merged with other semantic constraints. This means that multiple content units can be realized by a single surface element, and conversely, that a single content unit can be realized by a variety of surface elements. Our approach uses the Functional Unification Formalism (FUF) to represent a generation lexicon, allowing for declarative and compositional representation of individual constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)x-239
JournalComputational Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Floating Constraints in Lexical Choice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this