The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

MSc Thesis #92151

Title:The Design and Construction of a Portable Database Query Language Paraphraser
Date: 1992
Abstract:This dissertation discusses the design and implementation of a natural language paraphraser for database queries. Working with the assumption that the database operations expressible in query languages can be trivially translated into relational calculus as the input to such a system. Thus the principal aim is to build a system that accepts relational calculus expressions as input and produces natural language descriptions of the relational calculus as output. The architecture of the system draws upon the work of De Roeck and Lowden [De Roeck & Lowden 86b], with the system broken down into three modules: the relational calculus parser accepts relational calculus expressions as input and breaks these expressions down into their constituent parts. The parsed relational calculus expressions are very poor in conceptual information. Natural language expressions are rich in conceptual information, so the domain mapper adds the necessary conceptual information to the parsed relational calculus expressions to produce representations termed logical forms. These logical forms contain the necessary syntactic and semantic content for the linguistic realizer to be able to generate English descriptions from them. The project tested the portability of De Roeck and Lowden's ideas to another domain, with successful results. The system implemented is efficient, producing paraphrases of the relational calculus expressions in a few seconds. The system is portable in that it would be fairly easy to adapt the system to another database domain.

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