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

MSc Thesis #9576

Title:A Menu Driven Approach to Natural Language Interfaces
Date: 1995
Abstract:In most natural language interfaces the user enters sentences by typing them in using a keyboard. The disadvantages of this approach are that it is very easy for the user to enter a sentence which the system does not understand and it is difficult to guess the linguistic coverage of the system. One possible solution is to use a menu driven interface, where the user selects words of phrases from menus. At each point the menus available are restricted to those which contain the next possible word in the parse. Thus the user is restricted to entering sentences the system can understand and linguistic coverage is explicit. The aim of this research was to construct a menu driven interface which was as automated as possible. Strategies for parsing, carrying out semantic checking, creating interfaces dynamically and dealing with large grammars which are relevant to menu driven interfaces are discussed. MDI, an implementation of a menu driven interface which builds on and extends work done by [Tennant et al. 83a] and [Tennant et al. 83b], was implemented to test these strategies.

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