Lexical Functional Grammar is a theory of grammar which is a variant of the grammar theories developed by Noam Chomsky. It mainly focuses on syntax, morphology and semantics but does not include phonology which is traditionally subsumed under grammar as well. The theory works with at least two different tracks of analysis

  • the analysis of the structure of the functions (f-structure)
  • the analysis of the structure of the constituents (c-structure)

which are in parallel. There are mapppings from one analysis to the other. One analysis cannot be derived from the other. Constraints are used.

The development of the theory was started by Joan Bresnan and Ronald Kaplan in the 70s. The goal is to model grammar with a formalism which appeals to linguists while at the same time has the rigidity of formalism which computational linguists need.

What is LFG?