Natural Language Understanding Wiki



  1. The prime number few.
  2. Fat people eat accumulates.
  3. The cotton clothing is usually made of grows in Mississippi.
  4. The man who hunts ducks out on weekends.
  5. Mary gave the child the dog bit a bandaid.
  6. The girl told the story cried.
  7. I convinced her children are noisy.
  8. Helen is expecting tomorrow to be a bad day.
  9. I know the words to that song about the queen don't rhyme.
  10. She told me a little white lie will come back to haunt me.
  11. The dog that I had really loved bones.
  12. The man who whistles tunes pianos.
  13. The old man the boat.
  14. The raft floated down the river sank.
  15. We painted the wall with cracks.
  16. The tycoon sold the offshore oil tracts for a lot of money wanted to kill JR.



As an example, consider:

(1) The athlete realized [her goals]PATIENT/THEME were out of reach.

When reaching the noun phrase her goals, the human language processor is faced with a semantic role ambiguity: her goals can either be the PATIENT of the verb realize, or it can be the THEME of a subsequent verb that has not been encountered yet. Experimental evidence shows that the human language processor initially prefers the PA- T I E N T role, but switches its preference to the theme role when it reaches the subordinate verb were. Such semantic garden paths occur because human language processing occurs word-by-word, and are well attested in the psycholinguistic litera- ture (e.g., Pickering et al., 2000[1]).

Processing (human)[]

From Kintsch (1988)[2]: "an example discussed by Frazier and Rayner (1982): The linguists knew the solution of the problem would not be easy. Here, the on-line construction of propositions is not so simple. First, the proposition KNOW[LINGUISTS,S] is formed. Then, by the strategy of minimal attachment, the subsequent noun phrase is interpreted as the object of KNOW, yielding KNOW[LINGUISTS,SOLUTION]. The final verb phrase, however, requires a subject, so [NOT[EASY[SOLUTION]] is constructed. As Frazier and Rayner pointed out, this does not involve a reinterpretation of the sentence. Subjects do not go back, noting in some way that solution of the problem had been attached to the wrong proposition, and repair this error. Instead, the incorrectly formed KNOW proposition somehow just disappears."


  1. Pickering, Martin J., Matthew J. Traxler, and Matthew W. Crocker. 2000. Ambiguity reso- lution in sentence processing: Evidence against frequency-based accounts. Journal of Memory and Language 43(3):447–475.
  2. Kintsch, W. (1988). The Role of Knowledge in Discourse Comprehension - a Construction Integration Model. Psychological Review, 95(2), 163–182.