A sublanguage approach to natural language processing for an expert system

Elizabeth D. Liddy, Corinne L. Jorgensen, Ernest E. Sibert, Edmund S. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A sublanguage grammar approach with strong reliance on semantic word classes was used to develop an NLP component for processing the free-text comments on life insurance applications for evaluation by an underwriting expert system. The NLP component is implemented using a logic-programming formalism. Lexicon entries contain semantic word class tags such as BODYPART, SYMPTOM, or MEDICATION. Adjacency Rules and an Ambiguity Filter are used to interpret the input data using these semantic word classes. Across two experiments, the system produced appropriate readings for 96.8% of a sample of 2069 utterances, and the number of parses produced per utterance was 1.079 for the same sample. Misspellings caused the system its only serious problem. The sublanguage approach to processing text was shown to be very promising for expert systems and suggests itself as a useful paradigm for a range of other text-based systems which must deal with naturally occurring and frequently ungrammatical texts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-645
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Library and Information Sciences


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