Working with Systemic-functional Grammars: I

Starting up and modifying a simple ‘grammar’: a step-by-step tutorial


In this tutorial, you are led step-by-step through the use of an extremely small generation 'grammar' with the generation programme KPML.

The grammar we use is for a very small part of English, in fact, barely a part of English at all! it concerns the linguistic forms for referring to people by name.

This grammar can only 'generate' forms for Mr. X, Mrs. Y and similar. It is, furthermore, incomplete: so part of this tutorial is to:

  1. find out in what ways the grammar is incomplete and
  2. extend it so that it is complete.
Purpose Despite the grammar being so simple, the steps that one needs to go through to find where it is incomplete and extend it are exactly the same as those steps that we employ with more complex grammars. Following this tutorial through means that you are then in a starting position for doing the same for a real grammar.
Prerequisites Although no previous use of a computer is assumed for this tutorial, you should have read or been given at least a first basic introduction to the notion of a systemic grammar and system networks since we see directly how to work with systemic-functional grammars with the computer, letting the computer do much of the more automatic work such as following paths through the system network, collected realization statements, and constructing compatible syntactic structures.

If you are working on a computer that already has the basic KPML beginner package installed, then you just need to start the programme.

  • In the CIP-lab of FB10, you should look under 'Linguistische Werkzeuge" and select "KPML novice"
  • If you are working elsewhere, you can download the programme by following the instructions given here.
  • If you are in Bremen, then a runnable image of this tutorial can also be started directly by clicking here. (Note that this is not ideal because the image is around 30Mb and will have to be passed over your local area network before starting up.)

Getting started

When you have found the programme and started it, three windows should appear on your screen. Once these windows appear, you can start working; if it does not appear, something is wrong and you should seek help. Do not get impatient and click again: each time you click twice the PC will try and start another version of the program, may start bringing it across a network, and will thereby slow down still further its loading of the other versions of the program that it was already trying to start!!

The three windows are should look something as follows (you may click on these pictures for larger views if required):

click for larger view click for larger view click for larger view
Background messages
The root window
The development window

The window that you will work with is the development window (rightmost). Select this window so this is where you are looking and then following the instructions for the rest of the tutorial.

All clicking described in the tutorial will be done with the left mouse button unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Instructions Start here