annotated machine grammar

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According to a new BPFK policy proposal, which is likely to be adopted, the BPFK has to review ALL the machine grammar rules.

The current machine grammar is written mostly in YACC, with a few post- and pre-processing rules written in English. Some of these are difficult to formalize, as such, implementation of the grammar (such as the official parser and la jbofi'e give different results, and none of them implement the whole language.

Robin Lee Powell is currently working on a machine grammar in Parsing Expression Grammar (see his web page), which is expected to eventually be blessed by the BPFK as the definitive grammar, when it has been thoroughly debugged.

This collection of pages looks at the YACC rules. Most of them are carried over to the PEG grammar, though.

la tsali'm going to take the easy ones first; I don't expect there to be any issues with them. I'm working from http://www.lojban.org/files/machine-grammars/grammar.300, which is the same as the one in the CLL, barring typos.

When I started this, I was unaware of the techfix comments. These might be of help in understanding the rationale of the rules.

Non-terminals (phrases)

Specific kinds of non-terminals

These are non-terminals that are so similar that it makes sense

discussing them collectively.

Terminals (tokens)

  • FAhA_528
  • NAI_581
  • error (sic)

The machine grammar of Lojban is not purely LALR(1). Some constructs need to be modified by a program before passing it on to the actual YACC parser. This program is referred to as the lexer in literature about the machine grammar, but it does a lot more than simply lexing. There are two kinds of modifications the lexer can do to its input:

  • Replace it with a pseudo-token ("lexer token")
  • Insert a lexer token in front of it

An example where this is done, is with utterance ordinals, that consists of a letteral or number string, followed by mai. The lexer detects that such a string is followed by mai, and inserts lexer_A_701 in front of it. Thus, the "real" parser sees the resulting construct about the same way as it sees a parenthesis, with an introducing particle, a contained phrase, and a terminator. Needless to say, the conceptual "terminator" of the utterance ordinal, mai, is not elidable, because that is the word that the lexer has to detect to insert the lexer token in the first place.

The lexer tokens and the preparsing process is not as well understood as the rest of the YACC grammar. In particular, it is not certain if they interact with each other. This project is trying to remedy this.

  • token lexer_A_701 - flags a MAI utterance ordinal
  • token lexer_B_702 - flags an EK unless EK_BO, EK_KE
  • token lexer_C_703 - flags an EK_BO
  • token lexer_D_704 - flags an EK_KE
  • token lexer_E_705 - flags a JEK
  • token lexer_F_706 - flags a JOIK
  • token lexer_G_707 - flags a GEK
  • token lexer_H_708 - flags a GUhEK
  • token lexer_I_709 - flags a NAhE_BO
  • token lexer_J_710 - flags a NA_KU
  • token lexer_K_711 - flags an I_BO (option. JOIK/JEK lexer tags)
  • token lexer_L_712 - flags a PA, unless MAI (then lexer A)
  • token lexer_M_713 - flags a GIhEK_BO
  • token lexer_N_714 - flags a GIhEK_KE
  • token lexer_O_715 - flags a modal operator BAI or compound
  • token lexer_P_716 - flags a GIK
  • token lexer_Q_717 - flags a lerfu_string unless MAI (then lexer_A)
  • token lexer_R_718 - flags a GIhEK, not BO or KE
  • token lexer_S_719 - flags simple I
  • token lexer_T_720 - flags I_JEK
  • token lexer_U_721 - flags a JEK_BO
  • token lexer_V_722 - flags a JOIK_BO
  • token lexer_Y_725 - flags a PA_MOI