Naturala is a natural language processing package developed by R Kumar et. al. Naturala supports natural language programming. That is, it aims at natural programming by which normal English can be adopted in programming. Naturala’s syntax is very flexible unlike C, C++, Java, etc. It can receive and report information natural to human beings. Naturala is built using LISP as it is powerful enough for strings and symbolic manipulations, necessary for natural language processing. It has an add-on facility of answering questions is in fact an utility that can be used in data-processing environments.
Naturala is woven around a turnkey system which guides the user via menus and prompts (commands). It helps the user regarding what can be done and how it can be done. It is subdivided into four basic modules: Basecon, Mr Fault, Tellme and Screeno.
Basecon helps in processing basic sentences of the programming language such as arithmetic statements, logical statements, conditional constructs and repetitive constructs. Generally this can be achieved through three techniques pattern and keyword matching, syntactic and semantic analysis, and knowledge based analysis. However Basecon uses the latter two techniques.
Parsing is the first stage of Basecon analysis where the syntactic structure of the sentence is parsed and a parse tree is returned on success. The analysis involves knowledge of the syntax, language morphology and semantics. However, for misspelled or faulty grammatical statements, the parsing falls and error messages are flashed. Basecon in its next stage determines the semantics of the sentence and directs it to the corresponding action routines.
Mr Fault is a powerful error handler that can pinpoint errors very close to the area of error so that the user can easily locate it. It can identify syntactic, semantic and run-time errors.
With the goal of making data bases directly available to the decision makers, Tellme, a prototype module, understands the query and automates the procedures usually adopted by the programmers. In the first stage of Tellme, the queries in English are parsed to produce sequence of database oriented action codes. Intelligence Data Access (IDA), the second stage of Tellme, takes the action code from stage 1. IDA gets the answer to the query from the appropriate file in the database.
For defining the grammar for the system, Tellme follows an approach by embedding considerable semantic information in the syntax of the grammar. This method of gramamar specification is easy to use and, when followed systematically, allows grammar of broad coverage to be defined.
Screeno is a powerful menu driven screen editor which comes as a utility with Naturala Screeno is written in LISP to facilitate the proper compilation of intermediate LISP, Screeno has got window interaction facility and help facility.
The concept of programming has taken a new dimension. There is no need to learn the syntax of Naturala like other programming languages. This way of natural programming increases the readability and versatality and brings in a large domain of users closer to the system.
A new approach called Mixed Processing is incorporated in Naturala where the user can be inquisitive during processing. The queries will be displayed in a separate window without disturbing the ongoing process.