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Documentation of the GR graph format

Grew use a dedicated file format to describe graphs which is called the gr graph format and it can be used as input and output format for Grew.

:!: Files using this format are expected to used the .gr file extension.

:!: Nodes and edges of graphs are defined relatively to a feature domain and to a label domain which are themselves described in a GRS file.


A feature is a pair (feature_name, feature_value) and is written with the = symbol. For instance, the feature (cat,v) is written:

 cat = v 

It's always possible to write feature values with surrounding double quotes:

 lemma = "accuser"

Moreover double quotes are required if the feature value is not an identifier (as define above):

 lemma = "accusé"

Feature values can be numbers (this supposes that the GRS file declares the corresponding feature name as a numerical feature):

 x = 12 
 z = 12.34 

An example of numerical feature is given by the feature named position which is used in dependency structure to describe linear word order.

Feature structures

A feature structure is a set of features with different feature names. They are written between brackets and with “,” as the separator between features:

 [cat = V, lemma = "accuser"]


A node definition consists of an identifier and a feature structure:

P_23 [cat = V, lemma = "accuser"]

The feature structure can be empty:

X []


An edge definition is given by two identifiers separated by a label declaration surrounded by symbols -[ and ]->.

X -[obj]-> P_23


The input syntax for graph uses the keyword graph. The description is enclosed in braces and it contains a set of nodes and edges definitions separated by a colon.

For instance, the code below correspond to the graph above:

graph {
   A [phon="Elle", lemma="il", cat=PRO ];
   B [phon="pense", lemma="penser", cat=V, m=ind ];
   B -[suj]-> A;
   C [phon="venir", lemma="venir", cat=V, m=inf ];
   B -[suj]-> C


Dependency structures

Grew often manipulates dependency structures and so, it is possible to draw graphs this way. But, to draw a sensible dependency structure, word order is necessary. The word position in the structure is described by the position feature.

The position value can be given after the identifier and between parenthesis; hence the two lines below are equivalent:

 A (0) [phon="Elle", lemma="il", cat=pro ] 
 A [phon="Elle", lemma="il", cat=pro , position=0] 

The graph above becomes:

graph {
   A (0) [phon="Elle", lemma="il", cat=PRO ];
   B (1) [phon="pense", lemma="penser", cat=V, m=ind ];
   B -[suj]-> A;
   C (2) [phon="venir", lemma="venir", cat=V, m=inf ];
   B -[obj]-> C

and it can be displayed with dep2pict:



Graphs are supposed to verify the following properties to be well-formed:

  1. all node identifiers are different;
  2. node identifiers in edge definition refer to some previously defined node in the same graph;
  3. it is not allowed to defined twice the same edge (with the same source node, target node and label).