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This paper introduces adaptor grammars, a class of probabilistic models of language that generalize probabilistic context-free grammars (PCFGs). Adaptor grammars augment the probabilistic rules of PCFGs with “adaptors” that can induce dependencies among successive uses. With a particular choice of adaptor, based on the Pitman-Yor process, nonparametric Bayesian models of language using Dirichlet processes and hierarchical Dirichlet processes can be written as simple grammars. We present a general-purpose inference algorithm for adaptor grammars, making it easy to define and use such models, and illustrate how several existing nonparametric Bayesian models can be expressed within this framework.