Shallow parsing (also chunking, "light parsing") is an analysis of a sentence which identifies the constituents (noun groups, verbs, verb groups, etc.), but does not specify their internal structure, nor their role in the main sentence.
It is a technique widely used in natural language processing. It is similar to the concept of lexical analysis for computer languages. Under the name of the Shallow Structure Hypothesis, it is also used as an explanation for why second language learners often fail to parse sentences that are complex correctly.