Semantic abstraction and anaphora

Mark Johnson, Martin Kay

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This paper describes a way of expressing syntactic rules that associate semantic formulae with strings, but in a manner that is independent of the syntactic details of these formulae. In particular we show how the same rules construct predicate argument formulae in the style of Montague grammar[13], representations reminiscent of situation semantics (Barwise and Perry [2]) and of the event logic of Davidson [5], or representations inspired by the discourse representations proposed by Kamp [9]. The idea is that semantic representations are specified indirectly using semantic construction operators, which enforce an abstraction barrier between the grammar and the semantic representations themselves. First we present a simple grammar which is compatible with the three different sets of constructors for the three formalisms. We then extend the grammar to provide one treatment that accounts for quantifier raising in the three different semantic formalisms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
EditorsHans Karlgren
PublisherThe Association for Computational Linguistics
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Computational Linguistics (13th : 1990) - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 20 Aug 199024 Aug 1990


ConferenceInternational Conference on Computational Linguistics (13th : 1990)
Abbreviated titleCOLING 1990

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher 1990. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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