Projection in discourse: A data-driven formal semantic analysis

Noortje Joost Venhuizen

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Abstract

    A sentence like "Bertrand, a famous linguist, wrote a book" contains
    different contributions: there is a person named "Bertrand", he is
    a famous linguist, and he wrote a book. These contributions convey different
    types of information; while the existence of Bertrand is presented as given
    information---it is presupposed---the other contributions signal new
    information. Moreover, the contributions are affected differently by
    linguistic constructions. The inference that Bertrand wrote a book
    disappears when the sentence is negated or turned into interrogative form,
    while the other contributions survive; this is called 'projection'. In this
    thesis, I investigate the relation between different types of contributions
    in a sentence from a theoretical and empirical perspective. I focus on
    projection phenomena, which include presuppositions ('Bertrand exists' in
    the aforementioned example) and conventional implicatures ('Bertrand is
    a famous linguist'). I argue that the differences between the contributions
    can be explained in terms of information status, which describes how content
    relates to the unfolding discourse context. Based on this analysis, I extend
    the widely used formal representational system Discourse Representation
    Theory (DRT) with an explicit representation of the different contributions
    made by projection phenomena; this extension is called 'Projective Discourse
    Representation Theory' (PDRT). I present a data-driven
    computational analysis based on data from the Groningen Meaning Bank,
    a corpus of semantically annotated texts. This analysis shows how PDRT can
    be used to learn more about different kinds of projection behaviour.
    These results can be used to improve linguistically oriented computational
    applications such as automatic translation systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Bos, Johan, Supervisor
    • Hendriks, Petra, Supervisor
    Award date26-Nov-2015
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publisher
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-8071-1
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8070-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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