Projection in discourse: A data-driven formal semantic analysis

Venhuizen, N. J., 2015, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 240 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Noortje Joost Venhuizen
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
Award date26-Nov-2015
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8071-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8070-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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