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Title: A situation theoretic approach to computational semantics
Author: Black, Alan W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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This thesis presents an approach to the description of natural language semantic theories within a situation theoretic framework. In recent years, research has produced a number of semantic theories of natural language that primarily deal with very similar phenomena, such as quantification and anaphora. Although these theories often deal with similar data it is not always possible to see differences between theories' treatments due to differences in the theories' syntax, notations and definitions. In order to allow better comparison of theories, the idea of a general semantic meta-language is discussed and a suitable language is presented. ASTL is a computational language which is formally defined. It is based on fundamental aspects of situation theory. It offers representations of individuals, relations, parameters, facts, types and situations. It also offers inter-situation constraints and a set of inference rules is defined over them. In order to show ASTL's suitability as a computational meta-language three contemporary semantic theories are described within it: Situation Theoretic Grammar - a situation semantic based theory, Discourse Representation Theory and a form of dynamic semantics. The results show that at least core parts of these semantic theories can be described in ASTL. Because ASTL has an implementation, it directly offer implementation of the theories described in it. The three descriptions can be closely compared because they are described in the same framework. Also this introduces the possibility of sharing treatments of semantic phenomena between theories. Various extensions to ASTL are discussed but even in its simplest form it is powerful and useful both as an implementation language and specification language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available