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Title: Understanding natural language about multiple eventualities and continuous eventualities
Author: Rock, S. T.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The main task that this thesis deals with is the provision of a comprehensive analysis concerning a meaningful subset of English and developing a computational implementation that is able to show understanding of this language subset, in part via limited visualisation. There is a well accepted analogy that says that eventualities exist in time, in ways that are similar to how objects exist in space. This analogy is used as a framework to investigate in detail those activities that are the eventuality analogue of plural and mass objects - multiple instances of an activity, or continuous occurrence of an activity respectively. These are called extended activities. We examine the ways in which natural language is used to describe these kinds of activities, and discuss ways in which the meanings of such language can be represented. We concentrate on language that is in the form of instructions, and discuss the special relationship between instructions and activities. Using the idea that some of our understanding of language comes from the context within which the language is being understood, we identify those parts of language about extended activities that are independent of context and indicate the places where context would play a part. Focusing on the context-independent part, the development of a grammar that can be used in an understanding system demonstrates that it is feasible to interpret important aspects of such language computationally. Further, the system includes a semi-graphical visualisation component that depicts in space the internal structure of the extended activity in time. The work in this thesis relies on the notion that language about extended activities is playing a role analogous to that of object quantification. That is, instead of the more common view that such language is playing the role of event modification, we take the view that it plays the role of event quantification.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available