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Title: Event structure in natural language discourse
Author: Glasbey, Sheila R.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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We present new observations on the distribution of sentence-final 'then'. We develop an analysis which reveals the need to distinguish between times which are explicitly mentioned and those which are merely implicit in the description of events. The account is expressed formally in DRT (Kamp and Reyle 1993), and involves restricting the introduction of temporal discourse referents to cases where an explicit temporal referent is present. We discuss possible problems with the DRT account in extending to larger fragments, and suggest that incorporating ideas from situation theory (Barwise and Perry 1983), along the lines of Cooper's situation-theoretic DRT (STDRT) (Cooper 1993a, 1993b) may overcome these problems. We present an alternative formalisation expressed in a version of Cooper's situation theoretic grammar (STG) (Cooper 1991). In this fragment, the distinction between explicit and implied temporal referents is made in terms of information about the utterance. Observations are made concerning 'at the time' and 'at the same time'. In order to develop an account, we look at related non-temporal observations, involving 'the X' and 'the same X' in discourse sequences, where X is a relational noun such as 'colour'. We develop an account in STDRT using the notion of generalised role, which we show is related to notions of thematic roles/relations used in the literature. Applying this account to the temporal data, we show how this explains the distribution of 'at the time' and 'at the same time' and allows us to propose a way to formalise the discourse relation known as backgrounding. We show how the incorporation of situations allows us to give a treatment of aspectual class and aspectual composition expressed in terms of event structure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available