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LINGUIST List 16.3338

Sun Nov 20 2005

Diss: Computational Linguistics: Shan: 'Linguistic S...'

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        1.    Chung-chieh Shan, Linguistic Side Effects

Message 1: Linguistic Side Effects
Date: 18-Nov-2005
From: Chung-chieh Shan <ccshanrutgers.edu>
Subject: Linguistic Side Effects

Institution: Harvard University
Program: Computer Science, Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Chung-chieh Shan

Dissertation Title: Linguistic Side Effects

Dissertation URL: http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~ccshan/dissertation/book.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Stuart M. Shieber

Dissertation Abstract:

Apparently noncompositional phenomena in natural languages can be analyzed
like computational side effects in programming languages: anaphora can be
analyzed like state, intensionality can be analyzed like environment,
quantification can be analyzed like delimited control, and so on. We thus
term apparently noncompositional phenomena in natural languages
'linguistic side effects'. We put this new, general analogy to work in
linguistics as well as programming-language theory.

In linguistics, we turn the continuation semantics for delimited control
into a new implementation of quantification in type-logical grammar. This
graphically-motivated implementation does not move nearby constituents
apart or distant constituents together. Just as delimited control encodes
many computational side effects, quantification encodes many linguistic
side effects, in particular anaphora, interrogation, and polarity
sensitivity. Using the programming-language concepts of evaluation order
and multistage programming, we unify four linguistic phenomena that had
been dealt with only separately before: linear scope in quantification,
crossover in anaphora, superiority in interrogation, and linear order in
polarity sensitivity. This unified account is the first to predict a
complex pattern of interaction between anaphora and raised-wh questions,
without any stipulation on both. It also provides the first concrete
processing explanation of linear order in polarity sensitivity.

In programming-language theory, we transfer a duality between expressions
and contexts from our analysis of quantification to a new programming
language with delimited control. This duality exchanges call-by-value
evaluation with call-by-name evaluation, thus extending a known duality
from undelimited to delimited control. The same duality also exchanges the
familiar 'let' construct with the less-familiar 'shift' construct, so
that the latter can be understood in terms of the former.

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