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LINGUIST List 17.1881

Mon Jun 26 2006

Diss: Computational Ling: Bonato: 'An Integrated Computational Appr...'

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        1.    Roberto Bonato, An Integrated Computational Approach to Binding Theory


Message 1: An Integrated Computational Approach to Binding Theory
Date: 22-Jun-2006
From: Roberto Bonato <roberto.bonatogmail.com>
Subject: An Integrated Computational Approach to Binding Theory


Institution: University of Verona
Program: Formal methods for Computer Science
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Roberto Bonato

Dissertation Title: An Integrated Computational Approach to Binding Theory

Dissertation URL: http://www.fran.it/roby

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Denis Delfitto
Christian Retoré

Dissertation Abstract:

In this thesis I explore how different approaches to Binding Theory issued
from the last thirty years of linguistic enquiry may be effectively
integrated into a computational framework. My purpose is to enrich the
current framework of computational semantics in order to inductively
compute semantic representations of a sentence which incorporate the
principles of Binding Theory.

The original formulation of Binding Theory presents principles A, B and C
as syntactic conditions that indexed Determiner Phrases must fulfill in
order for the sentence in which they occur to be well-formed. Indexes are a
formal device halfway between syntax and semantics that was introduced to
encode coreferential relations between DPs in a sentence. They basically
act as filters that discard every structure whose indexing violates any of
A, B, or C principles. However, Determiner Phrases that occur in a
phrase-marker issued from generative parsing of a sentence do not come with
indexes associated. Principles A, B and C provide a procedure to verify
that a given indexing for a sentence is BT-compliant, but they are not
constructive: no effective procedure to associate correct indexing to DPs
in a sentence is provided. This is both a theoretically and a practically
challenging issue. How do human beings come to associate the correct
indexing (i.e. to establish the correct mutual denotational relationships)
to the DPs occurring in a sentence? And how can we devise a computational
procedure to mimic this process in order to obtain a semantic
representation for the sentence which encodes the additional information
provided by the constraints of Binding Theory?

In this thesis I tackle the problem of integrating in a computational
semantics framework the mechanisms needed to encode the principles of
Binding Theory into the semantic representations computed for a sentence.
Different interpretations that have been given to Binding Theory ask for
different implementations of such mechanisms. Eventually, I propose an
integrated approach that incorporates some of the basic features of the
approaches described into a framework which is both computationally
effective and linguistically well-grounded. We believe this to be the first
accomplished effort to integrate within a single coherent computational
framework some of the basic achievements and insights in Binding Theory
issued of the last 30 years of linguistics and formal semantics enquiry.



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