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Expressiveness and Complexity in Underspecified Semantics

Fox, C and Lappin, S (2010) 'Expressiveness and Complexity in Underspecified Semantics.' Linguistic Analysis, 36 (1-4). pp. 385-417. ISSN 0098-9053

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In this paper we address an important issue in the development of an adequate formal theory of underspecified semantics. The tension between expressive power and computational tractability poses an acute problem for any such theory. Generating the full set of resolved scope readings from an underspecified representation produces a combinatorial explosion that undermines the efficiency of these representations. Moreover, Ebert (2005) shows that most current theories of underspecified semantic representations suffer from expressive incompleteness. In previous work we present an account of underspecified scope representations within Property Theory with Curry Typing (PTCT), an intensional first-order theory for natural language semantics. We review this account, and we show that filters applied to the underspecified-scope terms of PTCT permit expressive completeness. While they do not solve the general complexity problem, they do significantly reduce the search space for computing the full set of resolved scope readings in non-worst cases. We explore the role of filters in achieving expressive completeness, and their relationship to the complexity involved in producing full interpretations from underspecified representations.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2012 10:36
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 01:04

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