Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
New Results
Other Grants and Activities

Section: New Results


Syntax and Semantics of Categorial Minimalist grammars

Participants : Alain Lecomte [ correspondent ] , Christian Retoré.

Maxime Amblard (INRIA EPI Calligramme), Alain Lecomte and Christian Retoré, for Lambek 85 Festschrift to appear in Linguistic Analysis, extended their encoding of minimalist grammars into categorial grammars to adjunction and also managed to compute the proper semantical effect of adjunction. [13] On the syntactic side this categorial view of minimalist grammars is closely related to the two step approach of Mönnich and Morawietz, see the note [17] on Morawietz's book [60] .

In Toulouse in April in the symposium "Quel sens pour la linguistique" organized in honour of Sir John Lyons who was awarded an Honoris Causa doctorate, Christian Bassac presented a paper intitled "Categorial Grammars" in which he showed that John Lyons had had a good intuition as regards the place and development of categorial grammars in his book "Introduction to theoretical linguistics" published in 1968, and other papers. In his presentation C. Bassac compared the two approaches of Phrase Structure Grammars and Categorial Grammars and showed that Sir John's prediction was partly right (Categorial Grammars took a wider place in linguistics) and partly wrong (as they were never integrated as such in PSG) but gave rise to various formalisms for instance Stabler, Lecomte, Rétoré's Minimalist Categorial Grammars which for instance analyse Merge as the elimination of / .

Christian Bassac presented a paper intitled "Philosophy, linguistics and semantic interpretation" at the international conference on "Philosophy of language and Linguistics" (April 2009) at the University of Łódź in Poland. He analysed to what extent philosophers and linguists disagree on what logical form really is and showed how some formalisms such as linear logic can obviate the step of translation from a syntactic form to a logical form as syntax and semantics are consubstantial here.He then showed how linear logic can be used to account for various linguistic phenomena such as morphological agreement, and coercion phenomena.

Effective Compositional Semantics in Grail

Participants : Richard Moot [ correspondent ] , Natalia Vinogradova.

In addition to the syntactic part of Grail, Richard Moot and Natalia Vinogradova are currently developing a semantic lexicon in parallel with the syntactic lexicon. The goal of this semantic lexicon is to assign lambda terms (the "natural" semantics for categorial grammars) to natural language sentences. Though it currently handles only the most frequently occurring formulas, it already correctly handles a number of interesting constructions (verb clusters, passivization, wh extraction) in addition to the basic structures (nouns, adjectives, prepositions, adverbs).

Computational Semantics with Rich Lexical Semantics

Participants : Christian Bassac, Bruno Mery, Christian Retoré [ correspondent ] .

Christian Bassac, Bruno Mery and Christian Retore continued the formalization of lexical semantics in an integrated logic framework. Their work on lexical disambiguation in context, in particular for object with facets, with second order lambda calculus has been polished and published in the JoLLI. They went beyond lambda calculus by using the finer grained linear type theory: the multiplicative conjunction of linear logic as a generic type for multi facet objects without systematic projections, yet with a compound type related to its components, and discovered that the exponential can faithfully represent the reversibility or irreversibility of some meaning transformations. [14]

Christian Bassac analyzed the Event Structure of verbal lexical items and showed that an Extended Event Structure such as postulated in the Generative Lexicon theory can offer an explanatory account to such phenomena as passivization, the opposition between resultatives and secondary depictives, and Psych-verbs. This work was presented during the international conference on "Event, Events, Sub-events/ Evénement, événements et sous-événements" organized by the University of Paris 3 in September 2009. [30]

Semantic Zeugma and Coordination

Participant : Lionel Clément [ correspondent ] .

Lionel Clément pursued his work on semantic zeugma, that is a figure where two incompatible meanings of a lexical item get simultaneously instantiated. Le lexical choice is responsible for the opposition between the two parts of the coordination. In his paper he suggest to restore the possibility of a lexical choice for the antecedent to replace the choice previously made. The interplay between the two possible instantiations provides a pragmatical reading to this rhetorical figure. [15]


Keywords : presupposition, argumentation, fallacies, ludics.

Participant : Alain Lecomte [ correspondent ] .

Alain Lecomte has managed the PRELUDE project, a project funded by the ANR until November 2009. In this framework, he worked out a modelling of dialogue and other topics in pragmatics and rhetorics. This work was presented as a joint work with Myriam Quatrini (from IML, Marseille-Luminy) at WoLLIC 09, held in Tokyo in June. Moreover, other points of the project were presented at the Colloquium “Dialogue, Games and Interaction” which was held in Paris in September. Another presentation was made in Florence in early September, in the frame of the LIGC colloquium (“Logique, Interaction et Géométrie de la Cognition”) and in homage to Prof. Michele Abrusci for his 60th Birthday. This modelling of interaction is based on the concepts of Ludics, a new frame invented by J-Y Girard in order to give new foundations to Logic. The main point is that such a view allows us to reconcile two views in semantics and pragmatics: one based on Proof Theory, and the other on Games Semantics. [25]

Spatio-temporal Semantic Analysis

Keywords : corpus studies, information retrieval, indexing, lexical semantics, geographic information system.

Participants : Mauro Gaio [ correspondant ] , Natalia Vinogradova, Richard Moot.

For the present Mauro Gaio with the colleagues involved in the GEONTO project focuses his research on interoperability of diverse data related to geographic information. In this project we particularly intend to facilitate applications dealing with such a diversity, from the integration of database schemas to the intuitive query of textual documents, being either technical or common documents. In this context, Mauro Gaio has proposed several approaches which depend on natural language processing techniques. The goal of these approaches is to analyse existing geographical texts of the public library la médiathèque de Pau looking for geographical expressions linked with geographical names and typical linguistic situations surrounding them. He also has contributed to propose a set of tools to extract and formalize these expressions in order to build a geographic ontology reflecting document content points of view. The integration of this linguistically anchored geographical ontology in the semantical part of Grail is being discussed with Richard Moot and Natalia Vinogradova. All the works of this project will be developed and tested on actual data. Real data in the geographic field, more particularly in the topographic domain, will be provided by the French national mapping agency and a public library in the town of Pau for experiments. In France, there are numerous and huge databases in this domain (about one hundred of giga-bytes). [21] , [24] , [16] , [26] , [27] , [28]


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