MoL-2002-10: Scenarios for the Pass\'e Simple and Imparfait: An Event Calculus Approach to French Semantics

MoL-2002-10: Nauze, Fabrice (2002) Scenarios for the Pass\'e Simple and Imparfait: An Event Calculus Approach to French Semantics. [Report]

[img] Text (Full Text (PS))

Download (455kB)
Text (Full Text (PDF))

Download (552kB) | Preview
[img] Text (Abstract)

Download (2kB)


Scenarios for the Pass\'e Simple and Imparfait An Event Calculus Approach to French Semantics Fabrice Nauze Abstract: The goal of this thesis is to apply an AI technique for planning to natural language semantics (pragmatics). It could seem strange at first sight to relate both areas but let us formulate more precisely the topic and then try to explain the relevance of this approach. The idea behind this thesis is to apply the AI formalism called Event Calculus to the semantics of two past tenses in French, namely the Pass\'e Simple and the Imparfait, to obtain a cognitively plausible explanation of some phenomena related to tense and aspect. The event calculus is a formalism to model reasoning with time and change and as such it is usually used to solve planning problems. But what has planning to do with tenses? The main hypothesis underlying this thesis is that our experience of time is not primitive (i.e. time is not an input to our perceptions) but could lie in the necessity to solve planning problems. This hypothesis granted, it doesn't appear strange anymore to think that the comprehension of tenses in natural language could rely somehow on our ability to plan. It seems then natural to first expose several methods for constructing time from events and this will be our task in chapter 1. The influence of this chapter on the rest of the thesis will be apparent to the reader when we will comment some methods used to treat the semantics of the French past tenses. In chapter 2 we sum up the needed data to explore the se- mantics of the Pass\'e Simple and the Imparfait. We introduce the common linguistics views on those tenses and try to insert aspect in this picture. We will then turn to some theories used to account for temporal and as- pectual problems in chapter 3. We will first discuss Kamp's framework, i.e. Discourse Representation Theory (from now on DRT), which doesn't account for aspectual problems. Then we will turn to de Swart's method which incorporates in Kamp's framework a treatment of aspectual informa- tion and extends DRT to Segmented DRT which "offers a theory of the semantics/pragmatics interface".1 Finally we will expose Gosselin's frame- work which is much more influenced by cognitive considerations. The last two chapters will be devoted respectively to an introduction to the event calculus and to a treatment within the event calculus framework of some of our previous data. At this point we will try to make obvious why the use of the event calculus is relevant in the study of the Pass\'e Simple and the Imparfait semantics. We can already say that the way aspectual classes are incorporated in the formalism and the notion of a scenario will be two of the features that make the event calculus formalism particularly well-suited for dealing with both aspectual and tense information in sentences with a Pass\'e Simple and/or an Imparfait.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2002-10
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2002
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:38

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item