March 10, 2000

Vivi Nastase

Attempting to unify semantic representations across syntactic levels

There are many forms of linguistic expression, and a speaker may choose one or another depending on their goal, or on the hearer's background or expectations. We can use one long composite sentence, or a few short, simple clauses. We can choose to pack much information into a noun phrase, or to spread this information over the surrounding clause. We would like language processing computer systems to recognize the fact that the same concept/situation/relation is presented, even if it takes different forms.

I consider three syntactic levels of language: multi-clause sentences, clauses, noun phrases. My work starts with three separate lists of semantic relations, one for each of these syntactic levels. The intended result is to find regularities, or maybe even rules that associate semantic relations on different levels. I have decomposed this task into several subtastks. In this talk I will present these subtasks, some theories (or perhaps intuitions) about the underlying phenomena, and some preliminary experiments. I will talk about the next experiment I am preparing, and some lexical-semantic problems I need to tackle.

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