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Underspecification of Intersective Modifier Attachment: Some Arguments from German

Berthold Crysmann
In: Stefan Müller (Hrsg.). The Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar Center for Computational Linguistics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven August 03--06, 2004. International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), Stanford, Pages 378-392, CSLI Publications, 2004.


In this paper, I shall discuss the semantic attachment of intersective modifiers in German coherent constructions. I shall show that a purely syntactic solution to the observable attachment ambiguity is undesirable for reasons of processing e ciency and/or massive spurious ambiguity. Instead, I shall follow Egg and Lebeth (1995) and propose an extension to Minimal Recursion Semantics, permitting the expression of underspecified semantic attachment. This rather trivial move, as we shall see, will not only be preferable for processing reasons, but it will also be more in line with the spirit of underspecified semantics, e ectively providing a compact representation of purely semantic distinctions, instead of unfolding these distinctions into a rain forest of tree representations and derivations. I will present an implementation of the underspecification approach integrated into the German HPSG developed at DFKI and compare its e ciency to an alternative implementation where semantic attachment is unfolded by means of retrieval rules.