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Underspecified Representation and Resolution of Ellipsis

Feiyu Xu
Mastersthesis, Universität des Saarlandes, Department of Computational Linguistics, 1998.


This thesis deals with the underspecified semantic representation and resolution of ellipsis. We focus on the interaction of Verb Phrase Ellipsis (henceforth VPE) and anaphora. In particular, we address the distribution of strict and sloppy readings in these phenomena and present an analysis to explain it. This analysis is integrated into a framework that concerns a uniform treatment of semantically underspecified information and parallelism phenomena in discourse. The analysis put forward in this thesis gives correct predictions about the strict and sloppy readings of a series of problematic cases in the literature. It does not suffer from undergeneration or overgeneration problems. We use linking relations between anaphoric pronouns and their antecedents and claim that the interaction between linking relations and the parallelism requirement in VPE results in strict and sloppy readings. The basic idea underlying the analysis presented in this thesis agrees with the proposal made by (Kehler 93; Kehler 95). Although recently a lot of approaches to semantic underspecification as well as ellipsis resolution have emerged in computational linguistics, few of them are designed to treat both problems uniformly. The framework proposed in this thesis shows how to integrate the treatment of ellipsis resolution with semantic underspecification in a uniform and elegant way.

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