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Aspectual composition using weak type coercion

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.1994, 00:00 authored by Alex Franz
Abstract: "Work on aspect has long focussed on classifications of linguistic expressions into aspectual types, or Vendler-classes. Typical Vendler-classes include states, processes, and events. Such classifications miss the important generalization about aspectual interpretationthat it is a compositional process. It has been noted in the literature that terms can switch Vendler-classes; this has been called the category-switch problem. In our analysis, it is proposed that meanings and not expressions fall into aspectual classes, and that the aspectual type of a meaning is derived by a process of aspectual composition. This process operates on underlying generalized activities that are similar to the nuclei proposed by Moens & Steedman, which in turn resemble plans.The interplay between semantic selection for a certain aspectual type and the application of type-changing operators to the meanings of verbphrases and sentences that occurs during aspectual composition constitutes weak aspectual type coercion. Our approach is illustrated with a unification-based grammar fragment that accounts for aspectual composition with certain adverbials, such as in a day or for an hour."


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