1978 SemanticsandQuantificationinNat

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Subject Headings: LUNAR System, Question Answering (QA) Task; Question Answering (QA) System.


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The history of communication between man and machines has followed a path of increasing provision for the convenience and ease of communication on the part of the human. From raw binary and octal numeric machine languages, through various symbolic assembly, scientific, business, and higher level languages, programming languages have increasingly adopted notations that are more natural and meaningful to a human user. The important characteristic of this trend is the elevation of the level at which instructions are specified, from the low-level details of the machine operations to high-level descriptions of the task to be done, leaving out details that can be filled in by the computer. This chapter is intended to be a discussion of a set of techniques, the problems they solve, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of several alternative approaches. The chapter demonstrates some of the solutions that were developed in LUNAR for handling a variety of problems in semantic interpretation, especially in the interpretation of quantifiers. These include a meaning representation language (MRL) that facilitates the uniform interpretation of a wide variety of linguistic constructions, the formalization of meanings in terms of procedures that define truth conditions and carry out actions, efficient techniques for performing extensional inference, techniques for organizing and applying semantic rules to construct meaning representations, and techniques for generating higher quantifiers during interpretation. The latter include methods for determining the appropriate relative scopes of quantifiers and their interactions with negation, and for handling their interactions with operators such as "average"€. Other techniques are described for post-interpretive query optimization and for displaying quantifier dependencies in output. A number of future directions for research in natural language understanding, including some questions of the proper relationship between syntax and semantics, the partial understanding of "ungrammatical€ sentences", and the role of pragmatics are also discussed later in the chapter.



 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
1978 SemanticsandQuantificationinNatW.A. WoodsSemantics and Quantification in Natural Language Question Answering10.1016/S0065-2458(08)60390-31978
AuthorW.A. Woods +
doi10.1016/S0065-2458(08)60390-3 +
titleSemantics and Quantification in Natural Language Question Answering +
year1978 +