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Section: New Results

Syntax-Semantics Interface

Graph Rewriting

Bruno Guillaume and Guy Perrier have proposed a system for annotating the French Treebank with semantic dependencies [12] , [14] . This system (Synsem_FTB) is based on Graph Rewriting. Graph Rewriting is a framework which is well-suited for syntax-semantic interface because it allows for a modular development of large systems. Each modelled linguistic phenomenon is described by a small set of local rewriting rules. The whole transformation is then described by a sequence of modules to apply successively to the input structure. Another benefit of the Graph Rewriting formalism is that it handles the ambiguity in a natural way with the use of non confluent rewriting systems.

The Synsem_FTB system produces a semantic annotation in the framework of DMRS starting from an annotation with surface syntactic dependencies. It contains 34 modules that can be split in two main parts; the first part produces a deep syntax annotation of the input and the second one rewrites deep syntax to semantics.

With respect to previous works, the system of rewriting rules itself has been improved: it has a larger coverage (causative constructions, rising verbs, ...) and the order between modules has been studied in a more systematic way.

The rewriting calculus has been enriched on two points: the use of rules to make a link with lexicons, especially with the lexicon of verbs Dicovalence, and the introduction of filters to discard inconsistent annotations at some computation steps.

This system has been experimented on the whole French Treebank with the Grew software, which implements the used rewriting calculus.

Passive Sentences

Chris Blom, Philippe de Groote, Yoad Winter, and Joost Zwarts have proposed a unified syntactic-semantic account of passive sentences and sentences with an unspecified object [18] . For both constructions, they use option types for introducing implicit arguments into the syntactic-semantic categorial mechanism. They show the advantages of this approach over previous proposals in the domains of scope and unaccusatives. Unlike pure syntactic treatments, option types immediately derive the obligatory narrow scope of existential quantification over an implicit argument's slot. Unlike purely semantic, event-based treatments, their solution naturally accounts for syntactic contrasts between passives and unaccusatives.


Makoto Kanazawa and Philippe de Groote have defined a general intensionalization procedure that turns an extensional semantics for a language into an intensionalized one that is capable of accommodating truly intensional lexical items without changing the compositional semantic rules  [48] . They have proved some formal properties of this procedure and have clarified its relation to the procedure implicit in Montague's PTQ.


Sai Qian and Maxime Amblard have modeled the semantics of plurality in continuation semantics [13] . Two types of discourse antecedents formations, inherited from the classical treatment, namely summation and abstraction, are studied in detail. Solutions for each phenomenon are provided respectively by introducing two new functions Sum and Abs , for obtaining the semantic interpretations.