Meaning in Context
- Cite this paper as:
- Christiansen H., Dahl V. (2005) Meaning in Context. In: Dey A., Kokinov B., Leake D., Turner R. (eds) Modeling and Using Context. CONTEXT 2005. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 3554. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A model for context-dependent natural language semantics is proposed and formalized in terms of possible worlds. The meaning of a sentence depends on context and at the same time affects that context representing the knowledge about the world collected from a discourse. The model fits well with a “flat” semantic representation as first proposed by Hobbs (1985), consisting basically of a conjunction of atomic predications in which all variables are existentially quantified with the widest possible scope; in our framework, this provides very concise semantic terms as compared with other representations. There is a natural correspondence between the possible worlds semantics and a constraint solver, and it is shown how such a semantics can be defined using the programming language of Constraint Handling Rules (Frühwirth, 1995). Discourse analysis is clearly a process of abduction in this framework, and it is shown that the mentioned constraint solvers serve as effective and efficient abductive engines for the purpose.
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