Focus and Higher-Order Unification

Claire Gardent, Michael Kohlhase
1996 Proceedings of the 16th conference on Computational linguistics -   unpublished
Focus theory Pulman has shown that Higher-Order Unifcation (HOU) can be used to model the interpretation of focus. In this paper, we extend the unification based approach to cases which are often seen as a test-bed for focus theory: utterances with multiple focus operators and second occurrence expressions. We then show that the resulting analysis favourably compares with two prominent theories of focus (namely, Rooth's Alternative Semantics and Krifka's Structured Meano ings theory) in that it
more » ... correctly generates interpretations which these alternative theories cannot yield. Finally, we discuss the formal properties of the approach and argue that even though HOU need not terminate, for the class of unification-problems dealt with in this paper, HOU avoids this shortcoming and is in fact computationally tractable.
doi:10.3115/992628.992703 fatcat:fg3c4eiisrhvfmosatwdvx32ry