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Semantics for Descriptions cover

Semantics for Descriptions

From Linguistics to Computer Science

François Rastier, Marc Cavazza, and Anne Abeillé

In our multimedia age, text description raises the question of how different perceptual modalities and different semiotic systems actually interact. The semiotic paradigm could soon replace the computational paradigm, especially as a means of modeling text understanding. The field of automatic language processing has encountered a number of difficulties because the semantic theories it relies on do not take into account recent advances in linguistic semantics. In particular, a text cannot be reduced to a string of characters or to a series of instructions. Texts, which can even encompass expert interviews and technical documents, are in fact cultural objects. Interpreting them consequently requires a detailed description of textual genres, communicative conditions, and the language used. Where a positivist approach has proven unsuccessful, a rational hermeneutics can offer more suitable descriptive methods because it allows the theoretical and practical conditions of text interpretation to be defined. It provides a methodological framework capable of adapting corpus descriptions to the objectives of applications. Drawing on the most recent studies, this interdisciplinary work addresses itself as much to linguists as to computer scientists. Its didactic format, along with the concrete analyses it contains, also make it accessible to students.

François Rastier is Senior Researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research in France. Marc Cavazza is Professor of Intelligent Virtual Environments in the School of Computing and Mathematics at the University of Teesside in the United Kingdom. Anne Abeillá is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Paris VII in France

Translated into French.


  • Preface
  • Chapter I — Interpretation and Understanding
    • 1. Computer Science and Linguistics
    • 2. Natural Language Understanding
    • 3. The Four Orders of Description
  • Chapter II — Semantic Theories
    • 1. Semantic Theories
    • 2. Towards a Unified Semantics
    • 3. Signification
    • 4. Meaning
    • 5. Linguistic Levels and Layers of Semantic Description
    • 6. Unifying Semantic Paradigms
    • 7. Semantic Components
  • Chapter III — Microsemantics
    • 1. Lexicon Analysis
    • 2. On Defining
    • 3. Signification
    • 4. Microsemantics and Context
    • 5. Linguistic Levels and Layers of Semantic Description
    • 6. Unifying Semantic Paradigms
  • Chapter IV — The Descriptions of Lexical Content
    • 1. From Theory to Practice
    • 2. Differential Semantics in Action
    • 3. Lexical Content and Representation Formalities
    • 4. An Example of Lexical Description
    • 5. Conclusion
  • Chapter V — Mesosemantics
    • 1. Mesosemantics and Phrase Grammar
    • 2. Dependency Relations
    • 3. Concordance Realtions
    • 4. Examples and Description Issues
    • 5. Building Semantic Forms
    • 6. Mesosemantics in Actions
    • 7. Representational Issues
  • Chapter VI — Syntax-Semantics Interactions in an Unification Grammar
    • 1. General Issues
    • 2. The Case of Unification Grammar
  • Chapter VII — Macrosemantics
    • 1. The Textual Paradigm
    • 2. The Empirical Text and Textuality
    • 3. A Cognitive Model of Text Understanding
    • 4. The Typological Endeavor
    • 5. A Morphosemantic Approach to Text
    • 6. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
    • 7. Analysis of Experts' Interviews
  • Epilogue
  • Appendices
  • Glossary
  • References
  • Symbols and Abbreviations
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 1575863529 (9781575863528)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575863537 (9781575863535)
ISBN (Electronic): 1575869616 (9781575869612)

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