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Title:Optimality Theoretic Semantics
Authors:Petra Hendriks, Helen de Hoop
Comment:43 pages. To appear in Linguistics and Philosophy.
Abstract:The aim of this article is to elucidate the processes that characterize

natural language interpretation. The basic hypothesis is that natural

language interpretation can be characterized as an optimization

problem. This innovative view on interpretation is shown to account

for the crucial role of contextual information while avoiding certain

well-known problems associated with compositionality. This will become

particularly clear in the context of incomplete expressions. Our

approach takes as a point of departure total freedom of interpretation

in combination with the parallel application of soft constraints on

possible interpretations. These constraints can be contextual,

intonational or syntactic in nature. The integration of pragmatic and

syntactic/semantic information in a system of ranked constraints is

proposed to correctly derive the optimal interpretations in cases of

nominal anaphorization, determiner quantification and elliptical

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1