SFB 378 Einstiegsseite Postscript File BibTeX Entry


Focus and Higher--Order Unification

Author: Claire Gardent and Michael Kohlhase


Pulman has shown that Higher--Order Unification (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 Meanings theory) in that it 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.

SFB 378 Einstiegsseite Postscript File BibTeX Entry