Natural-Language Syntax as Procedures for Interpretation: The Dynamics of Ellipsis Construal

Ruth Kempson, Eleni Gregoromichelaki, Wilfried Meyer-Viol, Matthew Purver, Graham White, Ronnie Cann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper we set out the preliminaries needed for a formal theory of context , relative to a linguistic framework in which natural-language syntax is defined as procedures for context-dependent interpretation. Dynamic Syntax provides a formalism where both representations of content and context are defined dynamically and structurally, with time-linear monotonic growth across sequences of partial trees as the core structure-inducing notion. The primary data involve elliptical fragments , as these provide less familiar evidence of the requisite concept of context than anaphora, but equally central. As part of our sketch of the framework, we show how apparent anomalies for a time-linear basis for interpretation can be straightforwardly characterised once we adopt a new perspective on syntax as the dynamics of transitions between parse-states. We then take this as the basis for providing an integrated account of ellipsis construal. And, as a bonus, we will show how this intrinsically dynamic perspective extends in a seamless way to dialogue exchanges with free shifting of role between speaking and hearing ( split-utterances ). We shall argue that what is required to explain such dialogue phenomena is for contexts, as representations of content, to include not merely partial structures but also the sequence of actions that led to such structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLudics, Dialogue and Interaction
EditorsAlain Lecomte, Samuel Tronçon
PublisherSpringer-Verlag GmbH
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Berlin / Heidelberg


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