Event Shape Diagrams

D. L. Waltz

"Event shape diagrams" are proposed as a representation for capturing the nuances of meaning of verbs that describe similar events. These diagrams represent timing, causal relationships between case roles, and typical value ranges for role fillers. Event shape diagrams are expressed in terms of primitive predicates and timing information that we believe could be computed by perceptual systems, and are intended to be a step toward the eventual connection of language systems to perceptual (vision, hearing, and touch) sensing systems. The diagrams are capable of representing modification of verbs by adverbs, can support judgements of the degree of plausibility of various interpretations of a sentence’s meaning, and may be useful in figuring out the meaning of certain kinds of metaphors.

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