A Semantic Process for Syntactic Disambiguation

Graeme Hirst

Structural ambiguity in a sentence cannot be resolved without semantic help. We present a process for structural disambiguation that uses verb expectations, presupposition satisfaction, and plausibility, and an algorithm for making the final choice when these cues give conflicting information. The process, called the Semantic Enquiry Desk, is part of a semantic interpreter that makes sure all its partial results are well-formed semantic objects; it is from this that it gains much of its power.

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