Paper: Focus And Higher-Order Unification

ACL ID C96-1073
Title Focus And Higher-Order Unification
Venue International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Session Main Conference
Year 1996

2 Focus theory Pulman has shown that Higher-Order Unifcation (HOU) can be used to model the interpretation of focus. In this pa- per, we extend the unification based ap- proach 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 Se- mantics and Krifka's Structured Meano ings theory) in that it correctly gener- ates interpretations which these alter- native 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 ...