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Theoretical Linguistics

An Open Peer Review Journal

Editor-in-Chief: Krifka, Manfred

Ed. by Gärtner, Hans-Martin

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Representing events and discourse; comments on Hamm, Kamp and van Lambalgen

Tim Fernando

Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics. Volume 32, Issue 1, Pages 57–64, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: 10.1515/TL.2006.004, September 2006

Publication History

Published Online:
2006-09-15

Abstract

In [HKL00] (henceforth HKL), Hamm, Kamp and van Lambalgen declare “there is no opposition between formal and cognitive semantics,” notwithstanding the realist/mentalist divide. That divide separates two sides Jackendoff has (in [Jac96], following Chomsky) labeled E(xternalized)-semantics, relating language to a reality independent of speakers, and I(nternalized)-semantics, revolving around mental representations and thought. Although formal semanticists have (following David Lewis) traditionally leaned towards E-semantics, it is reasonable to apply formal methods also to I-semantics. This point is made clear in HKL via two computational approaches to natural language semantics, Discourse Representation Theory (DRT, [KR93]) and the Event Calculus (EC) presented in [LH05]. In this short note, I wish to raise certain questions about EC that can be traced to the applicability of formal methods to E-semantics and I-semantics alike. These opposing orientations suggest different notions of time, event and representation.

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