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Do rules add up?

Feen, M. van der (2006) Do rules add up? Master's Thesis / Essay, Artificial Intelligence.

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In Optimality Theory, determining the optimal candidate is traditionally done on the basis of strict domination. A violation of a higher ranked constraint is always more serious than no matter how many violations of lower ranked constraints. Recently, there have been indications that strict domination is not suitable as an evaluation method for some types of linguistic data. An interesting question is whether in some linguistic fields cumulativity of constraints - in which a combination of violations of lower ranked constraints can overrule a higher constraint violation - is a more accurate way to evaluate candidates. My research focused on the interpretation of (possible) gapping constructions. The central issue is the ambiguity in sentences such as: "Grace geeft Stan een shirt en Will een trui." (Grace gives Stan a shirt and Will a sweaterl. Will can be the person giving Stan a sweater or he can be the person receiving the sweater. The factors influencing the interpretation of this kind of sentences can be defined as OT constraints. I implemented an OT computer model of the interpretation of gapping. This model evaluates interpretation candidates according to different constraint evaluation methods: Strict domination and three methods in which constraints interact in a cumulative manner. These four hypotheses on the evaluation of interpretation candidates were then tested in a pilot experiment, in which subjects were asked to give their interpretation of sentences. The experimental results point to an explanation in which cumulativity of constraints plays a role.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Artificial Intelligence
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:30
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:30

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