These: Roberto Bonato, An Integrated Computational Approach to Binding Theory

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at LIPN.UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Fri Sep 22 14:07:24 UTC 2006

Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 16:21:26 +0200
From: robonato at
Message-ID: <sympa.1158848268.17997.643 at>

Author: Roberto Bonato
Institution: Université Bordeaux I, LaBRI, University of Verona
Title: An integrated computational approach to Binding Theory


In this thesis I explore how different approaches to Binding Theory
issued from the last thirty years of linguistic enquiry may be
effectively integrated into a computational framework. My purpose is
to enrich the current framework of computational semantics in order to
inductively compute semantic representations of a sentence which
incorporate the principles of Binding Theory.

The original formulation of Binding Theory presents principles A, B
and C as syntactic conditions that indexed Determiner Phrases must
fulfill in order for the sentence in which they occur to be
well-formed. Indexes are a formal device halfway between syntax and
semantics that was introduced to encode coreferential relations
between DPs in a sentence. They basically act as filters that discard
every structure whose indexing violates any of A, B, or C
principles. However, Determiner Phrases that occur in a phrase-marker
issued from generative parsing of a sentence do not come with indexes
associated.  Principles A, B and C provide a procedure to verify that
a given indexing for a sentence is BT-compliant, but they are not
constructive: no effective procedure to associate correct indexing to
DPs in a sentence is provided. This is both a theoretically and a
practically challenging issue. How do human beings come to associate
the correct indexing (i.e. to establish the correct mutual
denotational relationships) to the DPs occurring in a sentence? And
how can we devise a computational procedure to mimic this process in
order to obtain a semantic representation for the sentence which
encodes the additional information provided by the constraints of
Binding Theory?

In this thesis I tackle the problem of integrating in a computational
semantics framework the mechanisms needed to encode the principles of
Binding Theory into the semantic representations computed for a
sentence. Different interpretations that have been given to Binding
Theory ask for different implementations of such
mechanisms. Eventually, I propose an integrated approach that
incorporates some of the basic features of the approaches described
into a framework which is both computationally effective and
linguistically well-grounded. We believe this to be the first
accomplished effort to integrate within a single coherent
computational framework some of the basic achievements and insights in
Binding Theory issued of the last 30 years of linguistics and formal
semantics enquiry.

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