[developers] Difference between neg_rel/modifiers and modals

Ann Copestake aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk
Wed May 10 11:11:17 CEST 2017

I think the idea is to represent the contrast between:

1   We could unexpectedly close the window.

either ability to close or actual closure is unexpected

2   We did not unexpectedly close the window.

only the closure (if it had happened) would be unexpected.

I don't think this is actually the best analysis.  For instance, for me,

3   Unexpectedly we did not close the window.

has another reading, which we are not capturing in MRS.  Claudia 
Maiernborn would (perhaps) treat this as a sentential situation rather 
than an event modification and it may be that analysis is also available 
for 1 instead of the modal modification analysis.

I'm afraid I don't have time to discuss this properly at the moment, 
though.  I feel such a discussion has taken place, but don't remember 
the venue.

All best,


On 10/05/2017 01:13, Emily M. Bender wrote:
> Dear all,
> I'm curious about the different in analysis between neg_rel and 
> (other) scopal adverbial
> modifiers on the one hand and modals on the other in the treatment of 
> the INDEX:
> In (1) and (2), the INDEX of the whole MRS points to the ARG0 of 
> _sleep_v_rel:
> (1) Kim doesn't sleep.
> (2) Kim probably sleeps.
> ... where in (3) and (4) it points to the ARG0 of _can_v_rel and 
> _would_v_rel respectively:
> (3) Kim can sleep.
> (4) Kim would sleep.
> I'm wondering what difference we intend to model here.  (This question 
> comes up now
> because we're looking at negation in my grammar engineering class, and 
> the out-of-the-box
> analysis for languages which express negation with an auxiliary has 
> neg_rel falling
> in the latter class.)
> Thanks,
> Emily
> -- 
> Emily M. Bender
> Professor, Department of Linguistics
> Check out CLMS on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/uwclma

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