4.1.2 Underspecified Semantic Representation

Semantic representations are typically expressed in the form of higher-order logical formulae [Mon74] [ENRX98]. The semantic representation of a phrase is built-up from the semantic contributions of its parts. One advantage of tree descriptions in this context is that they permit a certain amount of underspecification sufficient to account for scope ambiguity [NPR97].

Consider again the sentence "every yogi has a guru". It is ambiguous in the scope of the existential quantifier associated with guru. If this quantifier takes wide scope, then all yogis have the same guru. If it takes narrow scope, different yogis may have different gurus. This ambiguity can be succinctly expressed with the description shown below:

Denys Duchier
Version 1.2.0 (20010221)