Kenneth Lai


2020

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A Two-Level Interpretation of Modality in Human-Robot Dialogue
Lucia Donatelli | Kenneth Lai | James Pustejovsky
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

We analyze the use and interpretation of modal expressions in a corpus of situated human-robot dialogue and ask how to effectively represent these expressions for automatic learning. We present a two-level annotation scheme for modality that captures both content and intent, integrating a logic-based, semantic representation and a task-oriented, pragmatic representation that maps to our robot’s capabilities. Data from our annotation task reveals that the interpretation of modal expressions in human-robot dialogue is quite diverse, yet highly constrained by the physical environment and asymmetrical speaker/addressee relationship. We sketch a formal model of human-robot common ground in which modality can be grounded and dynamically interpreted.

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A Continuation Semantics for Abstract Meaning Representation
Kenneth Lai | Lucia Donatelli | James Pustejovsky
Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Designing Meaning Representations

Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) is a simple, expressive semantic framework whose emphasis on predicate-argument structure is effective for many tasks. Nevertheless, AMR lacks a systematic treatment of projection phenomena, making its translation into logical form problematic. We present a translation function from AMR to first order logic using continuation semantics, which allows us to capture the semantic context of an expression in the form of an argument. This is a natural extension of AMR’s original design principles, allowing us to easily model basic projection phenomena such as quantification and negation as well as complex phenomena such as bound variables and donkey anaphora.

2019

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A Dynamic Semantics for Causal Counterfactuals
Kenneth Lai | James Pustejovsky
Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computational Semantics - Student Papers

Under the standard approach to counterfactuals, to determine the meaning of a counterfactual sentence, we consider the “closest” possible world(s) where the antecedent is true, and evaluate the consequent. Building on the standard approach, some researchers have found that the set of worlds to be considered is dependent on context; it evolves with the discourse. Others have focused on how to define the “distance” between possible worlds, using ideas from causal modeling. This paper integrates the two ideas. We present a semantics for counterfactuals that uses a distance measure based on causal laws, that can also change over time. We show how our semantics can be implemented in the Haskell programming language.