Entailments in finite-state temporality

The “surge in use of finite-state methods” ([10]) in computational linguistics has largely, if not completely, left semantics untouched. The present paper is directed towards correcting this situation. Techniques explained in [1] are applied to a fragment of temporal semantics through an approach we call finite-state temporality. This proceeds from the intuition of an event as “a series of snapshots” ([15]; see also [12]), equating snapshots with symbols that collectively form our alphabet. A sequence of snapshots then becomes a string over that alphabet, evoking comic/film strips. Jackendoff has, among others, objected to conceptualizing events in terms of snapshots ([8]). To counter these objections, we step up from events-as-strings to event-typesas-regular languages ([5, 6]), recognizing the need for variable granularity. Beyond the introduction of disjunction implicit in the step from a single string up to a set of strings, we obtain a useful logic from the regular operations and a careful choice of the snapshots (constituting our alphabet).
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