Massimo Poesio, Patrick Sturt, Ron Artstein, and Ruth Filik.
Underspecification and Anaphora: Theoretical Issues and Preliminary Evidence.
Technical report CSM-438, University of Essex Department of Computer Science, October 2005.

Full paper in PDF (143K)

Abstract: Much experimental work in psycholinguistics suggests that fully specified syntactic and semantic interpretations are obtained incrementally. The finding that intepretation takes place incrementally is very robust and underlies our own view of sentence processing as well; however, most of this work tends to test very simple interpretive judgments, and using materials which have very clean-cut interpretations, which makes the view expressed above more questionable when applied to semantic interpretation. This paper discusses a class of anaphoric expressions that do not appear to have a clear antecedent, using both corpus analysis and psychological experiments. We argue that these cases of anaphora are similar to cases of lexical polysemy, and propose an explicit semantic representation for such cases.

Full paper in PDF (143K)