Document Type

Book Chapter


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Publication Details

In 'The Syntax and Semantics of Prepositions', (ed.) P. Saint-Dizier. Kluwer Publishing.


In this paper we present a framework for interpreting locative expressions containing the prepositions in front of and behind. These prepositions have different semantics in the viewer-centred and intrinsic frames of reference (Vandeloise, 1991). We define a model of their semantics in each frame of reference. The basis of these models is a novel parameterized continuum function that creates a 3-D spatial template. In the intrinsic frame of reference the origin used by the continuum function is assumed to be known a priori and object occlusion does not impact on the applicability rating of a point in the spatial template. In the viewer-centred frame the location of the spatial template’s origin is dependent on the user’s perception of the landmark at the time of the utterance and object occlusion is integrated into the model. Where there is an ambiguity with respect to the intended frame of reference, we define an algorithm for merging the spatial templates from the competing frames of reference, based on psycholinguistic observations in (Carlson-Radvansky, 1997).