The syntax of event structure

  title={The syntax of event structure},
  author={James Pustejovsky},
  • J. Pustejovsky
  • Published 1 December 1991
  • Computer Science, Medicine, Psychology
  • Cognition
In this paper we examine the role of events within a theory of lexical semantics. We propose a configurational theory of event structure and examine how it contributes to a lexical semantic theory for natural language. In particular, we argue that an event structure can provide a distinct and useful level of representation for linguistic analysis involving the aspectual properties of verbs, adverbial scope, the role of argument structure, and the mapping from the lexicon to syntax. 

Topics from this paper

Lexical event structures for verb semantics
A theory of Lexical Event Structures as a means to represent the meaning of verbs, guided by the assumption that verbs refer to events that are internally structured in the sense that they consist of several subevents and states.
Two Structures for Compositionally Derived Events
This paper addresses the phenomenon of event composition: the derivation of a single event description expressed in one clause from two lexical heads which could have been used in the description of
The Semantics of Event-Based Nominals
It is argued that, in spite of their heterogenous behavior, the set of agentive nominals can find generalizations by characterizing their semantic properties in terms of the stage-level and individual -level distinction.
A New Approach to Case Theory
This theory offers an easy formalization of the intuitive understanding of rudimentary semantic structures of sentences and formalizes the role of specificity in the distinction of aspectual classes of verbs.
The Module-Attribute Representation of Verbal Semantics
In this paper, we set forth a theory of lexical knowledge. we propose two types of modules: event structure modules and role modules, as well as two attributes: event-internal attributes and
Cause and the structure of verbs
Lexical Decomposition Grammar is proposed as a new framework to account for argument structure and argument structure alternations. It is based on Semantic Form (SF), a grammatical level at which
Event structure and lexical semantics in a scalar approach to actionality
This paper offers a scalar analysis of Russian verbal forms derived with the prefix "pro-". The proposed approach is crucially based on two notions integrated into the Generative Lexicon framework:
Event Structure Representation in Ontological Semantics
It is suggested that event structure representation is indispensable to this task, noting the use of event structure in semantic representations of natural languages.
Event structure and the meaning of verbs
1. During the last years a lot of research has been done on argument structure and the syntax of verbs. Some of these approaches have pointed out that a good deal of the syntactic behaviour of verbs
Meanings, propositions, and verbs
It is proposed, and support empirically, that these templates determine the propositional structures of sentences in which the verbs are used.


On Argument Structure
This chapter deals with argument structure, the relationship between the underlying semantics of the noun phrases associated with a verb and the form of their syntactic expression. It explores the
Levels of Lexical Representation
The lexicon has typically been viewed as a mere list of lexical entries containing idiosyncratic information associated with individual words, but a need to develop a more structured and elaborated lexical representation is recognized.
Semantics and Cognition
This book emphasizes the role of semantics as a bridge between the theory of language and the theories of other cognitive capacities such as visual perception and motor control. It develops the
The Generative Lexicon
It is argued that lexical decomposition is possible if it is performed generatively and a theory of lexical inheritance is outlined, which provides the necessary principles of global organization for the lexicon, enabling us to fully integrate the authors' natural language lexicon into a conceptual whole.
Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar
This book investigates a wide variety of semantic rules, stating them in considerable detail and extensively treating their consequences for the syntactic component of the grammar, and proposes radically new approaches to the so-called Crossover Principle, the control problem for complement subjects, parentheticals, and the interpretation of nonspecific noun phrases.
Argument Structure and Morphology
That there is some regulär relation between the argument structures of morphologically related words is clear and well-known, and there are several proposals about how such relations can be
The Interpretation of Relational Nouns
This paper decribes a computational treatment of the semantics of relational nouns, and focuses especially on a particular subcategory of them, called function nouns ("speed", "distance", "rating").
Lexical Knowledge Representation and Natural Language Processing
It is demonstrated how lexical ambiguity resolution—now an integral part of the same procedure that creates the semantic interpretation of a sentence itself—becomes a process not of selecting from a pre-determined set of senses, but of highlighting certain lexical properties brought forth by, and relevant to, the current context.
Obligatory Adjuncts and the Structure of Events
It is generally held that while arguments can be obligatory or optional, depending upon the predicates which select them, adjuncts are always optional, but with certain passive predicates, a by-phrase appears to be obligatory.
A Preferential, Pattern-Seeking, Semantics for Natural Language Inference
  • Y. Wilks
  • Computer Science
    Artif. Intell.
  • 1975
The way in which a Preference Semantics system for natural language analysis and generation tackles a difficult class of anaphoric inference problems: those requiring either analytic knowledge of a complex sort, or requiring weak inductive knowledge of the course of events in the real world.