Quantified Modal-Logical Representation of Actions: From Signs to theDenotations of Action Verbs

H. Nishina (Japan)


action verb, causation, meaning representation, modallogic, motion, natural language processing


The meanings of bodily action verbs can be distinguished by the ordering of the participation of the relevant parts in the actions they denote, thus leading to their dynamic semantics. For this we invoke modal logic, which enables us to describe how each motion propagates from one joint to other vertices over a skeleton performing an action. We utilize a signing figure as the model in which to valuate the formulae for the motion causations. We dissect the action for an ASL sign into intervals, each of which contains motions expressed in term of the collection of a joint’s causations of another vertex to move as a unit. With the vertices supported by each active joint, which we define as a world, as its domain, an existential formula of motion and its universal counterpart quantify the vertices directly caused to move by that joint. The “be-caused-to-move-by” relation between vertices is the accessibility relation of the frame for this logic, in which the quantified formulae are modally valuated. Each connection of the valuated formulae describes how movement causation propagates over the relevant part. Similar representations are discussed as the possible semantic representations for bodily action verbs from a cognitive viewpoint.

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