ESD Test Suite Examples
The dog is three weeks old.
While most measure phrases in English are analyzed by the ERG with relatively transparent semantics, there is one construction which introduces a phenomenon-specific semantic relation, when a measure phrase is used as a degree specifier of an adjective, as in the test suite example. The measure phrase supplies the extent or degree to which the property supplied by the adjective holds, and thus a two-place measure relation is introduced to express this link between the instance from the measure phrase and the ARG0 value from the adjective.
The three week old dog barked.
The dog is almost three weeks old.
The dog is weeks old.
h0:measure[ARG0 e1, ARG1 e2, ARG2 x] h0:[ARG0 e2] h1:[ARG0 x]
Most but not all measure phrases also include a card predication that modifies the measure noun, sharing its handle with that of the noun's relation, and taking that relation's ARG0 as its ARG1.
Measure phrases that are not used as degree specifiers of adjectives simply make their lexically expected semantic contributions, and if they appear directly as modifiers of nouns, as in the ten meter pool, they are analyzed as a kind of nominal compound. This avoids the difficulty of having to hallucinate an unexpressed adjective relation to represent the property associated with length or width or depth, but it leaves us with an asymmetry in the semantics of ten meter pool and ten meter long pool. A similar asymmetry can be seen in the pair a tree of five meters and a tree of five meters in height (cf. a tree of five meters in girth), where the dimension being measured is optionally expressed with a prepositional phrase modifying the measure phrase.
Should we make more of an effort to directly express paraphrases such as the pool is ten meters long and the pool's length is ten meters or even the pool has a length of ten meters?
Expert External Commentary