Leonardo resumes work on the Trattato started between and , and continues until around From , he divides his time between Milan where [ He returns to his equestrian statue project, [ He deploys an intense scientific activity: But, in , he leaves Milan for good as the city is reclaimed by the anti-French coalition. Example  provides a clear example, with the three discourse frames conferring a temporal organisation to the entire section, while the topic remains Leonardo throughout.
As well as creating temporal structure, these temporal frames also embody different geographical stages in Leonardo's life 3. We will at this point focus on two recent data-based studies which ask questions similar to ours, but use different methods and come to different conclusions.
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Concerned with the scoping — rather than the structuring — properties of adverbials, Crompton concludes to the absence of any specific scoping potential linked to initial position. He argues that the scope of an adverbial is just a matter of default continuity. A setting will last as long as no new setting is introduced to cancel it. The author suggests the following processing principle: He ends on a view which is quite the opposite of Charolles': Rather than providing an orientation for new discourse segments and thus making explicit higher-level text structure, positioning an adverbial initially serves to provide an orientation for a single new clause: In order to evaluate the potential of temporal adverbials to indicate a break, they use two markers of topic shift which they consider reliable: They find that sentences beginning with temporal adverbials have a much higher chance of starting a paragraph 4 and correlate with lexical cohesion breaks.
These observations lead them to conclude that temporal adverbials are good segmentation markers and therefore can reliably be associated with topic shifts. It is part of a wider study which experiments with novel ways of exploring the signalling of discourse organisation in large corpora, focusing on the role of initial elements, i. The methodology is governed by three basic principles: Whereas it is possible for short texts to rely solely on referential continuity, longer texts, and in particular non-narrative texts with no default structuring in terms of succession of events, require other forms of organisation.
We propose an alternative, with a largely data-driven methodology rooted in the hypothesis which forms the third principle: This synergy can be stated as follows: Text-type is a cue if we see it as working together with textual cues. Text-position is defined in terms of level of segmentation. We distinguish three text-positions related to document structure and associated with three levels of orientation: They are mostly organised in terms of spatial and temporal locations acting as settings for large spans of text, with little topical continuity.
Conversely, the texts in PEOPL are structured by strong topical continuity the topic being the subject of the biography. Though all texts include sporadic temporal organisation, time as a structuring principle is not dominant and never extends to the whole text. The GEOPO corpus is more difficult to characterise, with occasional temporal organisation and rather weak or local topical continuities. Pre-verbal elements can be either syntactically detached or integrated.
D etached elements occur before the grammatical subject, possibly — but not systematically — separated by a comma e. Integrated elements correspond to grammatical subjects. Each detached element was annotated for part of speech, syntactic function, and semantic function in the case of scene-setting adverbials.
They are equally distributed in the three corpora: All t hese features are automatically detected by a set of regular expressions based on information obtained from automatic POS tagging Treetagger 5 and syntactic dependency analysis Syntex — Bourigault, Scale of seven degrees of accessibility adapted from Ariel's Theory of Accessibility There is nevertheless a potential correlation between activation of discourse referents and topical continuity. As stated by these models, one way to keep a referent activated is to use morpho-syntactic elements that are associated with a high degree of accessibility e.
In this study we consider grammatical subjects with a high degree of accessibility as potential continuity cues and grammatical subjects with a low degree of accessibility as potential discontinuity cues. The significance of variations is given in terms of z-score. We regard as significant a deviation above or below 2. These configurations are described along the dimensions defined previously: On the basis of these parameters, and through an approach which combines large-scale quantitative aspects and qualitative zooms, we are able to gain new insights into the question of the structuring power of temporal adverbials.
Some of the data below are set out as frequencies, but we mostly present our results in terms of z-scores to bring out deviations from the theoretical norm i. S1 start of section , P1 start of paragraph and P2 intra-paragraph. It must be noted that this distribution is not shared by other types of adverbials, which should make us wary of generalisations.
Nevertheless, this global view points to a clear correlation between document structure sections and paragraphs and occurrence of sentence-initial temporal adverbials. We suggest that positions S1 and P1 are important parameters in the orientation function these expressions can fulfil. To rephrase this concern in terms of our narrower interest: His method for testing this assumption is limited to the analysis of the scoping behaviour of adverbials, i.
We do not dispute his view regarding the availability of a mature model of discourse structure, but we will argue that our empirical method is capable of providing some elements of answer. Using insights from our wider study, we will call upon the related notions of discontinuity, structuring power and scope introduced in section 1. Negative results obtained by Crompton could be linked to the fact that Crompton's study focuses strictly on scope and not on structuring power. Adverbials devoid of semantic scope — whatever the reason, e.
Moreover, temporal adverbials may indicate something other than temporal organisation, such as a rhetorical articulation, a topic shift or, as in Example , a spatial organization. There would therefore appear to be a degree of independence between the structuring power of an expression and its semantics. His study is based on a corpus exclusively made up of very short texts editorials and student essays. In such short texts circa words writers simply do not need structuring devices beyond referential continuity.
In long texts on the contrary, writers tend to resort to a variety of different devices. Their interest, as we saw in section 1. They use two markers of topic shift they consider reliable — paragraph break and a break in lexical cohesion — to evaluate the segmentation potential of certain lexical expressions, here of temporal adverbials. The observation that sentences containing temporal adverbials have a much higher chance of starting a paragraph and that this chance increases when the temporal adverbial occurs in sentence-initial position leads them to the conclusion that such adverbials are good segmentation markers and therefore can reliably be associated with topic shifts.
We will comment later on the assumed link between discontinuity and topic shift. For now, our focus is on the following question: This strikes us as an important question for linguistics and for computational linguistics. In linguistic terms, the traditional essentially lexical view of discourse markers is at stake.
For computational linguistics, the correct identification of segment boundaries is obviously a major objective. If adverbials in intra-paragraph positions turn out to regularly co-occur with discontinuity markers, such as referring expressions of low or medium accessibility suggesting thematic discontinuities , this could be taken as indicating that these adverbials have in themselves the potential to signal a discontinuity. Conversely, the absence of significant variation could mean that their role as discontinuity markers is dependent on other parameters, yet to be identified, amongst which a new paragraph or section.
This test can initially be formulated in the form of two questions: If they do signal discontinuity, we should observe preferred associations with new referents corresponding with a degree of accessibility of 0, 1 and 2 or lexical reiterations corresponding with a degree of accessibility of 3 and 4. These data are in agreement with a number of linguistic descriptions which can be summarized as follows: Suspending judgment on these methodological choices for the time being, we are able to distinguish three kinds of grammatical subjects: T he structuring power of temporal adverbials can now be tested in terms of these correlations.
Deviations in DegAccess in sentences with temporal adverbials w. This could be related to the strong overall spatio-temporal organisation of this corpus where topical continuity is rare. The dominant referring expressions are long definite descriptions with lexical reiteration e. In this corpus, the majority of temporal adverbials occur in section-initial sentences see the strong deviation in figure 1. The adverbials' structuring and scoping properties can be seen to be strongly related to document structure.
Example  7 illustrates this relation between temporal organisation and document structure in ATLAS. Note that such associations could not be found in short texts such as were used by Crompton to test adverbial scope.
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We now have the means to evaluate the impact of temporal adverbials independently of paragraph breaks, i. Deviations in associations between a temporal adverbial and DegAccess n w. Repeated proper names DegAccess 4 are also strongly represented in P2 and P1. Texts in these biographies naturally centre on one topical referent, yet the absence of topic shift does not invalidate the structuring power of temporal adverbials in positions S1 and P1, particularly in a configuration we call after Virtanen temporal Text Strategic Continuity TSC, Virtanen, , Example  repeating example 1 shows such a string of adverbials, structuring the paragraph into three time periods.
Numerous examples like  account for the highly significant preference for DegAccess 7 forms il , he after a P2 adverbial. Schnedecker notes this particular usage of repeated proper names in portraits of personalities in the written press: Centering Theory inter alia , and works largely as an alternative to the anaphoric pronoun. This qualitative analysis pulls repeated proper names in these texts towards the high accessibility end of the scale.
Il fait consciencieusement son enseignement Il poursuit [ De date un Concerto [ Une semaine plus tard, le jeune Quatuor [ This should not however be seen as meaning that they are unable to structure text cf.
The deviation for DegAccess 3 short definite descriptions indicates a shift in temporal reference rather than continuity cf Fig. Deviations for DegAccess 5 and 6 indicate another phenomenon: The adverbial's function seems to be to introduce the new referent, and its scope does not extend beyond the host sentence: At the start of a section or a paragraph, it tends to extend its scope over the unit it initiates, unless there is an indication to the contrary such as a new temporal location.
In example  such an adverbial En is seen to extend its scope until the appearance of a different temporal location in the first sentence of the next paragraph: There are more pronouns or possessive NPs in the sentence following a temporal adverbial's host sentence than in the general model cf. In other words, topical continuity is maintained after a temporal adverbial. But, as was seen in the preceding section, the presence of a temporal adverbial cannot be seen as responsible for this topical continuity since DegAccess 7 is also dominant in the host-sentence.
This dominance is indicated by systematic co-occurrence of temporal adverbial and pronoun in P1, and is reinforced by the narrative character of this section. As a result, the scope of the temporal adverbials is difficult to determine: To summarise it, let us return to our two questions aiming to test the intrinsic structuring power of temporal adverbials.
Do we find strong associations between temporal adverbials in intra-paragraph position and referring expressions with a low degree of accessibility?
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There is immediate evidence to the contrary in PEOPL with the clear preference for the highest degree of accessibility DegAccess 7 , but the high z-scores for medium accessibility expressions DegAccess 3 and 4 require a careful qualitative exploration. The frequent repeated proper names in the intra-paragraphic sentences in PEOPL cannot be interpreted as strong redenominations indicating a shift , but as an alternative for DegAccess 7 expressions, thereby supporting our initial results.
Here again, the answer is no, but again it requires adding fine linguistic analysis to the quantitative approach. The fairly marked preference for DegAccess 5 and 6 referring expressions in GEOPO could be seen as a positive answer to the continuity question, yet a close look reveals that these demonstrative descriptions, though they are of course co-referential, regularly indicate in this corpus a reclassification and therefore a shift in time reference.
Our main objective here is to provide evidence of the importance of non-lexical parameters in the discourse role of expressions which are generally considered in and for themselves. Our data seem sufficient to justify two assertions regarding sentence-initial temporal adverbial. The first rephrases Charolles' parallel between paragraphs and discourse frames Charolles, Taking it one step further: But in contrast with his study, our methodology allows us to show that the semantic role often associated with initial position can concern higher levels of discourse organisation if there is congruence with document structure.
Such descriptive results require that multiple cues should be considered in interaction, and that research should not restrict itself to short texts, where paragraph breaks are absent or rare because unnecessary. Our results suggest a more complex picture, with different types of discontinuity corresponding to different modes of organisation. As was seen in the case of demonstratives or repeated proper names, the data must be interpreted with great care, in particular with middle degrees of accessibility from 3 to 6 , because the different co-referential expressions involved are clearly concerned with more than just accessibility.
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