TimeML: Robust Specification of Event and Temporal Expressions in Text

James Pustejovsky, José Castaño, Robert Ingria, Roser Saurí, Robert Gaizauskas, Andrea Setzer, Graham Katz, and Dragomir Radev

In this paper we provide a description of TimeML, a rich specification language for event and temporal expressions in natural language text, developed in the context of the AQUAINT program on Question Answering Systems. Unlike most previous work on event annotation, TimeML captures three distinct phenomena in temporal markup: (1) it systematically anchors event predicates to a broad range of temporally denotating expressions; (2) it orders event expressions in text relative to one another, both intrasententially and in discourse; and (3) it allows for a delayed (underspecified) interpretation of partially determined temporal expressions. We demonstrate the expressiveness of TimeML for a broad range of syntactic and semantic contexts, including aspectual predication, modal subordination, and an initial treatment of lexical and constructional causation in text.

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