How Do Empirical Methods Interact with Theoretical Pragmatics? The Conceptual and Procedural Contents of the English Simple Past and Its Translation into French

  • Cristina GrisotEmail author
  • Jacques Moeschler
Part of the Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics book series (YCLP, volume 2)


One major theoretical issue that has dominated the field of theoretical pragmatics for the last twenty years is the conceptual vs. procedural distinction and its application for verb tenses. In this chapter, we address this distinction from both theoretical and empirical perspectives following a multifaceted methodology: work on parallel corpora, contrastive analysis methodology and offline experimentation with natural language processing applications. We argue that the conceptual/procedural distinction should be investigated under the aegis of empirical pragmatics. In the case study, we bring evidence from offline experimentation for the procedural and conceptual contents of the English Simple Past and we use this information for improving the results of a machine translation system.


Empirical pragmatics Corpus work Linguistic experiments Conceptual/procedural distinction Natural language processing Machine translation 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of GenevaGenève 4Switzerland

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