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Most existing Natural Language Database Interfaces (NLDB) were
designed to be used with
database systems that provide very limited facilities for manipulating
and they do not support adequately temporal linguistic mechanisms (verb
adverbials, temporal subordinate clauses, etc.). The database community
increasingly interested in temporal database systems, which are intended
to store and manipulate
in a principled manner information not only about the present, but also
about the past and
future. When interfacing to temporal databases, supporting temporal linguistic
We present a framework for constructing Natural Language Interfaces
Databases (NLTDB), which draws on research in tense and aspect theories,
and temporal databases. The framework consists of a temporal intermediate
language, called TOP, an HPSG grammar that maps a wide range of questions
temporal mechanisms to appropriate TOP expressions, and a provably correct
translating from TOP to TSQL2, TSQL2 being a recently proposed temporal
extension of the
SQL database language. This framework was employed to implement a prototype
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