Covering various Needs in Temporal Annotation: a Proposal of Extension of ISO TimeML that Preserves Upward Compatibility

This paper reports a critical analysis of the ISO TimeML standard, in the light of several experiences of temporal annotation that were conducted on spoken French. It shows that the norm suffers from weaknesses that should be corrected to fit a larger variety of needs inNLP and in corpus linguistics. We present our proposition of some improvements of the norm before it will be revised by the ISO Committee in 2017. These modifications concern mainly (1) Enrichments of well identified features of the norm: temporal function of TIMEX time expressions, additional types for TLINK temporal relations; (2) Deeper modifications concerning the units or features annotated: clarification between time and tense for EVENT units, coherence of representation between temporal signals (the SIGNAL unit) and TIMEX modifiers (the MOD feature); (3) A recommendation to perform temporal annotation on top of a syntactic (rather than lexical) layer (temporal annotation on a treebank).

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