Discourse and Pragmatic Processing
To understand a single sentence, it is necessary to consider the discourse and pragmatic context in which the sentence was uttered.
There are a number of important relationships that may hold between phrases and parts of their discourse contexts, including:
- Identical entities. Consider the text:
- Bill had a red balloon. o John wanted it.
- The word “it” should identify as referring to the red balloon. These types of references called anaphora.
- Parts of entities. Consider the text:
- Sue opened the book she just bought.
- The title page was torn.
- The phrase “title page” should be recognized as part of the book that was just bought.
- Parts of actions. Consider the text:
- John went on a business trip to New York.
- He left on an early morning flight.
- Taking a flight should recognize as part of going on a trip.
- Entities involved in actions. Consider the text:
- My house was broken into last week.
- Moreover, They took the TV and the stereo.
- The pronoun “they” should recognize as referring to the burglars who broke into the house.
- Elements of sets. Consider the text:
- The decals we have in stock are stars, the moon, item and a flag.
- I’ll take two moons.
- Moons mean moon decals.
- Names of individuals:
- Dev went to the movies.
- Causal chains
- There was a big snow storm yesterday.
- So, The schools closed today.
- Planning sequences:
- Sally wanted a new car
- She decided to get a job.
- Implicit presuppositions:
- Did Joe fail CS101?
The major focus is on using following kinds of knowledge:
- The current focus of the dialogue.
- Also, A model of each participant’s current beliefs.
- Moreover, The goal-driven character of dialogue.
- The rules of conversation shared by all participants.