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Invited Speakers

We look forward to hearing the talks from our three invited speakers: Ellen Bard, Elisabet Engdahl and Marilyn Walker.

Ellen Bard

University of Edinburgh

www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~ellen/

How weird is that? Predictability and cognitive difficulty in dialogue

Many psycholinguistic processes appear to be sensitive to the probabilities of the available choices with extra processing, production, or learning where an option’s probability is low. This talk will discuss evidence for a similar principle within the cognitive difficulty of dialogue. Using designed but unscripted dialogue corpora, I will show 1) that when dialogue structure demands sequences of low predictability, difficulty rises; 2) that priming in dialogue, a force for increasing the probability of matching actions in adjacency pairs, is very broadly based; 3) but that its effects may be limited, in particular, by differences between interlocutors’ tasks. Finally, I will spend some time showing how a proprietary dialogue protocol is designed to control predictability in uncertain and dangerous circumstances.

Elisabet Engdahl

University of Gothenburg

svenska.gu.se/english/about/staff/elisabet-engdahl-/

How to connect an utterance. Strategies for cohesive dialogues in Scandinavian.

Many syntacticians consider preposing to an utterance initial position be a marked option in the grammar which has to be licensed by some discourse function, as in the case of questions (1) or so-called topicalization (2).

(1) What did she say?
(2) That/*it I don’t like. (I’d rather have some …)

In English, topicalized constituents are normally stressed and invoke a notion of contrast; an unstressed personal pronoun is not felicitous. In the mainland Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, preposing of unstressed pronouns is quite common as a way to connect an utterance to the preceding context, as illustrated by the Swedish example in (3).

(3) A: Var är cykeln?
          where is bike-DEF
          ’Where is the bike?’
      B: Den ställde jag i garaget.
          it put I in garage-DEF.
          ’I put it in the garage.’

In order to find out when this type of preposing is used in dialogue, Filippa Lindahl and I carried out a search in the Nordic Dialect Corpus, a 2.5 million word corpus of spontaneous conversations (Johannesen et al 2009). In my talk I will present some common strategies that we found and discuss their relevance for both syntactic theory and spoken dialogue systems.

Johannessen, Janne Bondi, Joel Priestley, Kristin Hagen, Tor Anders Åfarli & Øystein Alexander Vangsnes. 2009: The Nordic Dialect Corpus – an Advanced Research Tool. In Jokinen, Kristiina & Eckhard Bick (eds.) Proceedings of the 17th Nordic Conference of Computational Linguistics NODALIDA 2009. NEALT Proceedings Series Volume 4.

Nordic Dialect Corpus http://www.tekstlab.uio.no/nota/scandiasyn/

Marilyn Walker

University of California Santa Cruz

users.soe.ucsc.edu/~maw/

Semantics and Sarcasm in Online Dialogue

Online forums provide a fascinating source of data for research on the structure of dialogue. Unlike traditional media corpora, online conversation is highly social and subjective and its interpretation and analysis are strongly dependent on context. Phenomena such as sarcasm and rhetorical questions abound. In this talk I will first describe the IAC corpus that we have made publicly available. I will then discuss our research on several tasks related to dialogue structure and the meaning of utterances, such as recognizing sarcasm, distinguishing agreement from disagreement, identifying the linguistic properties of factual vs. emotional arguments, and mining the aspects of arguments on different topics.

 

Page Manager: Monica Havström|Last update: 8/17/2015
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