Discourse & Dialogue

Understanding Language in Conversations

"The problems addressed in discourse research aim to answer two general kinds of questions: (1) what information is contained in extended sequences of utterances that goes beyond the meaning of the individual utterances themselves? (2) how does the context in which an utterance is used affect the meaning of the individual utterances, or parts of them?"
- Barbara Grosz. Overview of Chapter 6: Discourse and Dialogue, Survey of the State of the Art in Human Language Technology (1996).

"One of the major challenges for computer science in the next decade is to create the scientific and technological base for easy-to-use, large-scale information systems. Better systems for human-computer communication are an essential part of this challenge. Theories and models of collaboration are important to this endeavor as well as to providing the foundations for constructing systems able to work with each other and their users. The ability to collaborate is critical if we are to have systems that are helpful assistants and not merely tools."

"Professor Grosz has developed a theory of discourse structure that specifies how discourse interpretation depends on interactions among speaker intentions, attentional state, and linguistic form. Her current research in discourse processing has two foci. First, with colleagues at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she is using the theory to study the information about discourse structure conveyed by intonation, i.e., how tones demark, in spoken language, some of the structure that paragraphs and parentheses indicate in written language. Applications of this work should lead to better computer speech-synthesis systems. Second, she is involved in an interdisciplinary investigation of the connections between centering of attention and form of reference."

- Barbara Grosz home page at Harvard University.


Natural Language
Related topics: Chatbots


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