Quantifiers and Question-Asking
IBM THOMAS J WATSON RESEARCH CENTER YORKTOWN HEIGHTS NY YORKTOWN HEIGHTS United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Data concerning the use of universal quantifiers in question-asking is presented. These data were collected in variously translated English questions into a query language, generated their own English questions, translated Venn diagrams into English or vice versa, gave judgements about the consistency of two English statements, or manually looked up answers to questions. Subjects showed considerable difficulty with the logicians notations of set relations except disjunction on all tasks. The interpretations given quantified sentences varied between subjects on a given task and even within a subject, between tasks. Generally speaking, subjects gave interpretations consistent with quantified natural language questions or Venn diagrams but not equivalent to them. Subjects used explicit set specifications rarely in spontaneous English. Tentative suggestions are made for the design of formal and natural-language question-answer interfaces.