A Formal Approach to Discourse Anaphora
BOLT BERANEK AND NEWMAN INC CAMBRIDGE MA
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Extended natural language communication between a person engaged in solving a problem or seeking information and a machine providing assistance requires the machine to be able to deal with anaphoric language in a perspicuous, transportable non-ad hoc way. This report takes the view that dealing with anaphoric language can be decomposed into two complementary tasks 1 identifying what a text potentially makes available for anaphoric reference and 2 constraining the candidate set of a given anaphoric expression down to one possible choice. The second task has been called the Anaphor resolution problem and, to date, has stimulated much research in psychology and artificial intelligence natural language understanding. The focus of this report is the first task - that of identifying what a text makes available for anaphoric reference and how it does so.