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Parsimonious or Profligate: How Many and Which Discourse Structure Relations?
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MARINA DEL REY INFORMATION SCIENCES INST
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Over the past ten years, researchers studying the structure of discourse have consistently had to face questions such as the following Given that discourses consist of segments, how do the segments relate What intersegment relations are there How many are needed A fair amount of controversy exists, ranging from the parsimonious position that two basic relations suffice to the profligate position that an open-ended set of semanticrhetorical relations is required. This paper outlines the arguments and then summarizes a survey of the conclusions of approximately 30 researchers -- from linguists to computational linguists to philosophers to Artificial Intelligence workers. It fuses and taxonomizes the more than 400 relations they have proposed into a hierarchy of approximately 70 increasingly semantic relations, and argues that though the taxonomy is open-ended in one dimension, it is bounded in the other and therefore does not give rise to anarchy. Some evidence is provided for the organization of the taxonomy, as well as a full listing of the sources. Discourse structure, Rhetorical structure theory, Computational linguistics and discourse and text.
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