Grammar resources for modelling dialogue dynamically

Gargett, Andrew; Gregoromichelaki, Eleni; Kempson, Ruth; Purver, Matthew and Sato, Yo (2009). Grammar resources for modelling dialogue dynamically. Cognitive Neurodynamics, 3 pp. 347–363.



This paper argues that by analysing language as a mechanism for growth of information (Cann et al. in The Dynamics of Language, Elsevier, Oxford, 2005; Kempson et al. in Dynamic Syntax, Blackwell, Oxford, 2001), not only does a unitary basis for ellipsis become possible, otherwise thought to be irredeemably heterogeneous, but also a whole range of sub-types of ellipsis, otherwise thought to be unique to dialogue, emerge as natural consequences of use of language in context. Dialogue fragment types modelled include reformulations, clarification requests, extensions, and acknowledgements. Buttressing this analysis, we show how incremental use of fragments serves to progressively narrow down the otherwise mushrooming interpretational alternatives in language use, and hence is central to fluent conversational interaction. We conclude that, by its ability to reflect dialogue dynamics as a core phenomenon of language use, a grammar with inbuilt parsing dynamics opens up the potential for analysing language as a mechanism for communicative interaction.

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