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24 February 2011

Nominalisation and discourse relations

Time: 12:30pm - 13:45pm
Speaker(s): Dr Rodger Kibble - Department of Computing, Goldsmiths College, London

Discourse relations such as Cause, Sequence, Condition and so on have been standardly treated as holding between adjacent clauses, or text spans consisting of an integral sequence of clauses. Kibble (1999) and Danlos (2006) independently observed that rhetorical relations may also be realised as verbs which take nominalised propositions as arguments, in contrast to conventional analyses which only recognised “discourse connectives” as playing this role. Both studies offered formalisations using Asher and Lascarides' SDRT (2003). Kibble (1999), reporting a small corpus study using Patient Information Leaflets (PILS), hypothesized that clause-internal relations are limited to the “informational” or “semantic” subset of Mann and Thompson's RST repertoire (1987), while “intentional” or “presentational” relations invariably hold between clauses. However Power (2007) offers constructed examples involving both “intentional” relations such as Concession, Restatement, Summary in addition to “informational” relations. An ongoing corpus study has also found numerous cases where discourse relations are expressed as prepositions. My talk will draw on this new study to reconsider firstly what constraints there are on using lexical forms other than connectives to realise discourse relations, and secondly whether the distinction between semantic and intentional relations is really as clear-cut as has been assumed by e.g. Moore and Pollack (1992). This is a revised and extended version of a talk that was first given at the Conference in honour of Ruth Kempson, SOAS, November 11-12 2010. Bio Rodger Kibble is a Lecturer in Computer Science at Goldsmiths, University of London and has previously worked at ITRI, University of Brighton and the Department of Linguistics, SOAS. His current research interests include dialogue modelling, discourse structure and the philosophy of language. He has co-edited journal issues on Perspectives on Dialogue (Research in Language and Computation 4(2/3), 2006) and Coherence in Dialogue and Generation (Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 16(4), 2007). He has also published journal and conference papers on topics such as anaphora resolution, centering theory, argumentation and agent communication.

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Contact: maillto:r.power@open.ac.uk