A Grammar for Dialogue

Jonathan Ginzburg

in The Interactive Stance

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199697922
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738425 | DOI:
A Grammar for Dialogue

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This chapter outlines the basic features of a grammatical framework for dialogue. Apart from providing a vital component in a KoS account of grounding/clarification potential, this grammar underpins a formal description of the workings of non-sentential utterances. The aim here is not to develop a new grammatical framework, but merely to modify certain aspects of existing approaches to make them dialogue-friendly. In particular, it proposes a dialogically-oriented methodological principle — the Reprise Content Hypothesis — intrinsically more restrictive than compositionality, for regulating allowable semantic contents. It argues that, in so far as we want use our utterance types as the basis for a theory of communicative interaction, then using a grammar based on records and record types is superior to a grammar formulated in terms of typed feature structures (TFSs). The discussion relates most directly to TFS-formulated grammar, though a number of the arguments — centred around the Reprise Content Hypothesis — apply to other grammatical formalisms, assuming one intends to use them for dialogue. Following this, a small fragment of English is developed in a version of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, reformulated in Type Theory with Records, with which one can analyze some simple interrogatives and declaratives. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how Conversational Move Types (aka ‘illocutionary force’) should be integrated in the grammar.

Keywords: type feature structures; unification; grammar in dialogue; conversational move types; illocutionary force

Chapter.  10300 words. 

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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