Dialogue-grammar correspondence in Dynamic Syntax

In this paper, we argue, contra a prevailing trend to classify elliptical structures in terms of sub-types specific to conversational dialogue, that despite their diversity of usage in conversational dialogue, such fragments are analysable in terms of structure-building mechanisms that have motivation elsewhere in the grammar (the framework adopted is Dynamic Syntax, Kempson et al. (2001); Cann et al. (2005)). The fragment types modelled include re-formulations, clarification requests, extensions, corrections and acknowledgements. We go on to argue that the incremental use of such ellipses serves a specific role in dialogue, namely a means of incrementally narrowing down the range of otherwise mushrooming alternative structural and interpretative analyses, a problem known to constitute a major challenge to any parsing system. We conclude that with grammar seen as a set of parse procedures, we have a basis for an integrated characterisation of dialogue phenomena while nonetheless not defining a grammar of conversational dialogue.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
Book title:
Proceedings of the 12th SemDial Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (LONDIAL)
London, UK
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