Sunday, October 12, 2014

Computational Linguistics and Discourse Analysis

Abstract: The profound use of the computer in discourse analysis must employ a theory of discourse comprehension and production with which to conduct the analysis. Models currently employed in computational linguistics have a semantic basis and are goal-directed. The basic model is an associative cognitive network. The basic inventory of concepts of the system is given in the systemic network, which is organized into paradigmatic, syntagmatic, and componential structures. Since events happen in particular places at particular times, there is also an episodic structure. The gnomonic system defines abstract concepts over episodes. According to Phillips (1975), discourse coherence must be considered on two levels, the episodic and the gnomic. A discourse which engenders episodic and/or gnomonic expectations which are not then fulfilled is incoherent. A lower limit on coherence may be defined as a discourse so ill-formed that it makes no sense even to its creator. The upper limit on coherence is set by the most powerful creative minds. Between the two limits, discourse analysis, from the point of view of the computational linguist, probably requires nothing less than a full-blown computational theory of the human mind. (JB)

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A conference presentation from March 1979. Download at SSRN:

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