Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Challenges of Multi-party Dialogue: The Case of English Second Person Pronouns"
Dr. Raquel Fernandez
Institute for Logic, Language & Computation, University of Amsterdam
Date: 24 March 2010, Wednesday
Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Venue: B7603 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU
The pronoun /you/ is the second most frequent word in unrestricted spoken English dialogue. Despite this, its resolution has received very little attention in the literature. This is perhaps not surprising since the vast amount of work on anaphora and reference resolution has focused on text or discourse -- mediums where second-person deixis is perhaps not as prominent as it is in conversation. For spoken dialogue pronoun resolution modules however, resolving /you/ is an essential task that has an important impact on the capabilities of dialogue summarization systems.
In this talk I shall present recent work on resolving second-person pronouns in multi-party dialogue using a machine learning approach. As it will be shown, the task is far from trivial. Firstly, there is the referentiality problem: while we generally conceive of the word /you/ as a deictic addressee-referring pronoun, it is often used in non-referential ways (including as a discourse marker and with a generic sense). Secondly, there is the reference problem: in utterances with referential cases, resolving a second person pronoun amounts to identifying the addressee(s) of the utterance in question. In conversations with multiple participants this is a complex problem where different kinds of linguistic and visual information play important roles.
Dr. Raquel Fernandez is an independent Research Fellow at the Institute for Logic, Language & Computation at the University of Amsterdam. She has worked as a researcher in the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), Stanford University, and in the Linguistics Department at the University of Potsdam. She is one of the founding and managing editors of the new international journal "Dialogue & Discourse" (www.dialogue-and-discourse.org) and co-president of the SemDial Board overseeing the organization of the Workshop Series on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (www.illc.uva.nl/semdial/). She holds a Master's in Cognitive Science and a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics from King's College London.