Discourse Structure and Language Technology

Bonnie Webber, Markus Egg, Valia Kordoni

In: Ruslan Mitkov (editor). Journal of Natural Language Engineering (JNLE) 01 Pages 1-40 Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2012.


An increasing number of researchers and practitioners in Natural Language Engineering face the prospect of having to work with entire texts, rather than individual sentences. While it is clear that text must have useful structure, its nature may be less clear, making it more diffcult to exploit in applications. This survey of work on discourse structure thus provides a primer on bases along which discourse is structured, along with some of their formal properties. It then lays out the current state-of-the-art with respect to algorithms for recognizing these different structures, and how these algorithms are currently being used in LT applications. After identifying resources that should prove useful in improving algorithm performance across a range of languages, we conclude by speculating on future discourse structure enabled technology.

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz