LINGUIST List 10.1647

Sun Oct 31 1999

Sum: Graphic Discourse Analysis

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. Damon Clark, Graphic Discourse Analysis

Message 1: Graphic Discourse Analysis

Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 10:24:47 +0000
From: Damon Clark <>
Subject: Graphic Discourse Analysis

For Query: 10.1413.1

Thanks everyone for the help with this subject, here are the replies
That I received...

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Typically, since discourse analyses are trees, one can use any normal
method of displaying trees.
For examples and other interesting stuff, see Daniel Maruc's recent
thesis and forthcoming book,
and links on his home page
\\\ Graeme Hirst
/// University of Toronto * Department of Computer Science
\\\ * Voice +1 416 978 8747 * Fax +1 416 978 1455

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As a linguisitics student, I've never been totally clear on what
"discourse analysis" is and what was included in it. It seems to me
that all that intellectual territory beyond the individual sentence
hasn't really been adequately mapped. I get the impression that
"discourse analysis" generally refers to rather high-level
sociolinguistic stuff that I'm not that well acquainted with.
Anyway, if you're interested in relatively "local" aspects of discourse
structure (anaphora, tracking of "discourse referents", some aspects of
modality and tense, cohesion, etc.), then you might want to look at
Discourse Representation Theory and the Mental Spaces framework. For
DRT, the standard reference is Hans Kamp and Uwe Reyle's _From Discourse to
Logic_ (1993); for mental spaces, Gilles Fauconnier's books _Mental
Spaces_ (1985, 2nd edition 1994) and _Mappings in Thought and Language_
(1997). I'd also recommend John Dinsmore's _Partitioned
(1991) for a sort of unified look at the basic issues that motivated both
All of these frameworks divide up the universe of discourse into a bunch
of structures, each of which contains various individuals as well as
partial world descriptions. Thus, one has belief spaces, hypothetical
spaces, fictional spaces, etc. There are a lot of subtle and
interesting differences between the various frameworks (e.g. Fauconnier 
has a notion of "counterparts" - discourse referents in different spaces 
that are connected in some way (in order to deal with referential opacity 
and the like) that, if it recall correctly, doesn't have an equivilant in DRT).
Anyway, I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing you are looking for or
if you're thinking of something else, like register or conversational
turn-taking or something. Regardless I'd be very interested in seeing a
summary of the other responses you get and hearing more about you're
Chris Johnson
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There are diagrams for showing the
interpersonal relationships in a conversation, but I'm not sure that is
what you are after.
Cheers, Deborah
Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen
Leankuja 1, FIN-01420 Vantaa 

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I know that SIL (the Summer Inst. of Linguistics) which is studying
dozens (maybe hundreds) of indigenous languages throughout the world has
developed a huge number of language analytical softwear programs. Some
of them MUST include discourse, since SIL has been involved in that area
for years. I suggest you write their linguistic coordinator, Mike Cahill at and ask him to refer your inquiry to their computer
people. Hope this helps. Ruth Brend

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Try Daniel Marcu's RST annotation tool. And look around his website or
ask him for suggestions.
Laurie Gerber
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