LINGUIST List 12.331

Thu Feb 8 2001

Books: Discourse

Editor for this issue: Naomi Ogasawara <>

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  1. Jud Wolfskill, Discourse: The Theory & Practice of Discourse Parsing & Summarization

Message 1: Discourse: The Theory & Practice of Discourse Parsing & Summarization

Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 14:20:41 -0500
From: Jud Wolfskill <wolfskilMIT.EDU>
Subject: Discourse: The Theory & Practice of Discourse Parsing & Summarization

For more information please visit

The Theory and Practice of Discourse Parsing and Summarization

Daniel Marcu

Until now, most discourse researchers have assumed that full semantic
understanding is necessary to derive the discourse structure of texts.
This book documents the first serious attempt to construct
automatically and use nonsemantic computational structures for text
summarization. Daniel Marcu develops a semantics-free theoretical
framework that is both general enough to be applicable to naturally
occurring texts and concise enough to facilitate an algorithmic
approach to discourse analysis. He presents and evaluates two
discourse parsing methods: one uses manually written rules that
reflect common patterns of usage of cue phrases such as "however" and
"in addition to"; the other uses rules that are learned automatically
from a corpus of discourse structures. By means of a psycholinguistic
experiment, Marcu demonstrates how a discourse-based summarizer
identifies the most important parts of texts at levels of performance
that are close to those of humans.

Marcu also discusses how the automatic derivation of discourse
structures may be used to improve the performance of current natural
language generation, machine translation, summarization, question
answering, and information retrieval systems.

Daniel Marcu is a Research Scientist at the Information Sciences
Institute at the University of Southern California and Research
Assistant Professor in the university's Department of Computer

7 x 9, 272 pp., 68 illus., cloth ISBN 0-262-13372-5

A Bradford Book

Jud Wolfskill					617.253.2079 phone
Associate Publicist				617.253.1709 fax
MIT Press
5 Cambridge Center
Fourth Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
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Tuesday, February 06, 2001