LINGUIST List 12.630

Wed Mar 7 2001

Books: Pragmatics (Modified Issue#12.613-1)

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  1. LINCOM EUROPA, Pragmatics: Modified Issue#12.613-1

Message 1: Pragmatics: Modified Issue#12.613-1

Date: 7 Mar 2001 13:51:46 -0000
Subject: Pragmatics: Modified Issue#12.613-1

The Computing of Discourse Focus
Yan Zuo & Wei Zuo
Tilburg University, University of Rochester 
This dissertation is a comprehensive and in-depth study of the notion
of focus with two of its salient characteristics being the
interdisciplinary approach adopted and the range of query covered. The
research is largely motivated by the realization that focus is a
notion figuring crucially in both core linguistic studies such as
phonetics/phonology, syntax, semantics, and discourse analysis, and
peripheral linguistic areas such as psycholinguistics, cognitive
linguistics and in particular computational linguistics.
The major contributions of the study can be summarized as follows.
Firstly after a critical review of the various previous definitional
accounts, it is concluded that the notion of focus is best defined as
a cognito-pragmatic one and accordingly the constructs of knowledge
store and discourse model are postulated before a working definition
of focus is proposed. Secondly, on the basis of this definition, the
process of focus determination in discourse is captured in the form of
a formal algorithm, namely, Focus Determination Algorithm (FDA),
which, being programmable and operationable, can be integrated into
the discourse modeling system. This formalization is enabled by the
constructs of knowledge store and discourse model introduced before
and substantiated by research findings from social psychology and
neuropsychology. Thirdly, the linguistic, in particular the prosodic,
means of realizing focus is discussed and for this purpose data from a
range of languages are cited. Similar to the determination of focus,
the process of how accent is assigned on the basis of focus is also
captured in a semi-formalized manner by virtue of a procedural
algorithm, namely, an Accent Determination Procedure (ADP).
As just mentioned, the research is marked by its interdisciplinary
perspective; it incorporates impetuses, insights and inputs from core
linguistics (specifically phonology and discourse analysis),
computational linguistics, social psychology, and neuropsychology. What
is particularly noteworthy is its orientation towards and potential
significance for natural language processing, especially the generation
of natural speech by enabling the integration of discourse-level
information such as focus into the prosody generation model.
3 89586 617 2. 
LINCOM Studies in Pragmatics 06. 
Ca. 140pp. USD 46 / DM 96 / � 29. 
New: A Students' and course discount of 40% is offered to the above
Ordering information for individuals: Please give us your creditcard
no. / expiry date. Prices in this information include shipment
worldwide by airmail. A standing order for this series is available
with special discounts offered to individual subscribers.
Free copies of LINCOM's new catalogue for 2001 (project line 11) are
available from
LINCOM EUROPA, Freibadstr. 3, D-81543 Muenchen, Germany;
FAX +49 89 62269404;
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Friday, February 16, 2001